Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The Anointed One

“Reality-based community,” according to Wikipedia, “is a popular term among liberal political commentators in the United States. [It] was first used to suggest the commentator’s opinions are based more on observation than faith, assumption, or ideology. . . . Some commentators have gone as far as to suggest that there is an overarching conflict in society between the reality-based community and the ‘faith-based community” as a whole.”

One Obama worker, however, must have missed a memo. Donna Steele, campaigning for Obama out of Service Employees International Union headquarters in Ohio, was asked by the New Yorker’s George Packer how she would make the case to working-class voters who were wavering between McCain and Obama, or thinking of not voting at all. She said that McCain would tax health benefits and cause oil prices to increase, but, “I think gas prices are going to miraculously go down because of [Obama’s] policies. . . . When something good happens, faith has a positive effect, the aura of it. It’s called hope, faith, and it’s change, and you get enough people together and it’s massive change.”

Discussions - 12 Comments

If someone was talking about faith in Jay-sus or McCain, and the change that McCain and Palin keep talking about bringing, then you would be silent. Supporters of Bush's various faith-based policies and McCain and Palin's jabber of "team of mavericks" "shaking things up" really have no room at all to mock this woman.

On the contrary, Sebastian. It appears that you have no room to defend her.

Conservatism is about to take a 30 year nap of oblivion, but there is time to get in some spins about Obama's religious aura. This was a really pathetic post, quoting some Obama worker. It sounds tame next to Palin's apocalyptic pentacostalism. She called Obama a terrorist! It is unreal. I half expect her to read aloud from the "Left Behind" series next, especially those passages sensationalizing mass death and glorifying violence, where Jesus speaks and the bodies of his enemies are ripped open and splattered across windshields.

See, gas prices are already going down because Obama is ahead in the polls! And I've heard his urine contains the cure for cancer!

Conservatism is about to take a 30 year nap of oblivion,

Please knock on wood. If I remember correctly, the Ashland University College Republicans made T-shirts after the 2004 election which claimed that there was some sort of "rolling realignment" going on. Clearly, that was not the case. Lesson: don't count your eggs before their hatched.

You do need a lot of faith to have hope in Obama.

Faith in God, that I understand. Faith in some guy, whoever he is, that's beyond me. This amorphous faith and good will business: that a positive attitude works wonders, this is a modern faith that is baffling. Recently, we have had various family disasters and people send us notes and cards full of "good wishes" and "good thoughts" and "hopes". We had one note from a professing atheist with "I pray for your recovery." and I wondered, pray to who? Is this some evolving religion, one of amorphous good feelings creating a positive energy in the universe? Christianity or Judaism or Islam create partisan tensions and conflict. We can have some supernatural, non-sectarian non-specific faith and find hope in that. No God, mind, but non-personified "hope" and "faith" and "good". I see jewelry and t-shirts with these words inscribed or emblazoned on them. I wonder how these will be interpreted as artifacts a thousand years hence. Of course, I am presuming humans have a thousand years hence. Maybe that is an article of faith.

Matt, politics is always a matter of rolling realignments. Read that "New Yorker" article quoted in the post after this one. This bit is from that article. As we get through this economic fiasco, who knows how our politics will realign.

ren, did you read those books? I couldn't get through the first one, though the series has been pressed on me by friends over the years. You seem to know a lot about Sarah Palin's faith that I have missed. How do you come to be so positive about such things? I encounter people like the woman in the post, all the time. True believers in something I do not understand at all. It is an aspect of this campaign and I don't see why it can't be examined. Unless you would suggest that all matters of faith are beyond discussion, but I can tell you don't believe that.

I'm sure the AU College Reps meant it as a "we get the realignment for awhile and then you can have it back" thing. Dramatic political shifts rarely ever occur, but because of the 2004 election (and re-election of Bush), they wanted to pretend that some drastic political sway had occurred in their favor. I think it's safe to say that that was not the case (as shown by the 2006 election, let alone this upcoming one).

I couldn't find that New Yorker article (or quote), but I'm in a hurry. I will say, though, that the term "rolling realignment" is pretty ambiguous. Maybe I'll make up my own term: "hardcore realignment" or something like that . . . wow. I'm bored.

I have read these Left Behind books precisely because they are million sellers in the united states and provide an insight into the diseased minds of people who believe them. They will be the artifacts studied centuries from now. They give a picture of the sort of bizarre religious poisons that dominate american life, the tribulation fueled madness of apocalyptic religion. And this is 100 times more dangerous than the amorphous stuff seen in Obama t-shirts. In fact it is a reason to make religions more amorphous, anything to dilute the milennial madness and crusading spirit of this conservative evangelical plague. Maybe the violence indicated at republican rallies against Obama is because they think he is Nicolae, the anti-christ of LeHaye and Jenkins, the satan that indwells in the body of the World Potentate. It is hilarious to watch conservatives play some fear card of religious ambiguity when it is the religious certainty of George W. and his minions that has gotten us into all of these problems. And I mean ALL of these problems, since the current financial disaster is not the result of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and giving loans to poor people but is much more a result of American wars. But I spell that out on other blogs besides this one. Kate you sound like someone with a brain and soul. My advice: get out of the Tribulation Force of conservatism while you can.

ren, do you think anyone really believes those books? Everyone who has enthused at me about them had more of a problem with questionable literary taste than with theology. No one said to me, "This is what the end times will look like." They found the books entertaining.

I cannot help being a conservative. I was not, and then I was. My reasons were not exactly like these, which are David Mamet's, but my reasons were similar. Not all conservatives are people of faith, nor especially not all religiously confused in the way you suggest. As to the other matters, I think you have cause and effect muddled and confused, but I have spelled that out in other comments.

Today, I was reading Herbert Croly, founder of The New Republic magazine and ideological mentor to FDR: "Faith is the primary virtue demanded by the social education of a democracy...Only by faith can be established the invincible interdependence between individual and social fulfillment, upon the increasing realization of which the future of democracy depends." He's talking about faith in human nature, of the human ability to rise to the challenge of democracy. He's saying have faith, and all the problems those conservatives and those old religious texts worry about will whither the water became wine, the biofuels will become gasoline, albeit a non-polluting kind of gasoline.

ren, do you think anyone really believes those books? Everyone who has enthused at me about them had more of a problem with questionable literary taste than with theology. No one said to me, "This is what the end times will look like." They found the books entertaining.

In Christian high school my English teacher talked about how poorly they were written. But also about how many congregations (including my own at the time and still my parents') believe it to be a pretty fair assessment of how the "end times" certainly could come about. It's definitely speculative, but I bet you won't find many premillenilaist denominations denying a lot of "truth" within the pages of the Left Behind series . . .

I think I feel as sorry for Carl Scott reading Herbert Croly as I do for anyone reading Tim LeHaye. Do you remember in James Barrie's Peter Pan when he has the audience "just believe" in fairies? It seems to me Croly's virtuous faith in human nature comes to the same thing. If you don't remember Barrie's story, try this.

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