Is being a socialist really so terrible?

Accusations have been flying around over the last few weeks about Obama being a socialist. John McCain repeatedly points out that Obama wants to “spread the wealth around” and take from the rich to give to the poor – more hysterics from a party desperate to win against nearly impossible odds. While I find it hard to believe that Barack Obama will be some modern day reincarnation of Robin Hood, I also don’t see why the American public is so repulsed by the very mention of socialism.

Our way of life is virtually teeming with socialistic programs that we all benefit from. Our much-lampooned tax system provides everything from schools for our children to attend to roads for our vehicles to drive on. Our tax dollars feed hungry children and adults, provide incomes for the elderly and handicapped, and health care for the poor and aged.

A closer look at the New Testament reveals a Christ who might well have been labeled a socialist if he were still on earth today. After all, he admonished the rich to sell their belongings and give the money to the poor. He stated that the poor were blessed and would receive the kingdom of God. He advocated forgiving our debtors and giving to beggars. Try to imagine the political fallout if Mr. Obama were running on such a radical platform!

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

– Matthew 25:34-36

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

– Acts 4:32-35

However wrong or right the socialism accusations against Obama may be, at least he seems to care more about the “least of these” than any other politician in recent memory. It’s hard to find any fault in that.

A lunchtime lesson on politics

I had lunch with my mother, sister, grandmother, niece, and baby nephew today. It was the first time I had seen my mother or grandmother is over four months, but we all pretended as if nothing had ever happened and had a good time visiting. We were celebrating Grandmama’s 73rd birthday – a month late because she was out of town visiting her sister on the actual anniversary of her birth.

The thing that most impressed me about our conversation today was their lack of interest in John McCain. Neither my mother or sister had ever voted for president before 2004. That was the year my state put a gay marriage ban on the ballot – something that brought conservatives (including Mom and Sis) out in droves – and they pulled the lever for Bush while they were at it.

This time seems alot different. Not only is there no major “moral” issue for them to vote on directly, they think McCain really isn’t worth rooting for. Each candidate’s position on the issues has taken a back seat to immediate problems, like the price of groceries and gasoline.

My sister did inform me that many of her friends hadn’t even intended to vote until Palin joined the ticket, but she still wasn’t buying into the gimmick. She believes McCain is only pretending to be conservative on the issues so he can get elected.

Mom surprised me when she said she would have preferred Hillary Clinton to either of the two choices before us. I agreed completely, but steered the conversation towards Obama. That’s when I heard many of the same worries that I’ve been hearing for months from other locals. That Obama is an undercover Muslim. That he’s lying about being a Christian. That he is working for some terrorist network to take over our country from the inside.

It seems this level of discontent and discomfort with the nominees is leading many of my aquaintances to sit this election out. A coworker who normally votes Democrat doesn’t want McCain to win, but doesn’t feel motivated to vote for Obama. My partner has been expressing the same feelings. Myself, I’m down to the whole “voting for the lesser of two evils” thing. I don’t think Obama or McCain can improve our situation – I’m just counting on Obama not making anything worse.

You’re hired

I’ve went back and forth several times during this campaign cycle. I’ve supported John Edwards and Ron Paul, but I remember being excited many months ago when I heard that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be running for president. Wow! A female president? Lord knows that males have been screwing it up for long enough that maybe it was time to let the other gender give it a try.

That infatuation quickly subsided as Mrs. Clinton was portrayed by the media as a polished politician who was part of the Washington establishment that we’ve all come to loathe. It got to the point where it just didn’t seem cool to support her – after all, most of Hollywood and the music industry were jumping up and down about a young senator from Illinois.

Try as I might, I just couldn’t figure out what all the hoopla was about, but I figured if John Edwards, Oprah, and Nicole Richie were supporting Obama, then I would be really stupid not to join in. I tried to look beyond the questions that I had about Barack – his history and his lack of experience – and I even got to the point that I began wishing that Clinton would drop out so that we could finally settle on a nominee – something the Republicans seemed to have no problem doing.

All of that changed today.

Senator Hillary Clinton stopped by our little town to convince the hundreds of people gathered that she is the best choice we can make when we vote in our primary this Tuesday. I didn’t go with high expectations, realizing that I was still undecided about which Democrat I would be choosing when I entered the voting booth. I just figured that it would be silly not to go hear what she had to say, especially given the fact that most politicians don’t even know that my town exists.

After waiting in a line that stretched almost halfway around the block, going through a security checkpoint that would rival that of any airport, and securing a spot just a few yards from the podium, we were greeted by the former First Lady. I was impressed with her demeanor, her words, and her humanity. She didn’t seem at all like the evil woman that she is often portrayed as online and by the mainstream media. She was humble, eloquent, and she seemed genuinely concerned about the welfare of millions of hard-working Americans.

She made a hilarious comparison between politics are cars, saying that when you’re driving and you want to go forward, you choose a “D”; when you want to go backwards, you choose an “R.” She talked about the importance of health insurance for everyone, lessening our dependence on foreign oil, bringing the troops home, and improving the economy.

The thing that really made me think was when she said that we should view this election as a hiring process. Which candidate did we think was the most qualified to perform the tasks that are needed to get this country back on track? That’s a no-brainer.

Obama might be idealistic, likable, and a great public speaker, but Clinton has the experience. She was a governor’s wife, she served as First Lady during eight years of peace and prosperity, and she’s a multi-term senator. Her husband took a country with record debt and gave it a record surplus. Sure, the Clintons aren’t perfect, but I do believe they know how to lead a country.

So, on Tuesday, I’ll be casting my vote to hire Hillary for the job. Then I’ll head home and wait for the press to point out how poor, white, and uneducated Kentuckians are voting for the “uncool” candidate.

A Clinton or Obama win: Poetic justice for rednecks

I’d never vote for a n*gger or a woman for President.

That was the answer I received this morning when I asked a co-worker who he was supporting in our primary election. It might surprise you to learn that this is a person my age who normally votes for the Democratic candidate.

This election cycle has taught me that his view is fairly common in this part of the country. I’ve heard similar comments from several other people that I work with – conservative, “Christian” men who still haven’t moved beyond judging a person based on the color of their skin or what’s between their legs.

While I currently support Edwards and believe that he is the Democratic candidate with the most integrity (he’s the only candidate who doesn’t accept money from PACs or lobbyists), I can see how a win by either Obama or Clinton would be a kind of poetic justice for the people in this country who don’t seem to have evolved any over the last hundred years.