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100,000 in St. Louis

Barack Obama drew a crowd of 100,000 at a rally near the Gateway Arch in St. Louis on Saturday, the AP reports. McCain spent the day campaigning in North Carolina.

CNN projects that if the election were held today, Obama would be guaranteed a win, even without including any of the toss up states. Realclearpolitics.com and fivethirtyeight.com are both projecting landslide victories of 350-370 electoral votes, well beyond the 270 required.

Obama continues to caution supporters to ‘remember new hampshire’ when the polls seemed to be wrong. The polls will undoubtedly tighten, but I don’t see any way for the Republicans from facing complete embarrassment.

Some thoughts and questions

I met my first Canadian Obama fan who’s been following the campaign closer than I am… and has contributed to the campaign and distributed the audacity of hope to friends. wow, way to go Zaya!

As much as I love Obama, I don’t think he’ll ‘transform washington’. He’s going to have a massive hole to dig out of.

What I do think will be transformative, is the impact 10-20 years from now due to the the number of young adults that have been engaged because of Obama.

The first black president has a ring to it, but why isn’t Obama touted as the first half-white or bi-racial president?

Is there any chance McCain might take the high road and end this campaign with some dignity?

The more people seem to know about Palin, the less they seem to like her.  At least with independents.  Troopergate was a mess.

Obama and McCain roasted each other at a recent charity function.  Both quite funny.

Chuck Todd‘s really become quite a political superstar analyst this election cycle, but I think the Microsoft Surface table he’s been using is totally lame.

I finally got around to looking at the platform of the Canadian Christian heritage party.  There’s twice as right winged as the Republicans.  I’m embarrassed by their platform.  I hope that doesn’t get me into trouble.

I wonder what politics this year has revealed about evangelicals?

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Jake Belder October 20, 2008, 9:48 am

    Lon, I’d love to talk about this. Now that I have lived in the US for a year and a half and been able to talk about politics with evangelicals as well as witness first-hand the political climate here among evangelicals, I’ve got some things to say.

    The relationship between politics and religion among most evangelicals here is totally bizarre. There are a number of things that really trouble me about it. First, and what troubles me most, is what I can only describe as a total misunderstanding of the Kingdom. Even though I know most Americans would not describe America as the Kingdom (though I fear some would!), many will seem to live with that assumption. In the circles I frequent, I most often come into contact with Republicans or Libertarians. When you hear them talk about Democrats, their polemics against the Dems are so strong that you would think they fear that should Dems control the country, it is, in effect, handing America over to Satan and the forces of evil. I’m serious! The spite towards Democrats is unbelievable (and for Libertarians, you’ll sometimes hear this kind of talk against Republicans as well).

    What bothers me so much about this is that I see in this a simultaneous divorce and marriage of faith and politics. Divorce in the sense that, since America becomes the playing field for the battle of good and evil, there is no recognition that ultimately God is sovereign and His Kingdom will prevail no matter which government is in power. Which King do we ultimately serve? That sense seems to be lost sometimes among evangelicals here. And marriage in the sense that a candidate of Republican striping is the agent of God here on earth.

    Second, what bothers me is the narrow-mindedness of evangelical voters. I cannot tell you how sick I am of hearing about the abortion issue. Make no mistake, I am fundamentally pro-life. But I do not think that a candidate should be marked by his record on that one issue. This quote is from a very helpful post I read on the subject:

    Overturning Roe v Wade merely turns the issue of the legal status of abortion back over to the states; thus, any woman desirous of an abortion could simply travel to a nearby state to obtain one. Further, a legal fix from the top-down does not even begin to get at the real problem with respect to abortion: the twisted human heart. Law outside of loving relationship embitters and hardens hearts, it does not give transformed life to the woman. Finally (and by my lights, most importantly), the church herself is a political entity capable of engaging mothers who do not want their children in both an immediate manner AND in the context of relationship.

