Is Your Religious Freedom At Risk?

I’m a bit late to the game here, as this was posted on 9/05 and I didn’t see it until it was linked to by Truth Wins Out. But it’s very relevant and fits in well with what I’ve been blogging about, so it’s still worth sharing here.

The piece is How to Determine If Your Religious Liberty Is Being Threatened in Just 10 Quick Questions by Rev. Emily Heath. Go read it!

Done reading? Welcome back. It seems like certain religious folks have as much trouble understanding religious freedom as they do freedom of speech. Perhaps intentionally? Is this piece going to open any minds? I don’t know, but we can hope.

Today is Yom Kippur. To all my Jewish readers: umm…happy atoning?

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Fired Up!

Bill Clinton speaking at DNC 2012Did you watch the Bill Clinton speech at the Democratic Convention last night? If not, you probably should. If you’re a Democrat you must, because it was a great feel-good speech for us. If you’re undecided, you should because he sets the record straight on many of the attacks (largely unjustly) aimed at President Obama by the Republicans at their convention, and you need to know the truth if you’re going to make a decision. And finally, I think even Republicans should watch. First, it’s always good to know what your opponents are up to and second, you also need to know about the lies and twisted facts being thrown at you by your own party elite. Also, it might scare the pants off you…and it should!

One warning though. Apparently the speech was long. I know this because the talking heads on TV told me so when it was done, but frankly I didn’t notice. When Bill Clinton gets fired up–and he was on fire last night–there aren’t many people in the political arena who can deliver a better speech.

Let’s pull off to the side for a minute and talk about something that Republicans are probably talking about. The whole Monica Lewinsky thing. I will never condone or excuse how President Clinton behaved, in terms of the affair or the investigation. It was unbecoming of a husband, a father and especially a president. It will forever be a stain on his otherwise amazing legacy. That being said, I’m over it. He screwed up, got caught and got humiliated. That was a long time ago, and it’s time to move on.

And all that doesn’t change the fact that he’s incredibly smart, charismatic and an excellent speaker. And–in terms of governing–was a darn good president. He knows his stuff, and he spent 8 years in the office himself, so when he talks about Obama’s performance, he has a great deal of credibility. To paraphrase a bit, he said no president, not himself or any other in history, could dig us out from under the mess the Republicans left the country in just four years. And that the message from the GOP convention was basically that Obama hasn’t been quick enough to fix what they broke, so let them back in. Ha! Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But that’s more or less what they’re saying. Well, that and outright lying.

Romney should be worried right about now. He has no “surrogates” (as the media seem to call these people) that can even come close to Bill Clinton. They clearly don’t want to use G.W. Bush, and even if they weren’t keeping him out of sight, Bill would mop the floor with him any day of the week. G.H.W. Bush was a better president than his son, IMHO, but he only had one term and was defeated by…yup!…Bill Clinton. In fact, unless they hire a medium to channel the ghost of Ronald Reagan (they’d reanimate his corpse if they could) there’s no one out there who can compete.

Sure, Republicans seem to have an irrational hatred for both Clintons, so I doubt he’ll be changing the minds of any of the devoted. But they’re not after Republicans, they’re after that small slice of the population who are undecided or persuadable. If enough of them remember the prosperity of the Clinton years, Bill might just be Obama’s BFG 9000. (Bonus points to anyone who gets that reference without clicking the link!)

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Transcript:  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57507363/transcript-bill-clintons-remarks-at-the-dnc/
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzDhk3BHi6Q

(Image source: The Guardian)

Similarities

It’s presidential election time! The candidates: One embattled incumbent, much derided by the opposing party, fights for reelection. The other a man with presidential looks, from a privileged background with a large personal fortune mercilessly attacks his opponent’s record in office.

It’s 2004 and those candidates are George W. Bush and John Kerry.

Not what you were expecting? Oh, that could describe this election too, couldn’t it? Huh!

There are a lot of similarities between this election and that of 2004, but even more between the two challengers. In fact, I’ll go as far as to call Mitt Romney a Republican John Kerry. I doubt I’m the first to make this comparison, since it’s pretty obvious. (I could Google it, of course, but I want to make sure what I write here are my own thoughts. If I later see that I duplicated the thoughts of others, it just lends credence to my argument.)

Let’s look at how Mitt and John are alike, shall we?

  • Religious (John Kerry is Roman Catholic)
  • Born to privilege (and seen to be out of touch with the plight of the common man)
  • Law school educated
  • Possess large personal fortunes
  • Considered to have “presidential looks”
  • Known as a flip flopper
  • Perceived by many to not have much personality
  • Supported more out of hate for his opponent than for his own merits

I think the main thing here is the last point. Mitt Romney doesn’t inspire much passion among Republicans, just as Kerry didn’t among Democrats. I remember writing a blog post in 2004 supporting Kerry; my praise was tepid, and boiled down to “Hey, he’s better than the other guy!”. And that seems to be what’s happening now. Most people don’t actually like Romney, or think he’s a great candidate. He’s the guy that made it through the primaries by being the least offensive choice (that’s my theory anyway) and it’s what the GOP is stuck with. They have mostly been pushing Mitt as the not-Obama candidate. And they must have seen the problem (surely they remember 2004 too) and we saw a thrust at the RNC convention last week to “humanize” Mitt Romney. I laugh a bit whenever I hear that. You know you have a problem when you have to make a concerted effort to make your candidate seem like a human! Will it be enough? I don’t know.

Given the strong parallels between 2012 and 2004, I am hoping for similar results, though not by similar means (I can’t condone “swift-boating”, and I hope no Democrats sink that low). I just hope people’s hatred for Obama (without getting into whether or not it’s justified) isn’t enough to drag them out to vote for someone of whom their opinion could best be summarized as “Meh!”