Sunday, February 8, 2009
La Esperanza De La Gente
Don’t ask me where I’ve been, but I saw this picture for the first time on the back of someone’s car yesterday and it was like someone body-checked me, real hard (a hockey metaphor for my cold weather friends—supposed to be back up to 80 this week in Orlando—oh, the suffering…). I got something stuck in my throat as a result, a little like déjà vu, but more like bile.
This picture of Obama with the word “HOPE” underneath took me back to a hat I got in the Dominican Republic on a mission trip 7 or 8 years ago. It had a picture of the winning presidential candidate with “Hippolito, La Esperanza De La Gente!” (The Hope of the People!, for those of you, who for some inexplicable reason took Latin or French to meet your language requirement in school). Back then, I remember thinking (no kidding), who would be so stupid to fall for such a lame line as that?
But in tough times people aren’t thinking with their brains. It is probably a much more reptilian kind of response born of being evicted from their home, or watching their retirement account become an “I hope I can retire some day” account, or waiting for the layoff notice, or coming to work and getting the pink slip, or fending off calls from the bill collectors (50 calls a week can put a lot of pressure on a person), or hiding their car from the repo man so they can get to work the next day, or ashamed and alarmed that they can’t buy a birthday present for their child’s 7th birthday, or wondering how they will pay for the cancer treatments since they lost their health insurance when they lost their job, or watching our “boys” (now should we say “boys and girls”?) coming home from Iraq with body intact but brain turned to mush from an IED, or watching their company’s or their bank’s stock swirl around the bowl like so many others of late, or because they are sickened to think that our national deficit went from $5 trillion to $12 trillion in the last 7 years (from record surpluses) and is heading to run up the score with no 15 run rule like they have in softball to stop the game.
There’s a whole lotta hurtin’ going on. Desperate people need something, and they go looking for it. So, why not a Harvard educated, constitutional scholar with exceptional thinking and speaking skills, and political instincts to match? Why not hope in him? Well, that is the interesting part of the picture/bumper sticker. Can you see the clashing color cultures of the BLUE and RED parts, like I do? As it turns out, this bumper sticker is not merely propaganda, but perhaps an accurate artistic/prophetic rendering of where we are.
Da Blue Dudes know exactly why they are excited ’bout ’Bama. Whether or not his economic fixes work, ’Bama is not ’Bush. The logic is totally compelling to them: “Why do I hit my head against the wall? Because it feels so good when I stop!” 1/20/09 was much anticipated, and McCain/Palin (particularly the Palin part) did not feel like a stopping the beating of the wall with the cranium. Arguably, the Bush admin was the most corrupt of all time, so even a morally murky mind could throw stones at him.
The Red loyalists are playing their part of being “aginners” agitating and undermining, throwing sticks and stones, and flexing what little muscle they have (riding the wave of public sentiment that can’t stomach more spending when we still haven’t gone shopping with a full $350 billion of Bush’s last economic fix, and no one has seen anyone bring any bags home with the first $350 billion that was spent). Their “hope for the people” is a sudden renewal of fiscal conservatism and “spending discipline” (which they didn’t exercise when they had both houses and the presidency for most of the last 8 years). I like fiscal conservatism, but having watched them for most of the last decade I wonder if they remember how to blush. The Red / “Christian” loyalists have their own moral take and remain—against the evidence but consistent with their political tunnel-vision—convinced Bush was a great man, and that Obama is going to hurt all their moral causes—no question there.
I have no doubt that the political story of the next 4 years will be divisive, not uniting. It will be the political version of the aftermath of the O.J. trial, but instead of being divided almost absolutely black and white in our view as we were then, now we will divide even more schismatically red, white and blue. Unfortunately, the party "spirit" is alive and well.
A friend snidely said to me this week, “Since you don’t agree with anybody, what’s your idea?” I had to laugh. Too true, but not so much. Anyone who knows me knows that I am actually quite narrow in my thinking, as I remain a radical follower of Jesus and his teachings (Red Christians don’t get this, but Jesus’ teaching is why I can’t sign up for their political pushes). I seek to conform to His teaching, obeying and not just pondering His views.
In response to my last blog (“Is Obama the Antichrist?”) I'm good with what laughingjulia said: "An underlying reason for people's trust in princes is 'trusting in what is seen vs. what is unseen.' As humans we delude ourselves to think trusting in man is easier to do than trusting in a higher being. We become 100% dissatisfied with the results, yet we continue to believe in men. Our dissatisfaction creates other sin such as anger, discord, division, and slander. Jesus asks us to follow him, however narrow and rocky the path may be."
My feet are on the Rock, my name is on the Roll….don’t need no political princes since I’ve got me a King who asks for my devotion not my vote. On paper, yes, I’m a natural born American citizen (registered independent). In my heart, my citizenship is in heaven. I am waiting and hoping on a Savior who is coming from there.