Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What's Not Going On

Pretending that America is a theocracy is Not Going On.

Matters of faith and values are not, NOT, relevant to whether or not a person is qualified to be the chief executive officer of the country. They may be relevant to whether or not you trust or respect or like a candidate, or even if you think they're going straight to Hades, but they don't have anything to do with the stuff that Americans have to deal with that the President can actually affect. I say this with the possible exception of appointments to the Supreme Court of justices who might encroach upon and further sully the separation of church and state, which I believe is an important distinction to keep up. A candidate's position on gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research, even the place of evolution in a school curriculum, though important to certain people for certain reasons, should not be CENTRAL to a sound assessment of whether a candidate for president can run the country in a time of war, economic crises, educational deficiencies, and national security fears.

This is how we wound up with Bush's dumb ass in the first place. People were busy voting on Bush praying that America could "crusade" against an "axis of evil" and keep the gays from marrying, instead of electing a leader who could keep us out of the muck we're in now. I haven't yet been threatened by Adam and Steve, but Iran, North Korea Russia, inflation, and threatened retirement prospects are really starting to scare me, and I'd love to know where Dubya has been effective with any of that.

I am not saying that values are not important to me. I am a Christian in belief and not just in name. But since I'm not going to make it my absurd personal mission to go killing everyone who doesn't believe what I believe, I need to live in peace with my neighbors, and that means living and letting live. I don't see Jews trying to keep me from eating pork, or Muslims trying to make me wear a burka. Lesbians don't want me to kiss girls. Atheists don't want me to renounce my beliefs. And pro-choice activists don't want me to abort my unborn children. I don't need to tell these people what to do either. I don't want my government in my business, so I don't want it in theirs either, 'cause it just opens the door for them to come after me next.

Meanwhile, I do need my government to govern. Balance the budget, please. Fix the local, regional, and national infrastructure, please. Stop leaving children behind in the schools, please. Figure out how to stop the violence in urban communities so I can stop seeing all these damned teddy bear shrines and RIP t-shirts, please. Fix Social Security so my parents don't have to die at work, please. I WISH that the pressing issues weren't so many and so urgent that we had the time to worry about whether or not a candidate for president is going to Hades, but we don't. Can the candidate lead? Can they use the sense God gave them to serve their country well? Do they have a plan to make our lives and opportunities better? 'Cause that's what we need. You want salvation and righteousness? Go to the Lord to find it, not to the polls. Because for as much as people pull levers worrying about whether a candidate shares their values instead of worrying about their actual competence, that's how much less will be done about the issues that affect our lives and our opportunities.

We are the soul of our country, not our executive officer.