Wednesday, October 29, 2008

6 Days to RAIN Day

RAIN Minus 6

Item First – Let it RAIN: From now until the presidential Election Day we will begin each post with a review of the Remove All Incumbents Now (RAIN) campaign. A good rain washes clean all the road scum, dust and filth. We hope that a cleansing of Congress will result in the firing of the legislators who are part of the group that bailed out Wall Street with nearly a trillion dollars, at least 150 billion of which was blatant authorized pork by Democrats to appease Republicans who had previously rejected the bill then changed their vote allowing it to pass after being seduced by pork. We are not sure how much of the bailout, if any, was actually needed.

On one hand: Six more days. If you have not early voted and do not plan to do so I strongly encourage you to vote for the presidential candidate of your choice Tuesday. The polls suggest one candidate has an edge over the other – most put Senator Obama ahead in most races – but some polls show the McCain ticket as neck and neck with Obama. Of course, states such as Utah will just mail it in for their candidate but others are struggling to choose. The news station pundits have taken sides with Fox (some say Fix) news claiming to be fair and balanced but in practice are neither. Note to Fox: Having one so called “liberal” partnered with a whining conservative does not make your coverage either fair or balanced. On the other end of the political spectrum NSNBC has loaded their guns with the likes of left-leaning show hosts but have made no effort to disguise them. The opposing view seems to have worked as ratings for the new nose-tweakers at MSNBC have challenged and even surpassed the old guard at Fox. So if both sides are blowing hot air, how does one get an unbiased view? News Flash: There is no unbiased view. Hence, we will further confuse you with two recently-received emails – one mocking the Democrats, the other praising the Democratic nominee. That’s as “fair and balanced” as we can get.

A Republican Children’s Story: There was a little red hen who scratched about the barnyard until she uncovered quite a few grains of wheat.

She called all of her neighbors together and said, 'If we plant this wheat, we shall have bread to eat. Who will help me plant it?'

'Not I,' said the cow.

'Not I,' said the duck.

'Not I,' said the pig.

'Not I,' said the goose.

'Then I will do it by myself,' said the little red hen, and so she did. The wheat
grew very tall and ripened into golden grain.

'Who will help me reap my wheat?' asked the little red hen.

'Not I,' said the duck.

'Out of my classification,' said the pig.

'I'd lose my seniority,' said the cow.

'I'd lose my unemployment compensation,' said the goose.

'Then I will do it by myself,' said the little red hen, and so she did.

At last it came time to bake the bread.

'Who will help me bake the bread?' asked the little red hen.

'That would be overtime for me,' said the cow.

'I'd lose my welfare benefits,' said the duck.

'I'm a dropout and never learned how,' said the pig.

'If I'm to be the only helper, that's discrimination,' said the goose.

'Then I will do it by myself,' said the little red hen.

She baked five loaves and held them up for all of her neighbors to see. They wanted some and, in fact, demanded a share. But the little red hen said, 'No, I shall eat all five loaves.'

'Excess profits!' cried the cow. (Nancy Pelosi)

'Capitalist leech!' screamed the duck. (Barbara Boxer)

'I demand equal rights!' yelled the goose. (Jesse Jackson)

The pig just grunted in disdain. (Ted Kennedy)

And they all painted 'Unfair!' picket signs and marched around and around the little red hen, shouting obscenities.

Then the farmer (Obama) came. He said to the little red hen, 'You must not be so greedy.'

'But I earned the bread,' said the little red hen.

'Exactly,' said Barack the farmer. 'That is what makes our free enterprise system so wonderful. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants. But under our modern government regulations, the productive workers must divide the fruits of their labor with those who are lazy and idle.'

And they all lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, 'I am grateful, for now I truly understand.'

But her neighbors became quite disappointed in her. She never again baked bread because she joined the 'party' and got her bread free. And all the Democrats smiled.

'Fairness' had been established.
Individual initiative had died, but nobody noticed; perhaps no one long as there was free bread that 'the rich' were paying for.

Bill Clinton is getting $12 million for his memoirs.

Hillary got $8 million for hers.

