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I See Presidential Candidates . . .

It seems like each person running for President gets a news cycle all of his or her own. This week, apparently, is Huckabee Week. I'm kind of divided about Huckabee. Don't get me wrong -- the thought that this man, who seems to understand the concept of "separation of church and state" even less than our current Fearless Leader, stands a good chance of becoming the Republican candidate next year is a thoroughly frightening one. But the question is: will the American people actually go for him, or will he make the Democrat look that much better by comparison?

(We're not even talking about Ron Paul. Really, Nixon displayed less paranoia.)

Given the way that large wodges of America are manipulated by Fox News and the Shrub, I have a sinking feeling that Huckabee is going to go far. It does depress me that my fellow countrypersons find attractive a man who runs with a TV ad that flashes the words "Christian Leader." It also depresses me that the country is apparently willing to seriously entertain questions about whether or not Mitt Romney's Mormon faith makes him a good candidate for national office. Mitt Romney is certainly not someone I'd want for President -- I lived in Massachusetts for a while when he was governor, and the man is an order of magnitude oilier than the latkes I made last night -- but the whole national questioning of his faith makes me mad. Didn't we already go through this with Kennedy?

Why should Huckabee have to emphasize his Christianity to be attractive? Why must Romney defend himself against accusations of being a member of a cult? Why must faith (or the lack thereof) even be an issue in the race for national office? You'd think we'd have learned from our latest experience, but nooooo . . . .

Comments

( 46 comments — Leave a comment )
telperion1
Dec. 11th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC)
I find it sad, but I think pragmatically I can understand why Huckabee would push his Christian identity. A lot of Christians (my own family included) feel under attack society at large. And while I 100% disagree with them, I can see their point. What we have in this country doesn't begin to approach any kind of persecution level, but there are some fairly high-profile people who seem to take great joy in bashing religion in general and Christianity in particular. For people like them, a person proclaiming Christian morality would seem like someone who would protect their interests.

All of that said, I feel the need to emphasize: I do not like Huckabee. Even if I did, I don't like theocracy. And I think that a lot of the fear I just mentioned is completely unjustified. Having spent the first twenty-four years of my life in the U.S. Southeast, over a decade of that in small rural towns, I have seen a lot of this "attack on religion." It doesn't warrant getting so worried. But I guess, rationally, I can understand the worry even if I don't agree with it.

On Romney's faith, I understand why that's important. If the last eight years have taught us anything it's that the president's personal morality has a big affect on what happens in the country. Perhaps it shouldn't, but it does. I don't think that Romney should have to defend himself from accusations of being in a cult, but I do think there is a place for people to discuss what a president's values are. Mormonism is new to a lot of people. Romney identifies himself with that group. It doesn't seem completely unrealistic that people should want to know what Mormonism teaches and what affect it would have on his character and what he would consider the right course of action in a certain circumstance.

I do take issue with the way this question is being asked. And personally, I find it encouraging that Romney is willing to stick to his principles where his faith is concerned. It shows me he believes in something and is willing to stick to it, even when it's the unpopular thing to do. Of course, I won't be voting for him for other reasons, but if I was a Republican, the whole faith issue would actually make him a better candidate IMO.
frenchpony
Dec. 11th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
If the last eight years have taught us anything it's that the president's personal morality has a big affect on what happens in the country.

That's true. But I don't think that morality should be so firmly bound to religiosity in public discourse. Romney loses big points with me for having said that freedom requires religion. It doesn't.

It shows me he believes in something and is willing to stick to it, even when it's the unpopular thing to do.

This is not always a positive trait. One must be willing to change one's mind when presented with evidence that one's former position was wrong. Politicians call this "flip-flopping," and they will excoriate each other for doing it. This leads to politicians never changing their minds about anything, which leads to our current Fearless Leader.

It doesn't seem completely unrealistic that people should want to know what Mormonism teaches and what affect it would have on his character and what he would consider the right course of action in a certain circumstance.

Except that that's not really the course that the debate over Romney The Mormon is taking. That would be too sensible. The most current questions are: Do Mormons believe in Jesus? If so, do they believe hard enough? Aren't they just a weird bloody cult anyway? People aren't asking the right questions about Mormonism.

