Sarah Palin – The Republican’s Magic Trick

Lately, as I listen to undecided voters speaking about how Senator McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin convinced them that they should vote McCain, I feel as though I am trapped by a magician in a magic show on the Twilight Zone.

There are voters who will vote party lines regardless of the candidate or the issues.  Then there are voters who will not vote for a Black man to be the President of the United States, regardless of the issues or the position and qualifications of the candidate.  These voters would publicly give politically correct reasons for not choosing Obama, but the bottom line would be race, plain and simple.  I don’t really know what percentage of voters these are, but my feeling is that the both of the above groups of voters are more Republican than Democrat. Then there are those voters who only care that the country continues its movement away from the First Amendment and towards a more Fundamentalist Christian rule; guiding the country back to Biblical Science and away from evolution while limiting our freedoms regarding homosexuality, religious practice, and the right to choose.  In this group too, the Republicans have an edge.  Then there are those voters who want to see a woman President regardless of what she stands for or what her vision of this country is.  And last, there is the group of voters who want more than anything for the country to be free of this war in Iraq, avoid any other unnecessary wars, and search for Osama Bin Laden where he has always been. This group is mostly Democratic but with a small number of Republicans who see the financial waste.  These are not the groups who will win the election.  These are the groups who are already, and have been from the beginning, reflected in the polls.

There are many young people not counted in the polls who will vote for a change, vote for an economy where they can find work and remain in this country, vote for a country where they will have an opportunity to find better or any health care for themselves and the children that they have or intend to have.  Many of these voters are rational thinkers and realize that if the Republicans were going to make any of the changes that they are promising today, some of them would have been reflected over the past eight years.  These voters are not listed in the undecided, they are decided, but just not counted, as in the many surprise primaries for Obama and Ron Paul, and they will show up at the polls and cast the vote that they have already decided upon.

The voters still to be convinced are the undecided.  Some are hesitant about Barack Obama because they believe that given the situation that the country is in here and abroad, perhaps more foreign policy experience would be of value, perhaps just more experience on the ticket.  If we are willing to face the elephant in the room (no pun intended), considering the issue of Obama’s race, and his very John F. Kennedy like vision for this country and its people – there is an underlying fear of assassination.  Many people fear that if he isn’t too good to be true, as some would like us to believe, then he is too good, for those whose power depends on exploitation, to be allowed to serve the people of this country.  In regards to the concern over experience, his running mate would either help satisfy the question of experience by adding that to the ticket, or, solidify the concern by choosing someone who is equally or less experienced that Obama.  The same would be an issue if the fear was of assassination.  The Vice President would have to share Obama’s vision of positive change for the majority of the people and at the same time satisfy the question of experience.  In these two areas Joe Biden was the most appropriate choice to assuage the doubts and satisfy many of the undecided voters.

Those who would want to consider John McCain but remain undecided feeling that his lack of economic experience and overall foreign policy and national security experience, beyond having served in a war, needed to be considered.  There is also the issue of mortality when the person running for President could be elected to his first term at the age of 72 with a history of Cancer and other health problems.  So, here too, the Vice President that he would choose would have to be more experienced in dealing with the economy foreign affairs and national security.  If we are going for a change in the running of the government, then it would have to be someone who did not vote with Bush 90% of the time but voted for the people.

The thing that utterly amazes me is that I am hearing people who say that they were undecided, now stating that after the choice of Sarah Palin as McCain’s Vice Presidential running mate, they have decided to vote for him.  If the prior hesitation was that he needed more experience in areas that would help our economy or foreign policy, what does she bring to the table that turns him into the perfect President for our country?  If it is a question of mortality, which in McCain’s case is much more viable a question than in Obama’s, what makes Sarah Palin the right candidate for the office of President of the United States?  Is this country really ready to go from President GW Bush to President Sarah Palin?  I don’t understand what, of the little that we know of her, could give people the sense that she would be so capable of leading the free world that without so much as a single debate or an unscripted reply to a single question, they were suddenly able to decide?  Was the hesitation that McCain was not a woman?  Was it that she is a mother who did not abandon her pregnant teenager?  Was it that she takes great joy in killing defenseless animals for sport and supports the NRA?  I am sure that McCain, if not an avid killer of animals, does at least support the NRA.  So I am at a loss to understand the logic behind the choice of a woman that we have yet to really know anything about, swaying the undecided now, before any debates, before any open interviews – before she is even permitted to answer questions from reporters.

