Saturday, January 05, 2008

It's in the Blood!

“To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful.”
- Edward R.Murrow

I’ve spent months trying to escape the political stirrings in my blood, but I can’t escape them. They’re products of my New England birth and up-bringing. I occasionally tell people that my Democratic Party credentials were tattooed into me a few days after I was born. It was a routine procedure in Massachusetts back in those days, much like circumcision. It was one of the first rights of passage. Later in life the passion born in ritual was fired by the visions of Camelot, the New Frontier, and Tip O’Neill’s affable ways. I became a true believer. The Great Society and LBJ’s guns and butter economy threw cold water on the coals and Richard Nixon damned near extinguished them. Jimmy Carter re-invigorated them for a year or two, but his shallow humanism eventually overpowered his toothy smile. I gave up. I kept voting, but there was little passion in it for me. It’s been that way, off and on, ever since. My need for political sustenance has been tickled, but never requited.

But there’s something different about this election cycle. There seems to be a fresh wind blowing in the political air.

In a recent debate, Mike Huckabee was asked what Jesus would do about immigration or some other testy twenty-first century issue. The question was designed by some media Pharisee intent on trapping the evangelical in his religion, the type of question religious leaders of Jesus’ day tried to entangle him in. Well, as quick as you could say, Render unto Caesar,” Huckabee responded, “Jesus was far to smart to ever become a politician.” Somewhere in the Great Beyond I think the Almighty Himself must have smiled and whispered, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

There’s something very refreshing about seeing someone who considers himself wise being proven a fool by the very person he considers to be the fool or huckster. Very refreshing indeed!

I suppose it might be fair to ask why Mike Huckabee wasn’t smart enough to avoid politics. But, you might as well be asking why “fish gotta’ swim and birds gotta’ fly” or why Willie Sutton robbed banks. Mike is doing this because it’s in his blood, just like saving humanity was in Jesus’ or like Camelot and the New Frontier are in mine. In evangelical terms, or in the language of Zion, it’s called the quickenin’ or the anointing. It’s there because it’s there.

On the other side of the coin there’s Barack Obama. He’s taken on the mighty Clinton machine and has won the early battle. It’s good to see the mighty fall. The sight of an honest liberal cutting the conniving Hillary to the quick is a sight to behold. About all she’s been able to do to this point is to plagiarize Obama’s stump speeches, connive, lie, distort, and pretend to be sincere. Obama speaks of hope. Hillary talks about going back to the future. Obama lays claim to the mantle of change. Hillary tries to steal it. It’s self evident. She has little or no soul to bare. All she can do is pretend to be the things she’s not and hope the Democratic Party faithful are stupid enough to buy the slickly presented package. The problem her handlers have, though, is that all the slickness they apply isn’t hiding a thing. It’s just mixing with the grease oozing from her innards. Iowa was an early test and she failed it miserably. I think the same thing might happen in New Hampshire too.

I’ve tried to avoid my political instincts for months now, but Mike Huckabee’s improbable rise from obscurity and Barack Obama’s playing David to Hillary’s Goliath has re-energized me. I have to admit it. I’m a political animal.

I would have loved to hit cleanup for the Boston Red Sox in my younger days, but there wasn’t room on the roster for a no hit, no field wonder like me. I once considered becoming a corporate big wig, but the thought of shuffling paper from one desk to another never really appealed to me. I thought a few times about becoming a civil servant, but the thought of eventually going postal disabused me of that notion. I even thought once about becoming the president of the United States, but the inevitability of being hated by my enemies, friends, neighbors, and countrymen was too much of a cross for me to bear. So, I settled into a fairly normal American life – eight hours of work a day, a modest salary, a good wife, and friends.

I’ve tried the casual pursuits. I’ve tried fishing, but found it pretty boring. I’ve been asked in this part of the world why I don’t own a gun, at least for protection’s sake. About the only response I can offer is that I traded the M-16 the government loaned me years ago for a thirty-three ounce Louisville Slugger, Kirby Puckett model. That seems much safer to me than a gun. After all, I reason, I could never beat myself to death with that Louisville Slugger if or when push came to shove.

