Tuesday, January 29, 2008

the race and gender card

For decades now in the card game of politics, the democrats have consistently played two cards against the republicans. Female leaders who were democrats accused republicans of being male chauvinists who wanted to perpetuate a male dominated society. This tactic was a favorite of the National Organization for Women (NOW). This also helped democrats get the woman vote.

Black leaders who were democrats accused republicans of being racist. This tactic was a favorite of Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson and other fringe NAACP leaders. It helped democrats get the black vote. But this year something interesting has happened. The true colors of these kinds of tactics have been revealed for what they are. The democrats are now turning these tactics against themselves as they try to launch their candidate through the primaries. It's interesting to watch democrats try to out "accuse" each other with the potential of either a white woman or a black man as their next candidate.

A week ago, Bill Clinton started firing away at Barak Obama. Many in the black community started to turn on their favorite Arkansas "son of the south." In their view, he got dangerously close to making race the issue. It upset so many democrats, that even those in the far, far left (Ted Kennedy) decided to support Obama instead of Clinton. For democrats, being too hard on a black candidate seems too close to racism for them, even if it comes from "the first black president" Bill Clinton.

Then the women took their turn at the accusation table. Because Kennedy endorsed Barak Obama instead of Hillary Clinton, the NOW called Kennedy a sexist. Wow, if the National Organization for Women is willing to call one of the most liberal politicians in America a "male chauvinists sexist" then the rest of us don't have a chance. And why did they accuse him of this? Did Kennedy say something hurtful toward women? No. Does he have a record of being against women? No. Just the opposite. So why did he get this accusation leveled at him?

The only reason he was accused of being a sexist is because he said he was going to vote for Barak instead of Hillary. SURE, he MUST be a sexist. It can't be because he actually thinks Barak will do a better job. The only POSSIBLE explanation for Kennedy wanting to back Obama is because Obama is a dude. What????

This just shows how ridiculous it can get when the dems play the gender and race card. When they used those cards against republicans, people assumed it was true. But now that they are accusing each other, the jig is up. It's obvious to everyone that these democrats pick and choose who they accuse based on who they like and dislike, not based on social justice. They sling around accusations about gender and race because they think it will get their candidate more votes. The problem is that many leaders in the NAACP and the NOW are still living in the '60's, whereas the rest of America has grown up.

Yes, race and gender are still a legitimate issue SOMETIMES. But these days, you need some hard evidence before you throw out the race or gender card. They used to be trump cards in the hands of the democrats, but now they are just "over-used false accusations" that do more harm than good.

Democratic voters are now in a pickle, especially if they are white and male. If you are a white, male democrat this election cycle, you are screwed. If you vote for Obama, the NOW will call you a sexist. If you vote for Clinton, the NAACP will call you a racist. If you vote for Edwards, someone should call you a doctor so you can get your head checked. Either way, you are screwed.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

poverty from the right and left

The issue of poverty reveals something about both political parties. Hard-line democrats believe that they can get votes by proposing government programs for the poor. Christian progressives, like Jim Wallis, lean hard to the left but view their concern for poverty as a spiritual issue. God has called them to advocate for the poor and so, while their heart is God-ward, their politics are "left-ward."

The problem with both kinds of democrats, secular and spiritual, is that the issue of poverty reveals their arrogance. Both kinds of democrats say things like "we are going to end poverty!". They march with their signs and cheer with the pride only an activist can muster up. The problem is that they believe poverty is completely a "social" sin. If poverty is wholly society's problem, then society should be able to fix it. This is where their arrogance blinds them. They think they have "control" over poverty. They assume society is "making poverty happen" so if we just passed the right laws and create the right programs then we could "make poverty not happen."

But poverty is not just social. It is individual. Many people aren't poor because society "oppressed" them. Many aren't poor because they didn't have "opportunity." Many are poor because of individual sin rather than social sin. Many are poor because they are addicts. They are poor because they would rather not work hard. They are poor because they think they are a victim of life and therefore live enslaved by a victim mentality. The reality, instead, is that they made bad choices which led them into tough situations. But instead of owning the responsibility for their life, they place blame on everyone else.

Even if we had perfect programs and compassionate laws, there would still be poverty. Poverty is the result of individual sin as much as it is social sin. Changing "society" isn't enough. To end poverty, the very heart of man needs to be changed. And only Christ can change the heart of man. Saying that you are going to "end poverty" is like saying you are going to "end sin" in the world. Not only is it arrogant, but it is beyond any one's ability to do so. Again, this is something only Christ can do.

The issue of poverty not only brings out the arrogance of democrats but also the indifference of republicans. Poverty is an individual sin issue. And republicans understand this much better than democrats. But where republicans often miss the boat is that they think it is a "purely individual" sin issue. Not so. Poverty is also the result of social sin. Many poor people are "the working poor." Some poor in our country have two and three jobs and still aren't making it. The prophet Amos blasted Israel for their indifference and cruel treatment of the poor. Republicans should take heed of this prophetic voice.

We should be a country where our national budget reflects our values. And one of our values as a nation should be the care of the poor. But unlike the democrats' desire to "serve the poor" through things like shelters and welfare, we should have programs that "fight poverty." The difference is that the former only help the poor as they stay in the same cycle of poverty. While its a good first step, it shouldn't be the end goal.

The end goal should be helping people help themselves out of poverty. It shouldn't be a handout but a hand-up. It should empower people to take responsibility for their lives while giving them the training needed to live a successful life. Republicans are often too uncaring about the plight of the working poor. They need to replace their indifference with the realization that society has impacted some people's lives negatively. In order to counteract society's sins, sometimes a helping hand is necessary.

I am tired of two things. I am tired of indifferent republicans who don't talk about how they will address poverty. I am also tired of listening to arrogant democrats who think their programs, taxes and speeches can end poverty once and for all. Fighting poverty will take transformations not only in our government, but also in the heart of man. Apart from Christ changing people from the inside-out and apart from the Church changing our culture from the inside-out, there will be no success in the fight against poverty.