What does this say about what this country stands for in the twenty-first century?  What does this say about this country and its place in the world?  As of today, with what we know about Joseph Biden, and Sarah Palin, I am at a totally unable to understand how anyone could be in doubt as to who would better represent the nation and its people in the world today.  I am not saying that there is something wrong with believing that Sarah Palin is the best candidate after knowing enough about her to be adequately informed as to her capabilities and her intentions as Vice President and President, should she have to step in and ascend to that Office.  At least, then, credit must be given for a choice made based on being adequately informed, and on the world’s stage in which we live, we can stand up for a decision made, whether we like it or not, that engaged the mind and heart.

But the truth is that all of the e-mails that I am receiving that push the Republican ticket because of Sarah Palin, either begin with, “She has truly been sent by God to the Kingdom”, or, “Finally a woman who is just like us.”  My first problem is with selling her as an average mother, many mothers with children who have disabilities do not have a choice between being there for their children, or working to support them.  The mothers that I know, who have the choice as she does, would overwhelmingly choose to be a mother first to a child with special needs, even if it meant temporarily putting ambition aside.  And as to God sending her to the Kingdom, I believe that God sends everything that happens and everyone who is born – to this kingdom.  The question which remains to be answered, in my very humble opinion, is whether or not this package from on High will have been sent to our nation as a reward, or as a lesson that we have yet, been unwilling to learn.

How We Won The War In Iraq and Can Not Win The Peace

Intolerance breeds injustice. Injustice invariably leads to rebellion and retaliation, and these will lead to escalation on the part of both making reconciliation almost impossible. It would appear that during times of stress, despair and frustration, people become increasingly irrational, and they do things which they never think they are capable of. And so we see hideous brutality perpetrated by the most gentle people.

Once started religious strife has a tendency to go on and on, to become permanent feuds. Today we see such intractable inter-religious wars in Northern Ireland, between Jews and Muslims and Christians in Palestine, Hindus and Muslims in South Asia and in many other places. Attempts to bring about peace have failed again and again. Always the extremist elements invoking past injustices, imagined or real, will succeed in torpedoing the peace efforts and bringing about another bout of hostility.” Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, addressing the World Evangelical Fellowship on 2001-MAY-4. 4(excerpts)

We live in a country that was founded on the desire for religious freedom. We have carried through, for this reason, the separation of church and state. The Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock came here from the same type of environment that exists in Africa and the Middle East today.

“The separation of church and state is a legal and political principle derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” The phrase “separation of church and state”, which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, where Jefferson spoke of the combined effect of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. It has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court.”…

“Early immigrants to the American colonies were there motivated largely by the desire to worship freely in their own fashion, particularly after the English Civil War, but also religious wars and disputes in France and Germany.[2] They included a large number of nonconformists such as the Puritans and the Pilgrims, as well as Catholics (in Baltimore). Despite a common background, the groups’ views on broader religious toleration were mixed. While some notable examples such as Roger Williams of Rhode Island and William Penn ensured the protection of religious minorities within their colonies, others such as the Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony had established churches. The Dutch colony of New Netherland had also established the Dutch Reformed Church and outlawed all other worship, although enforcement by the Dutch West India Company in the last years of the colony was sparse. Part of the reason for establishment was financial: the established Church was responsible for poor relief, and dissenting churches would therefore have a significant advantage.” – Wikipedia

Without an understanding of history and what this means, we cannot understand what is happening in Iraq. In actuality, we went to Iraq to defeat Saddam Hussein, operation Iraqi freedom was supposed to free the Iraqis from the oppressive rulership of Saddam. We won that war in 2003. The problem is that we did not, and do not understand the region and what happens to a region when Church equals State. Winning the war was easy what we are unable to win is the peace. Why is it that we cannot with the peace for the Iraqi people?

Imagine that instead of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, as political parties, we had Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Imagine too, that the Christians, are further divided between Roman Catholics and the various groups of Protestants. In this scenario our government is run by the Roman Catholic group of Christians. They declare Catholicism as the ruling religion of the country, banning the practice of any other religions. Now, Texas is predominately Baptist. Texas is an important region because of its oil fields. New York City, which is largely Jewish, is also important because of its financial institutions. The country is under oppressive Catholic rule, many who rebel against being forced to worship in Catholic Churches are being massacred. Now a third party, let’s imagine it is China with an economic stake in the stability of our country, and with no religious leanings, enters our country to free us from the oppressive Catholic rule and manages to defeat the strong-hold of the Catholic government. With the mighty Catholic military disbanded, the other Christian groups, begin to fight for power amongst themselves. At the same time, the Jews and Muslims begin to gather strength in their own states to gain religious control over our country for the sake of their own religions and our country becomes divided into religious territories.

