End of the Political Season

I’ve got to say that I’m glad for the end of the political season this year. Last night was the first election where I didn’t have more than one television going in my living room. The main reason is that we only have one television, so I didn’t have others to pull through the house like previous elections. Sarah and I each had our laptops as well. I’m a huge fan of the political process and I love elections. I worked on several campaigns in the past (two Bond senate campaigns, several Hulshof runs for the house, and Dole in 96). I’m glad the season is over because I’m tired of the division this year has put upon the country. I’m sick of people being called a hillbilly for being Republican and being heathens for being a Democrat.

As the presidential campaigns came to a close I’ve got to say I was incredibly impressed by Obama’s positive approach, and dismayed that the Democratic party and most of the Republicans team took a negative route. On Saturday I went to an Obama speech and was impressed how when the
crowd would boo McCain they were told "No need to boo, just vote." It’s
a shame this type of behavior couldn’t exist in all political settings.
While I was certainly leaning one way the attitudes and styles of campaigning presented a dramatic difference between the candidates that impacted my decision. I think the days of calling myself a Republican may be over, but I have difficulty calling myself a Democrat. My political views haven’t changed that much over the years, but the Republican party certainly has changed. I used to joke that I was a Libertarian, which is partially true, but not very practical.

The biggest challenge that faces the Republican party are voters like me. I’m fiscally conservative and want balanced budgets. I’m also relatively socially liberal because I want to take care of the poor, have good schools, good roads and good healthcare. I think governmental action is most effective at a local level but that quality needs to be balanced across the nation. I’m incredibly protective of my civil liberties which is why the concept of a "free speech zone" makes me sick. I believe that as one of the richest nations in the world there are global problems that we should be working to solve (hunger, lack of clean water, curable disease). I want smaller government, less federal taxation, and a radical commitment to human rights.

I’m also religious, I work as a pastor. My faith doesn’t just influence my decisions, my faith is the largest guide to my decisions. My faith is not a weapon to be used against those who disagree with me. Government is not about enforcing the faith values of one group on another. If people in the Church lived their beliefs, put their money and actions where they say their faith guides them governmental intervention wouldn’t be required in so many cases. It’s the reason we support Heifer every year. It’s why organizations like Compassion are so important. It’s why Advent Conspiracy is such a great idea. It’s the reason congregations run food pantries and shelters and missions and adopt villages, neighborhoods, and schools.

I was incredibly impressed with both the speeches by McCain and Obama last night. I feel like both handled their respective role with dignity and class. I pray that as a nation we truly can come together and work effectively. Like it or not, Barack Obama is going to be president. It’s time for us to put differences aside and restore respect and civility. I’m proud to be an American after this historic election.