Tag Archives: elections

Election 2012: No Absolute Positions

By Blogger Chuck Redfern

Cue the off-key organ grinder monkey music. The postmodern circus has come to town, with Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich enrolled as the unlikely ring leaders. Step right up and watch them assert “traditional values” while twisting and bending the truth until it snaps. The political Left tries to join the circus but is no good at it, and journalists, truth’s supposed watch dogs, sleep at the door.

Postmodernism is a vague, multi-layered worldview born in the rubble of World War II and nurtured in the iconoclasm of the 1960s. Many of its adherents shun labels — including “postmodernism” — before arguing that our cultural and personal biases so cloud our vision that we cannot see reality. Our concept of “logic” is tethered to a Western-centered saga, or “meta-narrative,” and is really an excuse for our quest for world domination. Objective truth, if it exists at all, is unknowable. We grope with psychological and cultural cataracts. We’re like Clint Eastwood wandering through Alice’s Wonderland while reading the script for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly written on an Etch A Sketch. We can’t even interpret our interpretations — so please, let’s do away with religion’s moral absolutes. As Stanley Fish once said, “The trouble with principle is, first, it does not exist, and second, that nowadays many bad things are done in its name.”

Apparently, principled leaders like Frederick Douglass, Winston Churchill, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Aung San Suu Kyi and Desmond Tutu don’t count.

We can thank the postmodernists for dismantling some of the Enlightenment’s arrogance and applaud them for underscoring our intellectual and cultural hubris, but the baby howls as we lob the bath water: Rendering truth unknowable leaves us with nothing but pretense and posturing. Statements are not measured on their accuracy but on their marketability. We’re peddler’s pawns. The organ grinder drones as the ring leaders portray themselves as awe-shucking, wholesome, home-town boys: we loathe the clowns and lion tamers and acrobats. Trust us. We’re sincere.

Take Rick Santorum, the most unlikely living portrayal of Postmodernism’s flaw. The avid Catholic characterized President Obama as a “snob” because he supposedly wants “everybody in America to go to college.” But Obama actually said this: “Regardless of educational path after high school, all Americans should be prepared to enroll in at least one year of higher education or job training to better prepare our workforce for a 21st-century economy.” Santorum’s remedy to Obama’s “snobbery:” all should “have the opportunity to go to college or any other higher level of training skills.”

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A Pre-fab Candidate With Pre-fab Pronouncements for a Pre-fab Country

By Blogger Chuck Redfern

Let’s wag our fingers while we howl our hollow laughs: Mitt Romney is the focus group’s love child, the marketer’s political pin-up, the self-proclaimed experienced “leader” who displays mere salesmanship. He transforms like a shape-shifter on abortion and global warming and mouths opinion-poll platitudes: Obama is an appeaser, a socialist, a failed CEO. Romney, the contemporary synthetic candidate, trashes substantial and crucial argument like so many wads of waste paper. Who knows? He may ply his way into the White House like Jack Kennedy, who won the 1960 election because of a better make-up artist (lucky for us, he made a decent president).

Pin a polka-dot tie on him and put him in a used car lot.

Easy targets like Romney blind us to our murky secret: We, the supposedly innocent electorate, made him. The American character has sunk to such nihilistic depths that we prefer the marketer over the leader. We repeatedly vote in the dealers and peddlers and negative campaigners. We claim we want the truth but reward professional presidential candidates like Mitt Romney. We’ve laid the lot on which they hawk their jalopies, then complain they’ve sold us lemons.

Not to drill the point home or anything, but we get the people we vote for. We’re the problem. Romney is a symptom, not the disease.

We’d cultivate Joshua 1:6 if we wanted true leadership. God counsels Joshua: “Be strong and courageous” and repeats the call in verses 7, 9, and 18. Think of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader who walked alone in the face of soldiers aiming guns with shoot-to-kill orders in 1989. A major countermanded the order at the last moment and she lived – only to spend many subsequent years under house arrest. Think of Nelson Mandela and his 27-year prison stint or Mother Theresa in Calcutta’s slums. Or think of the heritage in Romney’s own party: Theodore Roosevelt bucked the special interests, busted huge trusts, and befriended the infant labor movement while cultivating a business-friendly environment; Thomas Dewey, who would eventually become one of the New York’s greatest governors, boldly walked through the city streets when he was a prosecutor, knowing mobsters had ordered a hit on him. Dewey lost the 1948 presidential election when he uncharacteristically withheld his views and tried to coast into the White House, but his influence played a crucial role in the formation of the moderate Eisenhower Republican.

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