Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech

As I wrote on my other blog, it's been hard for me to write about anything over the past two days other than the Blacksburg massacre. And I have nothing, really, to say—no new insights, no great wisdom, no fresh perspective. Just a reminder to continue to keep everyone affected by this tragedy in your prayers; the reality is probably just now beginning to set in. It's incredibly sad.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Let's Find a Better Yardstick

Dan Panorama, aka Benjy Sarlin, posted this yesterday on The Purple State ("Political Commentary from the Youth Vote"):
I really hate the old “gallon of milk” test. Why should someone who’s been a major politician the last fifteen years know the cost of milk or bread offhand? Do we expect him to be taking care of his food shopping; is that a major qualification for office? I don’t care whether or not the guy is buying his own groceries or carefully reading the receipts for them, he definitely won’t be if we elect him president.
He's referring to Giuliani, but the same litmus test has been used for decades to gauge whether a politician is in touch with the everyday lives of the average American. The first time or two a reporter (I wonder who was the first?) asked the question, I thought it was pretty clever and felt rather smug each time a politician stumbled over the answer. That was then. The question has since become tiresome and irrelevant.

Frankly, I don't care whether national-level politicians know the cost of a gallon of milk. Many of them don't live in our reality, but then, we don't live in theirs, either. I don't know how to get us out of the mess we've made in Iraq; give me a leader who does. We need that leader in the White House and not in the grocery store.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Oh...I Don't Know

This is one of those political issues that I need to hear a variety of opinions on: same-day voter registration. The ability to register to vote on Election Day has become one of those political hot buttons, with one side claiming that it increases the likelihood of voter participation and the other claiming that it increases the likelihood of voter fraud.

Call me crazy, but I have this long-held, take-to-my-grave belief that there are more than two sides to every issue. And I like hearing lots of different perspectives. I'd love to hear what you think about same-day voter registration—especially if you're from Minnesota, whose residents have had the freedom to register on Election Day for decades.

Here's a thought-provoking editorial from Bob Fenske, editor of the Forest City Summit in Iowa, a state that just approved same-day registration. He offers one of what I'm sure are many reasonable perspectives on the issue. Let me hear yours!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Let's See If This Works

Being the chronic news junkie I am and always will be, I'm testing out Blogger's Newsreel feature above. The jury's out. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Grace and "Central Sanity"

A big thanks to Pete Abel at Central Sanity ("Supporting the rebellion of reasonable people in an unreasonable world") for pointing readers to an excellent post on the lack of grace in politics by Dennis Sanders at NeoMugwump ("The rants, musings and stray thoughts of an independent-minded Republican").

Sanders writes that
Grace is so missing in American politics. There is not much sense of forgiveness or even humanity among the diehard partisans...I don’t know what has happened in American politics that people have taken politics so seriously that they hate those who don’t agree with them or consorted with the "enemy."
Some of us came to political independence for this very reason. We couldn't reconcile the lack of grace on the part of political partisans, both Democrats and Republicans, with their claim to speak for people of faith. And I don't mean just the politicians; I also mean partisan Christians who have never run for office but have taken politics so seriously that they spew venom toward the "enemy" and claim to have a lock on absolute political truth.

Thanks, Dennis, for a great Easter-season reminder of the need for grace in political life.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

What's Your Story?

Whether you're an independent or third-party voter, candidate, or observer, I'd like to hear your story and possibly include it in my next book: We, the Purple: Faith, Politics, and the Independent Voter. The research and interviewing I've already done for the book, which releases next year with Tyndale House, leads me to believe that there are lots of people out there with fascinating, and often horrifying, experiences in a political world in which their independent status poses a real threat to the two major parties.

If you're not convinced that the Republican and Democratic leadership—from the local to the national level—feels threatened, spend a few minutes listening to an independent or third-party candidate describe the roadblocks they face simply trying to get their name on the ballot. In some cases, what the major parties do to prevent that is nothing less than chilling.

So if you have a story to tell and you won't mind sharing it for publication, leave a post or email me. I'd love to hear what you have to say.