In the midst of all this turmoil created by the dismantling of the strong Catholic Military, China decides to back a Muslim government. Backed by the Chinese military, the Muslim government begins to enter each state and take control. Jews, Baptist, and even Catholics rise up to prevent this from happening – China calls these religious groups, “insurgents” that must be put down. The only way is to cleanse the regions of each group, city by city. Feeling that if our country is taken over by the Chinese backed Muslims it will be the greatest offense against God, Jews, Christians, and Catholics come from all over the world to join in the fight against the Muslim government, seen by many as a puppet regime of the Chinese trying to control the worship of God in the US. The biggest battles are being waged in Texas, where the Baptist, many of them devout Christian Fundamentalists, refuse to allow the rich resources of their state to go to the benefit of the Chinese backed Muslim government. However, violent fighting among all of the religions ensues nationwide as each religion attempts to build a stronghold in a particular state. Money, guns, and ammunition are being smuggled into the country by Protestants, Jews and even Catholics from around the world to support the fight of their particular religion. All of the religious groups are united in their animosity towards China because each group sees that the only peace that China can bring to our country, will cost each religion their faith in God. This scenario is imaginary – only because of the First Amendment to The Constitution.

We have had four hundred years of desire and practice in the separation of church and state. We have had four hundred years of living side by side with so many religions that we forget the world before. We think of ourselves as a nation and its people, not of a religious faith and the affront to God of any other faith existing in the same territory.

The “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia was the Orthodox Christian Serbians “cleansing” the country of Muslims. The conflicts in Israel are not Arab vs. Israeli, they stem from the fact that Israel was established as and needs to remain a Jewish State. If the Palestinians, mostly Muslim and Christian were granted the same rights under the law as Jews, which would of course include full voting rights, Israel would soon cease to be a Jewish State, in effect, it would cease to be Israel. In India, the religious and political battle over rulership of the country was between the Hindus and the Muslims, it was only resolved by the formation of the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”.

Religion has no borders. Shiite Muslims will fight from all over the world with and for the Shiite Muslims in Iraq, Sunni’s will fight from all over the world with and for the Sunni Muslims in Iraq. The people of the United States are here because they have chosen to live or remain after birth in a country where one is first an American Citizen and then a Catholic, Baptist, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian or Jew. Because of the separation of church and state that we enjoy, loyalty to the country does not require loyalty to a particular form of worship. This is our Democracy. It is the Democracy, envisioned by our Constitution, which can only survive in a nation where there is an explicit separation of Church and State. Today there are 56 religious based “conflicts” including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Thailand, Uganda, Chechnya, the Philippines, Kurdistan, Nigeria, Sudan, the Middle East and Kosovo. The Problem with our intervention in any religious conflict, the problem with any outside intervention in any religious conflict is that whatever group we back, we are backing a religion. In removing one religion from power and replacing it with the only alternative, another religion, we simply buy a temporary cease fire. Soon enough the worshipers of the defeated faith, feeling repressed, afraid, and more determined than ever to fight in the name of God, will gather support from the unlimited well of followers devoted to their faith, and God and rise up, and continue the battle. It is not a battle that is won or lost on earth but in Heaven. It is not a battle for a place on earth but for a place in Heaven. If they lose their place on land by fighting and sacrificing their lives in the name of God, they guarantee their place in Heaven.

We have won the war in Iraq that we set out to win. We cannot win the peace, because we are fighting a battle over borders, and they are fighting a battle over love, honor and devotion to God. Where Church, Temple, Mosque, or Ashram, equals State, we can only make things worse.

If there is any lesson that we should learn from this, it is that what prevents us from becoming them, what prevents the United States from becoming Iraq, Serbia, or any of the other nations embroiled in religious wars, is the First Amendment. Those who would like to see it abolished, or even relaxed should pay close attention to what is happening in Africa, Asia and the middle east because the First Amendment is all that separates us from them.