The fact remains that we have never yet had a non-Christian President, and the country has become steadily more religious over the past forty years. Even if there are people like Christopher Hitchens sniping in the public sphere (and Hitchens is indeed a nasty, bitter man who takes his pleasure in attacking other people, the atheists' version of a shande before the goyim), this country is very Christian-friendly, probably more so now than when it was founded. Yet there are a steady stream of people who want to take America back for Jesus, and it's worrisome that they don't seem to realize how illegal that would be or how scary they sound to those of us who don't particularly wish to live under Jesus's rule.
(no subject) - telperion1 - Dec. 11th, 2007 05:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Dec. 11th, 2007 06:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elliska - Dec. 11th, 2007 11:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Dec. 11th, 2007 11:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saadiira - Dec. 12th, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
heartofoshun
Dec. 11th, 2007 07:15 pm (UTC)
The problem with morality as it is discussed in this country is rarely about basic human decency, responsibility to society as a whole, decent health care and education, tolerance, respect or civility in discourse, but seems centered around questions of sexual preference, birth control and/or abortion, or the morality of removing life-support systems from patients who cannot exist without them and are arguably brain dead already. It is scary. Christians feel attacked recently? Because they live in a culturally diverse society--of which they are the predominant and most powerful majority--that up until very recently behaved in almost all of its public manifestations as though it were a 100% protestant Christian society?
frenchpony
Dec. 11th, 2007 07:21 pm (UTC)
The problem with morality as it is discussed in this country is rarely about basic human decency, responsibility to society as a whole, decent health care and education, tolerance, respect or civility in discourse,

Why is it that I know these things, yet I'm not considered mature enough to run for President, while people who are old enough to be my parents and grandparents use "morality issues" as their public pissing contests, and the country is willing to trust them with the highest office in the land? There's something fundamentally wrong here.

All the hoo-ha about Huckabee the preacher and Romney the Mormon just hammers home to me that, yes, Pony is a member of a very small minority group.

I really doubt that that was the Founders' intention there . . .
gwynhyffar
Dec. 11th, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC)
You know, I sat here for a good hour this morning writing and rewriting a response to Pony's post. In the end, I found myself unable to express my feelings on the whole thing without sounding bitter or jaded. Kudos to you for being able to hit the gist of what I had been trying to say.

I find also that Christians are the ones doing the attacking and creating societal schisms, yet they are also the ones crying the loudest about being persecuted. It makes no sense.
(no subject) - frenchpony - Dec. 11th, 2007 11:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saadiira - Dec. 12th, 2007 08:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
saadiira
Dec. 12th, 2007 08:53 pm (UTC)
This is incredibly well said, and good points, all.

The issues at hand are not what they should be, because they are not about rights or responsibilities, but about social control...including of those who believe completely differently. They are not moral issues, at all.

-Dira-
saadiira
Dec. 12th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
MMM...Latkes. But On Topic? I find all Republican candidates save possibly for the secularly sided, and thereby not batspit insane Giuliani (Who, I must admit, was a darn good mayor, current smears aside, and I certainly DO recall where he really was on 9/11, and what he was doing, and it was a damnsite more heroic than anything we saw out of the shrub...)terrifying.

I'd vote for Giuliani, personally, were I not afraid that ANY Republican might be a bad thing for women's rights, contraception (Many of those Republicans want THAT gone, too...something we don't hear very much about!)etc, because of other issues that get rolled in along WITH whatever relatively sane and completely unrelated stuff Giuliani might want (You know how they package bills, which is why some politicians vote against things you'd think they'd be for, as an aside, or against other things they SHOULD be for...).

I'm not happy with some things Hillary would do. I'm not happy with Obama for a number of reasons, though I will vote, most likely, for whichever is offered.

-Dira-
frenchpony
Dec. 13th, 2007 04:42 am (UTC)
Yeees, my nummy homemade-from-scratch latkes. Deee-licious, and I splurged on fancy applesauce for them, too.