    The evangelical church thinks that it needs to speak against this issue by voting against it in Congress. Sure, I think that they should be doing this, but what getting your hands dirty and actually engaging in the community? Like the quote said, this is ultimately and issue of the heart. Changing legislation does not change the heart. Only the Gospel does. But because you have this odd wedding of religion and poltiics here, evangelicals seem to want to use their political clout to impose this sort of legislation.

    Not only that, but when you’re talking about politics, you’re talking about way more than one issue. If you’re only dealing with abortion, what about all the big issues that need to be dealt with at the political level? They get sidelined, and Christians don’t get involved in dealing with them.

    I don’t want to start ranting and I don’t want to stereotype too much. And too, I may be way off in my assessment. It’s just what I’ve seen. Unfortunately, it makes it very difficult to have a meaningful conversation about politics down here. But it makes it lots of fun to discuss American politics with fellow Canadians! I know there are Christians here who think differently about politics, but they are more wary of making their voices heard. I hope they’ll speak up more and change the way politics are thought about down here.

    Just some initial thoughts. Glad you raised the issue, Lon. It’d be great to keep the conversation going.

  • Lon October 20, 2008, 11:07 am

    Hey Jake thanks for stoking the conversation!

    I totally connect with what you’re saying… especially about the gospel being what changes hearts ultimately.

    It’s hard not to stereotype in only a few sentences, since some of the issues are so complex. Abortion’s an incredibly important issue, but it’s amongst so many others! Sometimes the pro-life wing sounds more pro-conception & delivery than pro-life. There’s so much more evangelicals ought to be fighting for.

    What astounds me, is I get the same vibe with your interactions with other Americans, I think mostly because of the accessibility to media I have in Canada… but what on earth is everyone else watching in America? The lack of exposure to other parties, perspectives, and streams of faith, never ceases to amaze me.

    Is it the overt control of the ‘liberal elite media’ that I’m being shaped by? Is it the social gospel in a pluralist Canada that makes me feel a bit confused about american faith & politics? I’m okay with taking some of the blame, but there’s something funky going on down south…

  • Jake Belder October 21, 2008, 8:12 am

    The two-party system definitely does not help the situation. Yeah, sure there are more parties “officially” but you never hear about them because their share of the vote is so diminutive. And so you get sucked into the mentality of voting for the lesser of two evils, or alternatively your mindset becomes that one party is ultimate and/or good, and the other is evil. It sets up that very strong tension. So you have people engaging in politics with a great degree of apathy, or you have people who become crazy fanatics.

    There’s a lot of factors at work here. I’ve always been more persuaded that a true multi-party system is more effective (like we’re starting to see emerging in Canada as the Bloc and NDP gain more of a foothold, or as we’ve seen in Europe for many years). In Canada, the problem is our electoral system that keeps rendering somewhat ineffective minority governments. A new system would alter that and make for less apathy there.

    The point ultimately is the heart, again. I keep returning to that whenever I talk about this because that’s where it all begins. What’s in your heart? How, as a Christian and a servant of the King, do you think and act about politics? These are the big questions we need to interact with. It’s not just where you stand on one issue, but it’s much more holistic than that. I have a friend who likes to say that these sorts of things are “pulpit problems”—that is, our pastors and church leaders are not addressing the issue of how we make the Gospel and our faith connect to all of life. Our faith can’t just touch an issue here or there, but is a total paradigm for viewing all aspects of life. That should have an enormous impact on how we think about politics. And that’s what I see missing most often.

  • Lon October 23, 2008, 9:51 am

    right on about an ineffective government in Canada!

    The heart thing is central. At the core I believe that politics, and ‘seeking the good of the city’ is a tremendous part of the Kingdom Christ is building, but that’s not the starting place for us all… people need to be engaged with the spirit of God and wrestling with their own faith as it impacts all of life and that in turn affecting their politics i think…

    what people don’t need is to be told how to vote… and thanks for the reminder in terms of being a servant of the King… it’s amazing how easy it is to forget that our primary allegiances are as citizens of the kingdom…

    Problem is, i think the religious right knows this, it’s just their vision of the kingdom that might be a tad bit off…

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