With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations. -- Abraham Lincoln, 2nd inaugural address.I know we might be risking our coveted IRS status by doing this but what the hell, the country's in dire straights and what's a little prison time for civil disobedience? Service first, isn't that the slogan? We've never done this, endorse a political candidate, so bear with us, we're going to preach first, endorse later. It's a change, I hope, you can believe.
Frequent readers of this post should be able to guess our pick, but since when have we ever done things the easy way? Remember, it's a meta-sermon so we don't have to let you out in time for the 12 o'clock kickoff. You're free to leave before then, stop by Starbucks and Expresso yourself if you want, change into something more comfortable, settle in on the couch before you burn-in-hell for the rest of eternity! We don't care; our rapture may be your misery.
What do people want in a President? That's a bit like asking what do people want in a mate? The answers are all over the place. But there are some consistenciesa among us. People want the President to be, well, American. The Constitution requires it, but beyond that, what the hell does being American really mean? We seem to have a hard time agreeing on the definition. Is it being the Face of America. And if so, must that face look like the face of us, the voter? some mythical construct of the President?
The President should also be smart. Really smart is good. Really, really smart is probably better. But more than that, we want the President to make good decisions, decisions in the best interest of the nation as well as the rest of the world. One decision we don't want them to make is to push the big red button. If it comes to that, then the President will have failed in being the leader of the free world.
We don't really expect the President to solve our problems, not our day-to-day ones. We do expect leadership on the larger problems facing the nation. In general, the best we can hope for, and have come to expect, is a President that is open and honest with the scale of the problem and the sacrifices needed to solve them. Think about the great speeches of your favorite leader, American or not. Many of them just lay out the problem in stark terms, "today is our hour of need", "we have nothing to fear but fear itself", "our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world...as in being able to remake ourselves".
Presidents unable to article a better vision for the future and a clear path to get there are viewed as failures. Suffer fools gladly, but throw the bums out.
A common Latino prayer, "Just give me a chance to succeed.", pretty much sums up what we expect in a President, in our nation. Too often this success has come at the expense of others, not just within our nation, but others in the world. The unfettered growth of capitalism hasn't always resulted in free, democratic, and just societies. And, as the last few months have demonstrated, double-digit returns on investments aren't guaranteed forever; neither perhaps is a retirement filled with tennis, golf, and beaches on Isla Cozamel.
Vote your conscience but in doing so extend it beyond the bounds of your property, your family, and your idea of what America was, is, and can be. The last century could rightly be called The American Century. We are but a few years into the following century and it isn't looking too good for a repeat but we've got a long way yet to go. Your decision can help make the difference and
the odds are about fifty/fifty you'll find the right button.
ny times pulpit freedom sunday