Greg Cruey has come back with some interesting points in his response to "Keeping Liberals Entertained." But let me start with his last one, namely voting for Hillary Clinton.
One of the enduring problems with the current occupant of the White House is that he will not change his idea when events demonstrate that it is wrong. The most important case of this is his quest for democracy in the Middle East, which is the greatest mirage since the original one. A realistic reading of the Bible would confirm this. If he would abandon it, he would solve his problems in Iraq–which are political, not military–in short order. But he will not.
Such thinking exists because he is a product of his generation, and his generation is one that careens between absolutism and profligacy with no middle ground. We started out with the profligate Bill Clinton, then moved to the absolutist George Bush.
In Hillary Clinton–for all of her efforts to "soften" her image–we have another absolutist whose reign will be a mirror image of George Bush’s. This has been pointed out by liberals more than conservatives, which is why candidacies such as Barack Obama and John Edwards have any traction. Combined with a decidedly Leninist "ends justifies the means" streak, you have a recipe for disaster.
And that is why I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton. (Of course, there’s always the matter of Socks…)
As far as Cruey’s favourite, John Edwards, is concerned, I think that he is an anachronism.
Let me respond to a couple of other points.
As a Baptist who spent 10 years on the mission field in Asia and the Pacific, I think Christians in America exacerbate their problems with American culture – and then often whine about it.
The basic problem that American evangelicals face relative to their government is that, although their government is in theory less authoritarian than others, it has a higher level of credibility with the people than its counterparts just about everywhere else in the world. Thus, if the government is allowed to carry the message that people who believe in God and are serious about it are morons and those who take the contrary view are "beautiful and good," chances are it will get more traction here than elsewhere. That’s why evangelicals are forced to be legally and politically active. Compounding the problem is the fact that American evangelicals’ view of themselves is more securely "hog-tied" (since we both live in "Appalachia," I can get away with using that term) to their view of the country.
Turning to the Chinese, the Communist Party’s 17th National Congress has just concluded. But, as Kent Ewing of Asia Times Online points out:
Now that the Politburo standing committee has been set, the nation can finally tear off the straitjacket of pomp and protocol that it has been wrapped in for the past seven days and go back to being the most exciting country in the world.
Indeed, perhaps the most important lesson of this congress is the increasing disconnect that it has shown between the deliberate dullness and scripted predictability of the country’s politicians and the sometimes alarming dynamism of its economic and social life. This is a nation crowding in on the first tier of world powers, yet its politicians continue to bumble along as if they are lost in a time warp.
It’s noteworthy that the Chinese are experiencing one of the greatest economic advances and the greatest Christian revival ever known right under the nose of an institution based on Marxist-Leninist thinking! Although it’s true that same institution has allowed some of this (the economic advance, at least,) it’s hard to imagine things getting so far on either front here under the same conditions considering our worship of the "rule of law." (Or is it rule of lawyers? Didn’t Mitt Romney say that he would consult the attorneys before attacking Iran?) The Chinese have no higher regard for their government than they had when Wu Ching-Tzu wrote The Scholars. If evangelicals here adopted the same kind of attitude that their Chinese counterparts did, the culture war would end.
But then they would be criticised for not "fitting in" and "participating" in our society. It is enough to make a civics teacher cry. But I am one of those people who think that students would learn more about statescraft from Tacitus, Thucydides, Sun Tzu and Lo Kuan-Chung than most civics classes.
And that leads to the Cruey’s next point:
And I firmly believe that God is not a Republican (or a Democrat).
That’s not the issue either. As I noted earlier this month:
We need to quit wondering which candidate will bring us closer to a "righteous nation" and starting thinking about which candidate is the least likely to put us in jail.
The problem with the U.S. is that it has gone on so long and been so successful that we have deluded ourselves and those who are coming after us that "it can’t happen here." History teaches that it not only can happen here, but sooner or later it will happen here. It is only a matter of when and whether we (irrespective of who "we" happen to be) are prepared to deal with the consequences.