I’ve tried the casual pursuits, but things for me always come back to philosophy, theology, and politics. It’s in the blood. It’s now early in the 2008 election cycle and I’m finding the politics once again stirring in my veins. I’m feeling the heat and passion once more. God help me, I love it so.

Last night I made a donation to the Huckabee campaign. Hopefully it will buy him and his staff a few more shoelaces to fend off Mitt’s attack dogs. The last time I did something like that was back in the seventies and I was working on the Jimmy Carter campaign. Maybe my luck will be better this time around. After all, how many times in a man’s life can he hitch his wagon to a horse that looks like a thoroughbred, but runs like a nag once the politicking and campaigning are done?

Can Mike Huckabee win? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter right now. Can Barack Obama dismantle the Clinton Machine? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter now either. As of today, the stars and the planets seem to be properly aligned. Truth, honesty, and sincerity seem to be winning out, at least for now. I may have to face the bitter reality 300 Spartans had to face at Thermopylae. The barbarians do storm the gates and the good guys all too often lose. Hillary and Mitt could have the last laugh. They may win the prize and in the process dismiss us as religious fools or hopeless dreamers. But that’s alright. We’ve bloodied their noses and it feels good. Right now, we’re still standing and hoping, and hope somehow always find a way to spring eternal. We may be fools and dreamers. But, as Huckleberry Finn said, “ H'aint we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain't that a big enough majority in any town?”


Douglas said...

I grasp that Huckabee is a creation of the MSM, an attempt to puff the weakest possible GOP candidate for the general election. We don't need four more years of big, expensive, intrusive, invasive government packaged as conservatism with an R label on the bottle. And it doesn't help that Huckabee has had some serious ethical lapses as governor. What is it about Arkansas?

Anonymous said...

I have become sold on Huckabee. I believe he is the Real McCoy. Pastor Mike

Phil Dillon, Prairie Apologist said...


I guess I'm just an idle dreamer, with no sense of reality.

As for what Arkansas is all about, I can't say. It could be the water. I do know that the hams are good there and that Eureka Springs is an absolutely delightful place to spend a few days vacationing.

Robert said...

"The barbarians do storm the gates and the good guys all too often lose. Hillary and Mitt could have the last laugh. They may win the prize and in the process dismiss us as religious fools or hopeless dreamers."

I hope that you aren't putting Mitt in the same category as Hillary?? To suggest that Mitt would dismiss anyone as a religious fool goes against his core belief. You are suggesting that Mitt would dismiss us as religious fools when so many have already dismissed Mitt as a candidate for Presidency because of his "foolish" religion. Who is dismissing who?

Phil Dillon, Prairie Apologist said...


I'm not nearly as subtle as that. I may not have made my point exactly how I wanted to, but it certainly wasn't intended to be anti Mitt Romney. I think you know that. His religious beliefs are of no concern to me vis a vis this election. If you read the core of what I wrote, and have been writing for a few days now, is that Mike Huckabee has struck something very fundamental in a lot of us. He's speaking to our hearts, hopes, and aspirations. I find that very appealing.

Jeremy Pierce said...

I'm not so sold on Obama's sincerity as you are. I bet he's not as fake as Hillary, but he's actually more of a hard left extremist than she is, and he's coming off as some kind of moderate. It's hard to say if that's deliberate, and I'm not going to charge him with being deliberately dishonest, but there's something insincere about his campaign for portraying him as a moderate when even NPR has been consistently recognizing that he's the left-wing candidate challenging what most Democrats see as Hillary Clinton's too-willing concessions to moderate views on Iraq, environmentalism, and so on. It's funny that the hard left sees this about him, but moderates see him as one of them. That just suggests lack of substance in his campaigning (not that there's lack of substance in his views; he's got very clear, substantial leftism in his views).