Thursday, May 08, 2008

This life we live, it's not what we have-- it's what we believe.

In his book God's Politics, Jim Wallis writes, "I believe there is a "fourth option" for American politics, which follows from the prophetic religious tradition we have described. It is traditional or conservative on issues of family values, sexual integrity, and personal responsibility, while being very progressive, populist, or even radical on issues like poverty and racial justice. It affirms good stewardship of the earth and its resources, supports gender equality, and is more internationally minded than nationalist-- looking first to peacemaking and conflict resolution when it comes to foreign policy questions. The people it appeals to (many religious, but others not) are very strong on issues like marriage, raising kids, and individual ethics, but without being right-wing, reactionary, or meanspirited or scapegoating against any group of people, such as homosexuals. They can be pro-life, pro-family, and pro-feminist, all at the same time. They think issues of "moral character" are very important, both in a politician's personal life and in his or her policy choices. Yet they are decidedly pro-poor, for racial reconciliation, critical of purely military solutions, and defenders of the environment. At the heart of the fourth option is the integral link between personal ethics and social justice. And it appeals to people who refuse to make the choice between the two."
When I read that passage it kind of scared me, because it described almost to a T what I believe and what I would love to see more of in politics today. The fact that both parties are catering so much to the people on the wings in their policies and only to people in the center when they need to win votes bothers me. A lot of people are more moderate than their representatives. The fact that there aren't really many, if any, "pro-life liberals" bothers me. The fact that Republicans seem to have the Christian vote mostly sewn up bothers me. The fact that they claim to be on God's side and hold the moral high ground bothers me. What happened to moderation in politics? Why are so many important issues so polarized? There's no one to vote for if you want to pick and choose on issues. If you're a moderate, you inevitably have to eventually say, well, I don't agree with them on x, y, and z issues, but they're good enough...I guess...
Maybe it's just me, but I feel like we should be able to do better than that.

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