Saturday, August 23, 2008

American Prayer

I was very moved by this video. I cannot support a candidate in my role as a clergyperson, but, as many other members of clergy have done, I can do so as an individual.

As a progressive Christian, I long for the actualization of many of the planks in the Democratic platform, but I know better than to equate any political agenda with God's commonwealth. Many people I know and love support McCain; I understand their reasons, but I can't agree with them.

I have in times past, supported third-party candidates, particularly those of the Green Party, as their priorities are much closer to my own than those of the Democratic Party. Although I knew they had no chance to win, I thought that, by supporting them, pressure could be exerted on the Democratic Party to move to the left. This election cycle, however, I have become active in progressive movements within the Democratic Party.

Although Obama doesn't match up with my priorities as well as someone like Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party candidate, I feel that supporting the Democratic Party's progressive movements means supporting Obama for president. Even the Democratic Socialists of America, as leftist an organization one can find in our country, has come to the same conclusion. In its Declaration on the 2008 Presidential Election, the DSA says:

We have little hope that over the next three months the media will focus on the policy differences between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. That is tragic, because there are major differences between the commitments of both candidates and their respective parties that need to be aired and understood, even if these differences are not as great as the democratic Left might like. Obama promises to restore to American workers the right to organize; to renegotiate international trade agreements so they enforce and do not retard labor, environmental, and human rights; to re-regulate the financial sector and end speculative excess; to bring troops home from Iraq and invest the saved funds in domestic needs; and to move toward universal health care. That’s a program worth electing a president on– or fighting for in the event the president and his party renege.
I know that there is a wide spectrum of political views among people of faith and among people of goodwill; I honor those differences and respect those who hold views different from my own. However, the current social positions of the Democratic Party, even when not fully lived up to, are much closer to my own progressive theological stance and to the social positions of my denomination, The United Methodist Church, than are those of the Republican Party.

Generally untrustworthy to fulfill their promises, politicians and political parties waver in the wind like a shaking reed in comparison to God's unshakable plumbline of justice. In all honesty, so do I. I waver, I shake, I tremble. I know that I could be wrong; I fear that he is just another politician, tricking us with rhetoric, but I am inspired and moved by his rhetoric. I think Obama is our best choice.