Every so often you need to be reminded

(For my cousin Alex who asked I blog more often about politics.)

On Obama’s Iowa win:

“Hope could give way to fear once again. But, for tonight at least, it holds a mirror up to the face of America, and we can look at ourselves with pride.…It’s the kind of country we’ve always imagined ourselves being — even if in the last seven years we fell horribly short: a young country, an optimistic country, a forward-looking country, a country not afraid to take risks or to dream big.”
—Ariana Huffington, “Obama Wins Iowa: Why Everyone Has a Reason to Celebrate Tonight

I mentioned before that I chose the category “religion and politics” because I am a strong believer in the separation of Church and State in the body politic, but never in ourselves.

Our morals inform every decision.

[Fear and Morals, Death and Triumphalism, Silence and Responsibility after the jump]

Fear and Morals

Pundits may have said that recent elections were decided “on morals” but, if you parsed the words, those weren’t morals, that was fear: fear of taxes, fear of terrorists, fear of gays, fear of people who live in cities, fear of immigrants, fear of atheists. Fear that we can’t ever fix the problems around us, so why bother trying?

I ask, “How is ‘fear’ a moral?”

America is becoming political again, and I mean this in a good sense, because the only way we can fix what we have done is if we combine our morals, our real morals, with a starry-eyed optimism that we can fix what we have done.

While I don’t support Barack Obama, I am grateful that his is a message of hope—a vote for him rekindles that optimism.

Congratulations, Barack Obama.

Death and Triumphalism

I predicted the death of my form of conservativism, and yes, I’m happy, but I won’t be triumphal.

Because no matter what happened last night in Iowa, every so often you need to be reminder that there is a war going on that we chose and that people are dying there, real people.

That night we found that one of them was Major Andrew Olmsted, a blogger, a commenter, a man trying, in his way, to reclaim the public forum.

“Believe it or not, one of the things I will miss most is not being able to blog any longer. The ability to put my thoughts on (virtual) paper and put them where people can read and respond to them has been marvelous, even if most people who have read my writings haven’t agreed with them. If there is any hope for the long term success of democracy, it will be if people agree to listen to and try to understand their political opponents rather than simply seeking to crush them.”
—Andrew Olmsted, in a post published in the event of his death.

Even if you disagree with him or his reasons for going to Iraq, you must admit, that the public forum is diminished without him.

Rest in Peace, Andy Olmstead.

Silence and Responsibility

I’ll honor his request in the article, not to turn his death into a political chit to bludgeon you into silence, whether you feel we should stay in Iraq or get out now.

Stephen Covey points out that the word “responsibility” literally means the ability to respond.

You may disagree with my politics, but do not deny that we have a responsibility to not forget that there is a war going on, that in this war every day people are dying every day—dying to preserve our ability to converse openly about this, to not be silenced, to respond without fear.

Silence is the abdication of responsibility—a responsibility we all have “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

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