That's $20 million for the memories from two people, who for eight years, repeatedly
testified, under oath, that they couldn't remember anything.

A View of the Democratic nominee: Author Frank Schaeffer says "Obama will become one of the greatest (and most loved) American presidents."

Great presidents are made great by horrible circumstances combined with character, temperament and intelligence. Like firemen, cops, doctors or soldiers, presidents need a crisis to shine.

Obama is one of the most intelligent presidential aspirants to ever step forward in American history. The likes of his intellectual capabilities have not been surpassed in public life since the Founding Fathers put pen to paper. His personal character is also solid gold. Take heart, America: we have the leader for our times.

I say this as a white, former life-long Republican. I say this as the proud father of a Marine. I say this as just another American watching his pension evaporate along with the stock market! I speak as someone who knows it's time to forget party loyalty, ideology and pride and put the country first. I say this as someone happy to be called a fool for going out on a limb and declaring that, 1) Obama will win, and 2) he is going to be amongst the greatest of American presidents.
Obama is our last best chance. He's worth laying it all on the line for.

This is a man who in the age of greed took the high road of community service. This is the good father and husband. This is the humble servant. This is the patient teacher. This is the scholar statesman. This is the man of deep Christian faith.

Good stories about Obama abound; from his personal relationship with his Secret Service agents (he invites them into his home to watch sports, and shoots hoops with them) to the story about how, more than twenty years ago, while standing in the check-in line at an airport, Obama paid a $100 baggage surcharge for a stranger who was broke and stuck. (Obama was virtually penniless himself in those days.) Years later after he became a senator, that stranger recognized Obama's picture and wrote to him to thank him. She received a kindly note back from the senator. (The story only surfaced because the person, who lives in Norway, told a local newspaper after Obama ran for the presidency. The paper published a photograph of this lady proudly displaying Senator Obama's letter.)

Where many leaders are two-faced; publicly kindly but privately feared and/or hated by people closest to them, Obama is consistent in the way he treats people, consistently kind and personally humble. He lives by the code that those who lead must serve. He believes that. He lives it. He lived it long before he was in the public eye.

Obama puts service ahead of ideology. He also knows that to win politically you need to be tough. He can be. He has been. This is a man who does what works, rather than scoring ideological points. In other words he is the quintessential non-ideological pragmatic American. He will (thank God!) disappoint ideologues and purists of the left and the right.

Obama has a reservoir of personal physical courage that is unmatched in presidential history. Why unmatched? Because as the first black contender for the presidency who will win, Obama, and all the rest of us, know that he is in great physical danger from the seemingly unlimited reserve of unhinged racial hatred, and just plain unhinged ignorant hatred, that swirls in the bowels of our wounded and sinful country. By stepping forward to lead, Obama has literally put his life on the line for all of us in a way no white candidate ever has had to do. (And we all know how dangerous the presidency has been even for white presidents.)

Nice stories or even unparalleled courage isn't the only point. The greater point about Obama is that the midst of our worldwide financial meltdown, an expanding (and losing) war in Afghanistan, trying to extricate our country from a wrong and stupidly mistaken ruinously expensive war in Iraq, our mounting and crushing national debt, awaiting the next (and inevitable) al Qaeda attack on our homeland, watching our schools decline to Third World levels of incompetence, facing a general loss of confidence in the government that has been exacerbated by the Republicans doing all they can to undermine our government's capabilities and programs... President Obama will take on the leadership of our country at a make or break time of historic proportions. He faces not one but dozens of crisis, each big enough to define any presidency in better times.

As luck, fate or divine grace would have it (depending on one's personal theology) Obama is blessedly, dare I say uniquely, well-suited to our dire circumstances. Obama is a person with hands-on community service experience, deep connections to top economic advisers from the renowned University of Chicago where he taught law, and a middle-class background that gives him an abiding knowledgeable empathy with the rest of us. As the son of a single mother, who has worked his way up with merit and brains, recipient of top-notch academic scholarships, the peer-selected editor of the Harvard Law Review and, in three giant political steps to state office, national office and now the presidency, Obama clearly has the wit and drive to lead.

