Sunday, January 13, 2008

Presidential Politics II

I want to start this entry with a statement of a proud mother. My son has been awarded the opportunity to go to Boston to a national conference. I'll leave the particulars out, but I am so proud of him for his responsible behavior that led to this opportunity.

Moving on. Right now, at least in this election, the Democrats seem to know who they are. They know what they stand for; it's just a matter of details of when and how to implement and who would be the best one to carry it out. They stand for big sweeping government solutions. And they are honest about it.

So what about the Republicans. There seems (to me) to be more disagreement among the Republicans about issues and even what it means to be a Republican. Are we going to be Reagan Republicans? Compassionate conservatives? Libertarians? What do any of these words even mean? They all pay some lipservice to the idea that the government is based on a constitution that supports law and order and protection from external enemies and personal liberties and initiative. But inconsistencies reign.

As far as individual Republicans, there are the top three: McCain, Romney, Giuliani. Or is it McCain, Giuliani, and Huckabee? Romney, Giuliani, and Huckabee? And why did Thompson go after Huckabee so bad in the last debate on Fox, when McCain, Giuliani, and Romney are ahead of him? Are these debates helping us to choose by clarifying what each candidate claims to believe and support, or do they just make the candidates look snitty?

I care less about how snitty the Democrats get. I want the Republicans to show leadership and tell the American people that we got where we got by people's hard work with minimal government entitlements.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Presidential politics

I am a political junkie. I'm loving this race; there's so many personalities and so much drama (which rhymes with Obama). Unfortunately, the most qualified Democrat quit today, and I'm sorry. He was too real to be elected. And John Kerry--talk about lacking loyalty. He couldn't even endorse his own past running mate. That's just tacky.

It is hard not to post on Obama. But I'm not Ann Coulter (heaven help us, she is mean, but funny at times). Let's just say he was snarky to Hillary the other night in the ABC debate, and should have shown more respect. I'm not one of those, "OOOHHH, he's really a closeted Muslim, blah, blah, blah." I just think there's not much there, despite his great speaking (and yes, for someone who teaches history of public speaking, it is nice to see a presidential candidate who really can do oratory.) But I may be wrong, and he may be president, and I would say, while it's a logical fallacy to vote for someone just because of race or gender, it's about time an African-American was seriously in the running, something more overdue than a woman being in the running.

So on to Hillary. As a student of gender communication, I have finally gotten past my extreme dislike of her personally and felt some empathy. She knows more than those other two guys, she does her homework, she talks about something. But that's not going to be enough. It's never enough for a woman to be the smartest and most qualifed. Stupid comments are made about her just because she's a woman. But she's like the valedictorian in high school no one wants to be date. Don't get me wrong though; I wouldn't vote for her in a million years. (Well, maybe in a million. Her opponent would have to be Ron Paul.)

Like the joke I heard recently. Chelsea Clinton was visiting Iraq, and a soldier there said, "There are three things I fear--Osama, Obama, and yo' mama!"

John Edwards? Like I heard a commentator say, he's just angry. It may be about his wife's illness. I can appreciate his fight for the working class and middle class; those are my roots. And he's honest about being against gay marriage instead of kissing up about it. And as one of my students said, "he's pretty." (Almost as pretty as Mitt Romney, who, I'm sorry, is really a handsome man, even if that's all I can say for him.) But Edwards just doesn't have the money. If I were a Democrat, I'd support him, but as the profile on this blog says, I'm a conservative, well, kind of.

What about the Republicans? That's for another post. I am an intellectual conservative. I believe in Republican principles but not in Republican politicians, and there's a big difference there. (Need I say Larry Craig?) I'm a fiscal and social conservative but libertarian on some issues and liberal on the environment.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Abraham and his mistakes

It is my opinion, and only my opinion, that Abraham/Abram is the most interesting character in the Old Testament and at least in Genesis. Joseph is too good and his father is too sneaky and his grandfather is too wimpy. But his great grandfather Abraham is a wonderful study on progressive revelation and the possible changes in a person's life, over time, from a thoroughly pagan worldview to something much closer to a holistic and God-based worldview. There will be several posts on this, but we'll just start with Abraham and women.

First, he's married to his half-sister. Uuuuuuu--for us, maybe, because we live post Leviticus 18, where it's very clear that the accepted incest of the ancient world was not morally or spiritually or genetically acceptable to God. (Which brings up the question of how literally we can take Adam and Eve, since there had to be incest in their children right off the bat. That's another subject, see below.) Second, Abraham takes another woman on to get a baby, supposedly at the behest of Sarai but I think Abraham let himself be pushed around by Sarai anyway. Third, he lies about Sarai being his wife twice, which tells us they didn't have the most truthful relationship between themselves and with others.

Abraham has to be the juiciest example of humanity in the OT because he is such a mixture of self-centered action and selfless faith. Ultimately, I believe God looks at the big picture of our lives, and what marks us continually as people. For Abraham it was that he believed God even when he was the only one who would or did. And this belief in God made him willing to put material possessions, of which he had many, in second place. But he made a lot of mistakes, big ones.

We live in a culture where the media grabs on to some flaw or gaffe or mistake in a politician's life (I pity Mike Huckabee now) and commits the ultimate straw man; that person becomes nothing but the gaffe or flaw or mistake. No one is allowed a bad day or a bad choice at one time in their lives, yet if a person is a continuous sinner, that's ok. I'm so thankful God doesn't define me by my mistakes.

Public Speaking Online: Part III

This is a continuation of articles below on speaking for webinars, etc.  Experts give a few other preparation tips...