Hi all, you’ve read it here first, but I expanded the article about John McCain not defending Sarah Palin for Pajama’s Media. Well, today in passing, I heard snippets from a John McCain interview where McCain put forth his defense. Finally. It’s too little, too late.
He also said something in his half-joking manner that didn’t sound joking at all. When asked if Sarah went “off-message”, he responded with a heh heh heh and said something to the effect “Mavericks go off message, that’s what they do.” A couple thoughts: John McCain didn’t have a coherent message to deviate from. Not one person I have spoken to could articulate his economic message. Can you imagine how difficult it would be for his Vice Presidential candidate to find the message and then trumpet it?
Also, enough with the “Maverick” talk. Sarah Palin needs to knock it off, too. This is not a Western movie. People get it. You’re reformers who piss off your own party. That’s nice. I would like a reformer who managed to reform the whole mess not just incite the wrath of those who will be voting for you.
Finally, I understand what bugs moderates and even some Republican faithful about both John McCain and Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, well, hell, and George W. Bush, too. It’s the folksy chumminess that seems hackneyed and manipulative. Now, in GW and Sarah Palin’s case, I feel that they are being utterly authentic. In McCain and Huck’s case, I feel that they are being hokey and not a little hostile–like they are playing a part they know plays well with a certain set.
What many Republicans, Moderates and Independents hunger for is a small-government candidate who spares us the Jesus talk. To many ears, it reeks of sanctimony and superficiality. It is a relatively new phenomenon. Hold on a minute, before you blast me. I realize that Christianity has informed the culture of this country from the founding. Different states. Different religions. Yada. Yada. Throughout our country’s history, presidents as diverse as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan have invoked God in speeches. God in public discourse is nothing new. What is new, is the modern evangelical movement. Where I grew up, two things didn’t get talked about publicly: God or money. Outward showiness of either seemed unseemly.
It is still unseemly to talk about money (or rather, how in debt everyone is), but God has come out of the closet in the evangelical community. I have mixed emotions about it. On the one hand, I’m innately suspicious of anyone who makes these statements, “The Lord led (told, spoke to, etc.) me to fill-in-the-blank” or “Jesus would have……” or “God says….”. On the other hand, the religiosity of evangelicals that I know is inclusive and rather benign. Far from being the judgmental churches of yore, they are embracing, self-revelatory and humble. They are also comfortable with talking openly about their walk with Jesus. I’m not. I’m just not. When pressed to defend my faith, I will, but I’m not comfortable with effusive proclamations. It’s philosophical more than anything, and maybe a bit cultural. I like to see evidence of the walk and hear less of the talk.
There are many good people who have uncomfortable relationships with God or doubt or disbelieve. Many of these people deeply desire to make a positive difference in their families, their jobs, their community and their country. These people may never talk about their faith or they may believe that religious people are simple-minded yutzes, but I want them to feel comfortable voting for a Republican candidate, too.
That is not to say that a Republican who is an evangelical should hide his or her beliefs. What people hunger for, I think, is authenticity. Much will be forgiven if a candidate is real.
This conversation wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the press in all this. The press are a secular, skeptical bunch. Most are ignorant of and have no interest in any religion which is why they can so cavalierly conflate mainstream Christianity with extremist Islamofascism. (There is an obvious difference in a culture that promotes life and one that promotes death. Who is simple-minded again?) So the press attacks anyone who even mentions God. Their attempts to marginalize signifies a narrow-mindedness seeking to control public discourse. This is why I defended Christians the other day. Everyone is entitled to free speech–even those the Left don’t like.
Still, I understand why some people feel uncomfortable. In the Republican party’s attempt to represent the majority, which I believe they do, politicians would be wise to realize the power of their language. Words have power. Since God is the Greatest Power, any language about Him should be used with humility and caution.
Oh, and the content of the Pajama’s Media McCain article is here.