Well, I voted. There are all kinds of good things about casting my vote today:
- I added my contribution to the political process.
- Lines were short.
- NO MORE POORLY WRITTEN POLITICAL ADS.
- No more abuse for my unorthodox political perspectives.
- One less thing for which to be called an argumentative person.
- Almost all my political predictions are going to come true (I thought Guiliani would do better, but otherwise I nailed most of them).
But that said, I did it with a bit of wistfulness. I voted for George W. Bush both times he ran, and am glad I did so. I will miss him. I think he was an excellent President in many respects.
I believe he sought to lead in a morally consistent way. He sought to limit stem cell research on embryos, but expanded AIDS relief in Africa. He did more to fight the sex slave trade than any other president, and chose excellent judges who do not view abortion as a right. His tenure was marked by thoughtfulness and character rather than responsiveness to opinion polls.
I believe he made courageous decisions, such as propping up an economy on the edge of disaster even though his own party was against it. He wanted the nation to be stable, and acted accordingly even though it seemed to go against his own supporters. He did so in spite of opinion polls.
I believe he understood his role as a figurehead in times of crisis. His ability to deliver hope and strength exactly when we needed it were remarkable. He helped the nation heal quickly after September 11, and carried out justice as best he understood it. He only delivered a few great speeches, but those were truly great. Rather than focus on himself and his ability to fix problems, he guided us to faith in something higher as the source of hope. And he did not give speeches designed to respond to opinion polls.
I believe he was right to invade Iraq. I think the justification for the Iraq war was badly communicated, but I think it was the strategically correct move and I believe our nation will reap the rewards (not primarily financial) for generations to come. I think Iraq and indeed the Middle East are significantly better off because President Bush saw a larger need for significant change in that region, and he followed through in a way that UN always has and likely always will be too weak to emulate. And he did not capitulate because of opinion polls.
I believe he truly cared about us. But he cared too much to try to give us everything we asked for, because George W. Bush is not beholden to opinion polls.
I think these things make him a great man and president, as opposed to his predecessor, who DID build most of his actions around opinion polls.
You may disagree (in fact, you almost certainly do!) with some of my assessments. They mostly flow from my personal understanding of governance and statesmanship. I would not try to argue that a Christian has to see things the way I do.
However, I hope as Christians we can all agree on the importance of thanking people for their service, whether they do exactly what we wanted or not. This is true of everyone from the the landscaper at church who messed up the geraniums to the President who never could control spending the way he thought he would at the beginning. Here at Christ and Pop Culture, let it not be said that we are ungrateful, unable to remember, or always looking forward for some utopian society which cannot exist before Christ’s return.
So today I cast my vote for Barack Obama, because I believe he is the best option on the whole for executing the office of president and setting vision for the people. But I also heave a sigh, because I will miss that brief period when we had a President too stubborn to listen to anything but his own moral clarity.
Thank you, Mr. President.