Sunday, August 31, 2008

Perceptional Fog

per·cep·tion: the process of using the senses to acquire information about the surrounding environment or situation.
fog: a state of confusion or lack of clarity
[Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.]

Yesterday, I watched the weather news on Hurricane Gustav which was headed for New Orleans. At that moment, the storm is 305 miles away from Louisiana landfall. It has winds currently of 115 miles per hour with gusts up to 140mph. Mandatory evacuations were underway and seemed impressively organized. It is just hard to perceive what that must have been like. What would I take if asked to evacuate? Where would I go? How would I feel? And why do some folks stay behind?

Then there are the recent and current political party conventions and campaigns. These are politicians. They live on persuasive speech technique, among other things. It is also hard to perceive who is speaking truthfully, speaking accurately. Tonight Fred Thompson, at the Republican Convention, quoted a piece of something Obama said, but Thompson linked it to the wrong part of the issue. I know this because I actually heard the full context when Obama spoke the words in a prior interview. This evening, Thompson spoke it out of context and it was misleading and wrong, yet everyone in the room cheered wildly. It makes me question everything said about someone by the other party...either party. So perceptions are challenging. I'm in a bit of a fog processing reality through my perceptions in understanding the impact of a hurricane on human life and in understanding the good, the bad, and the ugly of candidates.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vice Presidents, Evangelicals, and Campaigns

Just a few comments on election years. Some parts of this privilege of electing government leaders amuse me. Others annoy me. The party conventions are right around the corner. I am amused at the game "Guess the Vice Presidential Candidate," similar in some ways to "Deal or No Deal," a popular TV show I've watched maybe once. I'm annoyed by the mystical formula for picking a VP running mate: who will pull in the votes of the people currently disinterested in the presidential candidate, who will offend less people, who is from a big state with lots of votes. What does a VP do? Help out in the Senate, and replace the President in times of demise. So this choice, for me, will impact who I vote for in November. When people say, "Do you know who you are voting for?" at this point, I tell them no because I haven't seen the VP candidates yet nor have I seen party platforms or final positions on my pet issues: poverty (which includes the economy) and justice (which includes the war with Iraq) issues.

Today, both McCain and Obama are being interviewed by Rick Warren at Saddleback Church. I have deep respect for Rick Warren for his authentic journey of faith. It has been somewhere between amusing and annoying to hear what reporters are saying in anticipation of this event. Some news views I've heard show how so out of touch the news writers have been with "evangelicals." Whose fault is that? Evangelicals? News writers? I don't know. And that further reminds me to be cautious when reporters speak about any people group in general terms, which mainstream media seems to report with more spin and gossip as time goes by. I so appreciate those who come close to the fair reporting -- no, not Fox. Today on NPR with Scott Simon, the reporter did a great job of explaining the event without disparaging the main audience. I think Rick Warren will do an honest job of questioning the candidates on issues that are big on my mind. And that is not necessarily positions on gay marriage and abortion for me. It is bigger things. I hope we can just tell who is giving an honest answer. That's tough to do. I can't wait to watch the interviews and then to hear news coverage over the next day or so.

Campaigns -- the ads, the phone messages, the name calling, the magnifying lens on the weakness of each human, on and on...but only to November. It does get tiring. Once, as an intern for a state assembly, I decided to become an Independent because I'd been embarrassed by the behavior of Representatives from both parties. I still enjoy the status of an Independent for that reason. And this year, more than many, those Independent voters will be sought after as the big unknown. Power to the people - right on! Thank the Lord for true freedom and for just a few more months of this!