Yesterday a visitor to my blog left this comment for me (on, weirdly, my “My YouTube Videos” page): “How could any ‘christian’ [sic] even consider voting for anyone other than Senator McCain!”
In that challenge there’s much implied and assumed—but I doubt its author was looking for an in-depth conversation about, say, the differences between a democracy and a theocracy. She was being personal.
So, speaking personally: I like John McCain. I’m not thrilled with the way he’s handled this presidential campaign, but I believe that once in office he’d settle down and do a good enough job. I’m afraid I have to say, however, that what got me waving adiós to Mr. McCain was his choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate. There was no way I personally could avoid thinking that choice had a good deal more to do with McCain’s immediate need to get elected than it did with any long-term vision of his for getting America back on track.
When he first picked Palin, I thought, “Wow! Excellent way for Our Man John to snag disaffected Clinton women and the right-wing Christian vote he’s so thoroughly alienated. Sweet!”
Then I saw her interviewed, and realized that half the women who shop at my Albertsons (which, since I’m a house-husband, is about the only place I ever see anyone at all) are as prepared as Sarah Palin is to be vice-president of the United States—let alone president. (And I know that’s not true—or fair. It’s probably only a third. Kidding! It’s a fourth.)
I could be wrong about that. Yesterday I thought sautéing onions and mushrooms in canola oil instead of olive wouldn’t compromise the flavor of my spaghetti sauce–and I sure was wrong about that. But whaddaya gonna do? Life is a series of judgment calls. You gather your information; you decide; you execute; you hope you did the right thing; if you didn’t you try to fix it.
In matters of consequence we Christians, of course, add to that first step, “Ask God.”
If, when you ask God for whom he wants you to vote, the answer you receive is, “Vote McCain!” then you can tune out the media, because you’re definitely decided.
I personally won’t be voting for McCain, because I fear the lack of judgment I believe he’s too often shown during his current campaign. But if God does tell me to change my vote, you can trust I’ll have a “McCain/Palin” sign in my front yard faster than you can say, “This way to heaven!”
Until then, all I can do is all any of us can do, which is make my best call according to my best lights. I’ve got good friends—real friends, people of God whose judgment I’ve come to respect and rely upon—who are voting for McCain. I’ve got dear friends who think Obama is the bomb. We sometimes get together, all of us, and we talk, and exclaim, and expound. And after a long, heartfelt prayer, we all return to our homes and loved ones. And all along the way each of us hopes and prays that this country, which we so passionately love, is going to be all right.
(Postscript: After I wrote the above, I clicked on to the website of The New York Times. And there I saw today’s headline story [Powell Backs Obama and Criticizes McCain Tactics] about how, on this morning’s Meet the Press, Republican Colin Powell had endorsed Obama. A bit from the article: “Mr. Powell told Tom Brokaw, the host of Meet the Press, that he had been disturbed in recent weeks by the negative tone of Mr. McCain’s campaign …. Mr. Powell, who was secretary of state in the first term of President Bush, also said that he was concerned about Mr. McCain’s selection of Ms. Palin as his running mate and had come to the conclusion that she was the wrong choice. ‘She’s a very distinguished woman [said Powell], and she’s to be admired, but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president.’”)
Follow-up to this post: Beyond The Christianization of Abortion.
Related post o’ mine: Does the Holy Spirit Vote Republican?