Friday, August 29, 2008


I recently pointed out, on a blog I had stumbled to, that I thought it was rude to name a sewage treatment plant after a our president, even if you as I do not approve of the man's policies. Comments that flowed in after mine seemed to be of the opinion that it was rude, but justified. This is why I am sick of politics. You pick a side. Your side is right. Others deserve their name on sewage. Even if ironically the plant is a good one that cleans the waste that flows out of us.

with that in mind here are some more thoughts...

I lean towards the left but have been standing straighter as time goes by, so it was interesting to be in a room of those leaning to the left last night while watching TV. I agree with them that government has a role in society beyond defending the country. Take my money and feed the poor, house the homeless, treat the sick, raise people from poverty, protect the rights to those who are hated, clean the air and water, educate the masses ...

The folk I was with last night are working for Obama because they care about these issues and that reminded me of when I worked on a campaign.

Breaking away from the TV before the big speech, I spoke with a friend a bit about that experience, but I also spoke about my belief in remembering a long history. To those concerned about social justice issues, the last eight years have been terrible. But lets have a longer memory and we are still at a better place than we were 50, 100, 200, 400 years ago. Politics blind us. Has nothing moved in the right direction for the past 8 years, anywhere in the United States? Listening to political speeches, you would think it was all down hill.

How did change happen? For the most part it was folk on the street who pointed out the problems. These folk were and are brave. Often it has been folk who did not see how laws in Washington DC matched up with the words of Jesus or other spiritual/moral teachers. Many times it was those who "quake" in the spirit, the Society of Friends, who were on the forefront.

Political speeches can help, but it is when those who make the speeches are faced with the folk who are tired of a lack of change, tired of experiencing injustice, tired of seeing others in need, and thus respond with truth and compassion which leads to social justice.

Is that what I heard last night?

Were that last four nights a staged performance to inspire Americans to vote for one party and one party only? Will making this man president lead to changes? Does the man truly care for those in need? In eight years will a conservative city be considering naming a sewage treatment plant after Obama because of political hatred?

Who knows? My hope is in a long history that seems to be headed in the right direction, while keeping in mind that with all progress: personal, national, and global--- it is a roller coaster ride of hills and valleys.

Who we vote for has a role in that history, as does seeing the world with compassionate eyes and responding to our neighbors daily, not just voting and hoping for change.

I still think it is rude and wrong to do what some in San Francisco would have us do.

and yes, I was moved by the man's words.


  1. Have you ever been to San Francisco, Wayne? Drove up with the wife once during the first year of our marriage. A beautiful city, but even that long ago was very obvious and bold in its sexual preference. I have a few friends who are openly gay and they are, indeed, my friends. It is the "bold and brassy" part that tends to bother me and it bothers me in others areas as well. Not that I climb up on my own soapbox to debate anything. Just saying it doesn't surprise me to read about the plans for the sewage plant.

    I would hope I lean neither left nor right, finding that "bold and brassy" noise on both sides. As of the moment, I will probably go with McCain because he seems to me at least a man of integrity. What is more: his VP pick appears to me a woman who possesses that same asset. As stated in one of my posts, however, whoever wins will be "my" President and I'll trust God from there....

  2. hey wayne! for me one of the most troublesome parts of politics is that it is, in fact, a polarizing "sport." we seem to have a very difficult time accepting that someone holding the opposing position or being passionate about someone who isn't "our" candidate can still be a decent and moral individual. the extremes of emotion come into play and folks approve of actions that they would ordinarily oppose vehemently.

    those feelings combine with a sense of impotence -- "the government" or "the president" or "congress" doesn't care about me and i have no voice in what happens. when you put those two together, you get folks attempting to name a sewage plant after a sitting president. understandable, although to me, just a silly moment. it's an attempt to poke people in the eye and make a point about how some feel about the current administration's tenure in the white house.

    as i mentioned in the kitchen the other night, my first campaign was for eugene mc carthy and i have been a political junkie all my life. i've seen this surge of hope rise in people a few times and i've watched the deflating crash that follows a defeat. my own 22 year old daughter was in tears and devastated by the results of her first presidnential election: all her hopes in "her" candidate were beaten hard into the ground. it was a tough reality for her and resurrected feelings that i thought i'd long buried.

    i don't agree with jim and i suspect he wouldn't agree with me. but i have come to understand that our disagreement about this doesn't make either of us a bad person, an unintelligent person, an unthinking or uncaring person. we don't see the same things in each others candidates in an important race but we're still individuals worthy of respect.

    i more than "lean left": i stand firmly to the left of center and always have. and i admit that i rarely understand the mindset of those who stand equally firmly on the right. i try, but it just hasn't happened and i don't see this election cycle changing that. but as obama has said repeately, we need to move away from those few issues which send us behind our ideologocal fortresses and look for areas on which we can agree and work together to improve. only if we work from that perspective can we make the changes that we need as a country.

    of course the democratic convention was staged as will be the republlicans next week. think of it as the ultimate american theatre! but it does give voice to the beliefs of "the party" and states what the delegates believe to be the central beliefs that have brought them together. it serves a purpose beyond the theatrics and i believe the democrats were successful across those 4 days. we shall see how the republican party does in the twin cities.

  3. CSMITH: Other than my attempt to walk the middle and try to get a good understanding of both sides, I don't think we differ all that much; and, if even we did, I'm not one to argue about it all. You've got a few years on me, I think. Kennedy would have been my first had I voted; but I was young, in the Navy, and not too much into the realm of politics at the time...

  4. Jim & CSmith--- OK, so welcome to each other. Let me say that I am glad my journey has brought both of you into my life. I may never see one of you face to face, while the other often holds the chalice of wine to my lips while I am on my knees asking for renewal and cleansing at the high alter of my church.

    C.S.-- Thank you for your thoughts not only here but in our friend's kitchen. Yes, it is great American Theater.

    Jim-- I think CS must have been a wee one, or she is older than I think.

  5. well, if it helps sets dates: mc carthy campaign which i worked for was in 1968 and i was but 13 that year. that was the year of the democratic national convention in chicago and resulted in what the government commission which studied it called "the chicago police riots." i did alot of envelope stuffing and sign painting. even tho' humphrey got the nomination that year, i worked thru the election for the democrats.

    been a long and usually tough road from there to here.

  6. CSMITH: Shows how much I was into politics back in those days. I was thinking McCarthy was in my younger years. In 1968, I had been married 4 years, already had two of my three daughters, and was about to leave D.C. for a tour of duty involving submarines while stationed at Rota, Spain. That puts me about 14 years on you, but it took me till 1972 to put some order into my life. At the age of 13, about all I had on my mind was bubblegum rock n' roll.....

  7. Jim and CS-- looks like I am the baby in this discussion. I too was not a political one at 13. But all that gray hair on my head, and there is a lot of hair to be gray

  8. It makes me happy that having a watching party created this dialogue. Missed you tonight!

  9. msklem-- thanks for having the party. Last night I was dining out with friends, who I was trying to convince that I was a "rising star" in the Democratic Party.


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