Giuliani is certainly not my top choice for anything (one of 9/11's little ironies was that, on the day that Rudy became a hero, people were going to the polls to vote for Bloomberg for mayor), but I have to admit -- he may be as oily as the rest, but he's not sanctimonious about it. He's paranoid like the rest, but he has good reason to be. I think he's a creep, but at least he's an honest creep.

Obama has my support as the Neighborhood Candidate. He's from my state, my city, my neighborhood -- hell, he's from my school. His wife was a muckety-muck at the hospital that I'd be taken to if I ever got seriously hurt or sick.
(no subject) - saadiira - Dec. 14th, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Dec. 14th, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saadiira - Dec. 15th, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Dec. 15th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saadiira - Dec. 19th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Dec. 19th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
frenchpony
Dec. 13th, 2007 04:48 am (UTC)
Good God, have you seen this? It is the perfect shitstorm of religiously inspired lunacy. Both the attack itself and the fact that CNN thinks it was newsworthy that the rescuer was Muslim.
(no subject) - saadiira - Dec. 14th, 2007 07:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Dec. 14th, 2007 09:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saadiira - Dec. 15th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Dec. 15th, 2007 10:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saadiira - Dec. 19th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Dec. 19th, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
saadiira
Dec. 12th, 2007 08:56 pm (UTC)
Heh. And appologize if I kinda spammed up the place, but I get quite passionate about this particular issue. :)

-Dira-
frenchpony
Dec. 13th, 2007 04:44 am (UTC)
Ah, don't worry about it. I like your comments, and most anything is welcome here in Ancient Armenia.

Sorry I'm a little late getting back to you. A RL friend was having a hard time and needed to talk, and then I made and ate dinner, which was duck, and then I had to finish up with the duck stock I made from the carcass.
(no subject) - saadiira - Dec. 14th, 2007 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Dec. 14th, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saadiira - Dec. 19th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
meggins
Dec. 13th, 2007 04:47 am (UTC)
I don't think that morality should be so firmly bound to religiosity in public discourse.

I could not agree with you more. Just belonging to a denomination/religion and going to church (or synagogue or temple or mosque) is no guarantee of moral behavior in other areas of life. And it is possible to be secular, or even an atheist, and still have a strong moral code.

Romney was doing very well defending himself being a Mormon, which he shouldn't have had to do, and then he blew it by essentially saying all us believers should get together and whomp on the non-believers (which probably also includes those whose beliefs are "unacceptable").

It's all extremely depressing.
frenchpony
Dec. 13th, 2007 04:50 am (UTC)
I was about to reply to you and say that this is the thing that's made me feel my minority status the most in a long time.

Then I read this. "War on Christmas," my aunt Fanny!
(no subject) - meggins - Dec. 14th, 2007 04:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Dec. 14th, 2007 06:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saadiira - Dec. 14th, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Dec. 14th, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saadiira - Dec. 19th, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - meggins - Dec. 16th, 2007 04:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saadiira - Dec. 19th, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
perelleth
Dec. 14th, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC)
Why must faith (or the lack thereof) even be an issue in the race for national office? YOu know what? Tat is something that always puzzles me about your country. Faith being in my book something private, of course, but waht with all those corporate policies about not offending different religions and faiths and then pushing God ( any od) to the front line in political discussion. Puzzling.
frenchpony
Dec. 15th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)
You'd think that faith would be a private thing in America, but it's not and never has been, not since the first English colonies were founded by religious fundamentalists.

The sad thing is, in four years, I'll be old enough to run for President. I think I'd probably do well at that job (not that it would be my dream job or anything), but you'd never get to find out, because I'm now unelectable, as the country now stands. While we just might have a female President in 2009, we've never had a non-Christian President, and the press would be all up in my face about my faith and how it would affect my governing style (specifically, how it would affect my Middle East policy). I would have to tell them that my firmest belief is that my faith is no one's business but my own. And then poof! would go any chance of seeing a Pony in the White House.
(no subject) - perelleth - Dec. 18th, 2007 12:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Dec. 18th, 2007 01:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 46 comments — Leave a comment )

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