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Friday, January 20, 2012

Finding the Messiah

As the election year grinds its way forward, one is either completely aghast or thoroughly amused by the Republican nomination process.

As Agent J in "Men in Black" said, "This definitely rates about a nine-point-oh on my weird-shit-o-meter".

I read a quote somewhere that President Obama, in response to a question about his re-election campaign strategy, said, "Perhaps we'll just run transcripts of the Republican debates."

Democrats would be too quick to snicker.

I remember - oh, way back to 2004 - when "The Democratic Johns" -John "Swift Boat" Kerry and John "The NC Scoundrel" Edwards - ran for election and lost to Dubya and The Dick?

I know it's painful, but remember when the Democrats were in the driver's seat of the Political Clown Car? You know your election process is in the crapper when there are two Johns in the lead.

In 2008, the Democrats bested the Republicans by beating them at their own religiously-based political game.

We ran the Messiah.

I cringed then and I cringe now at the thought that one man could be the savior of The Democratic party in particular and the abysmal state of this country in general.

"Change we can believe in" and "Yes We Can" were two of Obama's campaign slogans.

We read the "we" and substituted "he".

Even Obama himself was uncomfortable with that slogan and said, "I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington . I'm asking you to believe in yours."

"We are the ones we've been waiting for," he said.

Still, we didn't listen. Or, we heard what we wanted to hear.

We don't listen today. Many are 'disappointed" with the President. They feel betrayed. He didn't 'save' us like he promised. Note: That was never a campaign promise. Salvation was not the issue. Change - and hope for change - was.

Granted, there has not been enough change for my taste, but after 26 years of activism, mostly in the church, I have a much better understanding of the political process.

Change is the thing we say we want most but resist best.

Many young people who voted for Obama in 2008 say they aren't going to vote for him in 2012. They say they may even vote for a Republican. Ron Paul is, apparently, the new hero for many in the younger generation.

Which makes my head spin.

As Stephen Colbert said, "Yes, Obama duped young people by not doing every single thing they want. So now, they’ll all vote Republican. It’s like when I want some bread, I won’t settle for half a loaf. Instead, I will have a muffin made of broken glass".

Barack Obama is neither the Messiah nor the Anti-Christ. Neither is Ron Paul.

They are politicians, people. Get a grip!

Rabbi and author Harold Kushner retells a story in his book, “Living a Life that Matters.” It’s a legend about a young boy who receives a bar mitzvah gift of a beautiful scarf that he uses as a prayer shawl; it’s a gift that he absolutely cherishes and treats as sacred.

One day, when the boy passes a beggar in the street who is dressed in rags, he recalls the ancient teaching that the Messiah will appear on earth as an outcast and stranger, waiting for “someone to recognize him and reach out to him, at which point he will reveal himself and redeem the world from sickness and misery.”

The boy gives away his prized possession, so that the beggar has something with which to wrap up his bare and bleeding feet; the boy is hoping, of course, that the beggar is the Messiah, and that he will have helped usher in the age of redemption.

As it turns out, though, the beggar is not the Messiah, just a person grateful for the care from another human being.

Rabbi Kushner preached about the legend at his own son’s bar mitzvah, and offered this interpretation:
“…no matter how much we would like to, we can’t bring the Messiah and solve the world’s problems. Nor can we bring the Messiah for ourselves and solve our own problems.

But maybe we can bring the Messiah for someone else. We can be the supporting actor who gives someone else’s life story a happy ending, and we can hope that someone will come along and do the same for us.”
I've always loved this story, because it has many applications for the human condition. I think it speaks quite well to our present political climate.

I think it's important to see ourselves as "supporting actors" in this life who try to give someone else's life story a happy ending.

I think it's also important to elect public officials who can, to the best of their ability, work to give our life story a happier ending than we could imagine right now - for ourselves and for our children and our children's children.

Let's not be distracted by the media circus which is leading us up the the "Deal-breaker" primary in South Carolina.

We need to stay focused on the issues as well as our own personal responsibility in our own lives and the quality of life of this nation.

Democracy is not a spectator sport.

Get involved.

For Christians, there is only one Messiah.

Note to Ron Paul: Jesus was a Jew. Remember?

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

The sooner we learn and understand that, the healthier our lives will be.


Murdoch Matthew said...

DC is thoroughly corrupt. I attended an anti-PIPA/SOPA rally in front of the offices of NY Senators Schumer and Gillibrand on Wednesday, and they remained resolutely in the pockets of the movie and recording industries even as the legislation sank. The best one can do nowadays is work for progressive candidates locally. Here in Queens New York City we have a group of city and state officeholders working together for the good of the community:

Interestingly enough, it's under the benevolent eye of Rep. Joe Crowley, head of the Queens Democratic Party, whose record in Washington is a bit dodgy. We press him when we see him, but money does talk.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

The old saying used to be "Money talks and BS walks." It seems to me that money helps BS run - and win - the race.