Obama is the sober voice of reason at a time of unreason. He is the fellow keeping his head while all around him are panicking. He is the healing presence at a time of national division and strife. He is also new enough to the political process so that he doesn't suffer from the terminally jaded cynicism, the seen-it-all-before syndrome afflicting most politicians in Washington. In that regard we Americans lucked out. It's as if having despaired of our political process we picked a name from the phone book to lead us and that person turned out to be a very man we needed.
Obama brings a healing and uplifting spiritual quality to our politics at the very time when our worst enemy is fear. For eight years we've been ruled by a stunted fear-filled mediocrity of a little liar who has expanded his power on the basis of creating fear in others. Fearless Obama is the cure. He speaks a litany of hope rather than a litany of terror.

As we have watched Obama respond in a quiet reasoned manner to crisis after crisis, in both the way he has responded after being attacked and lied about in the 2008 campaign season, to his reasoned response to our multiplying national crises, what we see is the spirit of a trusted family doctor with a great bedside manner. Obama is perfectly suited to hold our hand and lead us through some very tough times. The word panic is not in the Obama dictionary.

America is fighting its "Armageddon" in one fearful heart at a time. A brilliant leader with the mild manner of an old-time matter-of-fact country doctor soothing a frightened child is just what we need. The fact that our "doctor" is a black man leading a hitherto white-ruled nation out of the mess of its own making is all the sweeter and raises the Obama story to that of moral allegory.

Obama brings a moral clarity to his leadership reserved for those who have had to work for everything they've gotten and had to do twice as well as the person standing next to them because of the color of their skin. His experience of succeeding in spite of his color, social background and prejudice could have been embittering or one that fostered a spiritual rebirth of forgiveness and enlightenment. Obama radiates the calm inner peace of the spirit of forgiveness.

Speaking as a believing Christian I see the hand of a merciful God in Obama's candidacy. The biblical metaphors abound. The stone the builder rejected is become the cornerstone... the last shall be first... he that would gain his life must first lose it... the meek shall inherit the earth...
For my secular friends I'll allow that we may have just been extraordinarily lucky! Either way America wins.

Only a brilliant man, with the spirit of a preacher and the humble heart of a kindly family doctor can lead us now. We are afraid, out of ideas, and worst of all out of hope. Obama is the cure. And we Americans have it in us to rise to the occasion. We will. We're about to enter one of the most frightening periods of American history. Our country has rarely faced more uncertainty. This is the time for greatness. We have a great leader. We must be a great people backing him, fighting for him, sacrificing for a cause greater than ourselves.

A hundred years from now Obama's portrait will be placed next to that of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Long before that we'll be telling our children and grandchildren that we stepped out in faith and voted for a young black man who stood up and led our country back from the brink of an abyss. We'll tell them about the power of love, faith and hope. We'll tell them about the power of creativity combined with humility and intellectual brilliance. We'll tell them that President Obama gave us the gift of regaining our faith in our country. We'll tell them that we all stood up and pitched in and won the day. We'll tell them that President Obama restored our standing in the world. We'll tell them that by the time he left office our schools were on the mend, our economy booming, that we'd become a nation filled with green energy alternatives and were leading the world away from dependence on carbon-based destruction. We'll tell them that because of President Obama's example and leadership the integrity of the family was restored, divorce rates went down, more fathers took responsibility for their children, and abortion rates fell dramatically as women, families and children were cared for through compassionate social programs that worked. We'll tell them about how the gap closed between the middle class and the super rich, how we won health care for all, how crime rates fell, how bad wars were brought to an honorable conclusion. We'll tell them that when we were attacked again by al Qaeda, how reason prevailed and the response was smart, tough, measured and effective, and our civil rights were protected even in times of crisis...

We'll tell them that we were part of the inexplicably blessed miracle that happened to our country those many years ago in 2008 when a young black man was sent by God, fate or luck to save our country. We'll tell them that it's good to live in America where anything is possible. Yes we will.

Frank Schaeffer is the author of CRAZY FOR GOD-How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back.

A little blogging music Maestro… “Stand by Your Man” by Tammy Wynette.

Dr. Forgot

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