I do not consider myself particularly political. I'm not my friend Bill who opines on politics regularly (http://nothstine.blogspot.com) nor do I spend Sunday mornings glued to Face the Nation and Meet the Press. I try to watch the news daily and I look at CNN.com and BBC.com daily as well. But the fact is that I am not well versed in the intricacies of either the political process or those who are regular players in it. I confess my limited knowledge.
I do vote. I vote in national and state elections, even local ones. I fully admit that in local elections I sometimes do not really know many of those listed on the ballot. In fairness, I try to only vote when I actually know something about one of the candidates, although I do admit to an election or two in my adult voting years when I was so cranky I did succumb to the "oust the damn incumbents, whoever they are" mentality.
My political habits come primarily from my upbringing. I was raised by parents who watched the news and read the newspaper daily. They voted in elections. They often discussed 'the news' during dinner time. When election season rolled around they did NOT put signs in their yard or attend fundraisers or volunteer for candidates. I know they tended to vote Democratic. They were poor, working class people - the math seems pretty simple there.
I consider myself a moderate, but as that doesn't seem to be a position that wins elections, candidates seem forced to choose one extreme or another. As I grew up and became more and more politically aware, I found myself being drawn most often to Democratic candidates. I believe in public education. I believe in helping those less fortunate. I believe that a society has obligations to provide certain services to its population, police and fire protection and health care are examples. There have been times when I have voted for an Independent or a Republican candidate who held a more moderate position when they were running against a Democratic candidate who I simply could not support.
Recently, a couple of notices have appeared on my Facebook page. A couple of my more conservative friends have joined a group or like a page (I can't keep up with the appropriate FB terminology) that carries this title: "Dear Lord - This year you took my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze. You took my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett. You took my favorite singer, Michael Jackson. I just wanted to let you know my favorite President is Barack Obama. Amen." Words cannot adequately express my, quite frankly, horror at this page.
I understand fully the feelings of frustration that can occur when the inhabitant of the Oval Office is not behaving in a way that is congruent with one's own personal values. I, for a recent example, was not a fan of George W. Bush. I felt that he was not the most competent person to be representing the US on the world stage, nor the most intelligent. In my opinion he has done more to damage our civil liberties than any president in history, not to mention leaving the economy in a shambles. And, let's not get started on what I think of Dick Cheney.
Intelligence, of course, is not the only important thing. A moral compass is also desirable as was proven fully by Bill Clinton. According to many Presidential analysts, Clinton was second in intelligence only to President Thomas Jefferson, yet he used his position and power while in office to engage in a tawdry affair with a woman young enough to be his daughter. And for those of you who would say that "he wasn't the only one, he's just the one who got caught" - I know, I agree, and it doesn't make it right. It was arrogant and stupid and wrong and there were other things he should have been doing with his time and position. Ditto, John Kennedy.
So, Democrat or Republican - I don't support or condemn blindly.
Neither have I ever prayed for the death of our President, whoever he has been.
I challenge my friends and others who "like this page" to reconsider. You may be defending yourselves with the excuse that "it's only a joke and, Judy, you need to lighten up." Let me say that if it truly is intended to be a joke - it's not funny, not even marginally. Perhaps those who created the page as well as those that support it, could better use that time and energy in prayer. Our President needs prayer. Our country needs prayer. Our world needs prayer.
I'm not a theologian. I don't claim to know what God thinks. However, I suspect a couple of things. I suspect that American politics and the American President is not much more than a blip on God's radar screen. I suspect that no matter who is President, God can make use of that person or, at the very least, God can make the best come from the circumstances that person helps put into motion. I also suspect that God is more concerned about the hearts of individuals. And I suspect that in the scheme of what grieves God, his 'followers' praying for the death of another of his children probably comes pretty high on the list.
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