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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Where to begin?

I am back in Sweden after spending almost a month in the United States. It was quite a month. For the first time in 10 years we were in the U.S. for the political conventions and aftermath. We were there when McCain announced that Sarah Palin (OK, honestly, I just wrote PAIN instead of Palin which is an easy typing error, but points to something greater, I'm sure.) would be his running mate. We experienced the 24 hour news cycle available on not 1, not 2 but numerous channels all sharing their "fair and balanced" perspective. And we loved it. It did blow us away on numerous levels however. How many times can you analyze something? Apparently there is not end to what can be said about a piece of clothing, a simple hand gesture or a sneeze. Now, for those of you who live in the U.S., I can greatly appreciate the information fatigue factor as even I experienced that towards the end of our time. I do miss having access to MSNBC on our cable here. CNN gets wearisome and the International coverage isn't the same as the U.S. based. Our other option is BBC World which is a good alternative to American news in general.
I have decided that I need to write about my thoughts and perspectives as this election draws near. I am so troubled by so many things that I actually didn't sleep very well last night. I've decided that reading the newspaper and watching the news are NOT good sleepy time activities. There is much to be anxious about these days and the solutions are not obviously forthcoming.
To be fair to those of you who don't know me well but still read my blog, a thought that brings me great humility by the way, you should know that I am a firm democrat. I am not a swing voter and my views are definitely left. And yes, I am also a Christian which is maybe why I feel so compelled to speak my thoughts into cyberspace. But while I am pretty grounded in what I think, I have made a concerted effort to try to understand where the other side is coming from. So far, I've been disappointed or just point blank disagree with their reasoning. We live in a world where all of us must be able to understand and interact with people who are totally different than we are. Gone are the days when homogenous groups will happily live their lives protected from difference. And I say thank God. God has given us a diverse world. We need to learn how to live in it and that means at least understanding that more than one world view exists even if we don't embrace it. It also means understanding that not everyone in our nation is living the American Dream and they are being slaughtered by policies that favor the wealthy. And to go one step further, our world does not share the American perspective. Swedes are very different than Americans and this is evidenced by their horrified amazement that half of all Americans actually want someone like McCain at the helm.
So I am going to attempt, through a series of blogs, to paint a picture of where I'm coming from. I welcome feedback and comments, but I will not stand for a lack of respect in comments. I am looking for a civil discourse among thoughtful people that I think is sadly missing from the American scene. I have Republican friends with whom I have had some good discussions. We sharply disagree but have been able to speak our minds with clarity and resolve and not resort to name calling in order to make our point. What saddens me most in all of this is that I don't see Christians being much different than the rest of society. WHY IS THAT? Perhaps that is the greatest question of all.