Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Faithless-based initiatives anyone?

Regular readers will note I've taken down the photo of my Obama/Clinton in 2008 bumper sticker (created the day after Kerry lost in 2004) from this blog. My original intent was to annoy the heck out of Republicans driving about with their Bush/Cheney stickers in full display. (Have you seen many of those lately?) I figured an Obama/Clinton ticket would be their worst nightmare. I had no idea how close my fantasy would actually come to reality.

The sticker on my vehicle has faded out completely, mirroring my original luke-warm support for The Candidate for Change -- that support now growing rather chilly observing all the pandering to the center right crowd the past couple of weeks. Wouldn't you know it -- in an act of compulsive conciliation, I actually threw some money Obama's way a week or so after he clinched the nomination. Then suddenly FISA - handguns - capital punishment - Wesley Clark - faith-based initiatives -- have I missed anything? Oh yeah,

For me, Obama's repudiation of was highly ironic, as I had only a few days prior cancelled my online subscription to MoveOn. I'd always liked their populist and creative organisational tactics, but they really pissed me off when they decided to support Obama in the primary. There was so little actual difference between Clinton and Obama in terms of stated policy. Well MoveOn -- are you happy with your decision now? And of course, one has to wonder what issues Hillary would have flipped on in the general election. She'd already taken on some macho hawkish rhetoric in order to be just like the boys. (blech!)

However, it is important to remember that Obama has never been a true progressive. Righties continue to label him a "socialist" or worse, but they are making it up. Progressive Punch provides a scale of progressive voting records in Congress and Obama is at 43. Hillary Clinton is at least in the upper third at 31 and our own Senator Brown sets a high standard at #7. Dick Durbin is the most progressive of all.

Therefore I'm not going all suicidal over Obama's displaying his true colors. I'll probably still vote for him, unless I get so disgusted I decide to vote for the Green Party. Could happen. Mike Gravel is endorsing this guy for Green Party presidential candidate.

Now about this faith-based government funding foolishness. I have no problem with religions doing good works. Let them tithe and pass the plate and continue on with their volunteer work. But why should they get government money on top of that? Isn't it a major point of religious practice that the believer must make sacrifices of time and money for what they believe in? Reverend Barry Lynn was on television tonight making a whole lot of sense about life before any of these faith-based plans were put in place. Charities functioned well, governmental support of community programs happened in the non-profit sector and we didn't have to pay anyone to head up a new agency to make it all happen.

I'm not convinced by Obama's statement that in his plan, there will be no proselytizing or suspect hiring/firing decisions. Who is going to run around policing all these groups to make sure that no proselytizing is taking place? For many religions, proselytizing is part of the practice. And will faith-based groups consent to hire out-of-the-closet atheists and agnostics?

There are plenty of things that the government could be spending money on that will make our citizens healthier and happier, such as low cost dental clinics, local food pantries, medical research and alternative energy systems -- to name but a few. I don't see the need to collaborate with religious groups to provide these services. Community and social services must be secular in nature in order to fairly serve the great diversity that is this country.

But maybe -- in the grand scheme of things political -- Obama's actions are simply pragmatic decisions made to ensure his win in November. Lefties must simply bite our lips and stay cool until our candidate is in office. Then we'll see renewed support for progressive ideals. Sorry, I was born without faith. In other words, I'll believe it when I see it.


terra said...

I read a good observation today - Gore and Kerry played to the "center" during the General election, and they lost! This strategy does not work. Obama has taken the wind out of the sails of his strongest supporters. He will have a tough time getting the enthusiasm he once had if he votes yes on the FISA bill on Tuesday. It's tragic.

p.s. MoveOn's members voted for Obama - they didn't just choose him.

I may just go the way of George Carlin. Do our votes count anyway? I often wonder.

Village Green said...

Not to mention that being the candidate for "Change" and "Not Politics as Usual" means that you have to practice what you preach.

Right, MoveOn did vote and overwhelmingly for Obama. I voted Clinton, but I question why we needed to endorse anybody in the primary.

I didn't vote for decades because it seemed to be a futile act. Then came GWB vs Gore. I didn't vote during that election and will always feel guilty over it. So I'll be voting in November to defeat the Republicans.

terra said...

Good post!

I have been thoroughly disappointed with Obama recently. He's put us in a bad spot - we will choose the lesser of two evils once again.


Aratina said...

I'm surprised you picked the winning Democratic ticket way back in 2004! I voted for Clinton in this primary, too, and I also wonder what liberal issues she would have thrown under the bus. It almost seemed like she became liberated after she lost the primary, which made me regret her loss even more. But Obama was really an easy switch to make since, as you noted, he and Clinton were pretty much the same on all issues. The faith-based thing that Obama threw out really shocked me because he had continuously reiterated the separation of church and state. I finally realized that he is trying to have it both ways with that issues just like all leading Democrats do with the same-sex marriage issue. Faith-based Communities = opposite sex marriage and Neighborhoods = same sex marriage. In the end, Obama is really just trying to bring up charities into the level of the executive cabinet. I don't trust that he or anyone else, though, will be able to control the religious groups once they get their foot in the door so I still think it is a mistake. I am getting re-energized to vote for him though as he gets back to issues that I care about like putting an end to the "English Only" craze.

Village Green said...

When I made those bumper stickers in 2004, my objective was to pick names that would be the most annoying to the Republicans, since I knew I'd be seeing Bush/Cheney stickers on cars for the next four years. I made a bunch of the stickers, some that said Clinton/Obama and others that said Obama/Clinton. At that point in time, it didn't really matter which was on top. Maybe it still doesn't.