I’m working out in the basement the other day and I am concurrently watching MSNBC to distract myself from the fact that I am exercising.  During one of the many commercial breaks, an ad came on about the plight of the polar bears.  You know, a celebrity person speaking dramatically over pictures of precious polar bear cubs frolicking with their precious polar bear mommy.  The type of music and the tone of voice of the actress led me to infer that I should be very concerned…in fact, it seemed that the situation was quite dire and required my immediate attention.  The very lives of these polar bears was apparently in my hands.  At that moment, something occurred to me.  In fact, you might even call it an epiphany.  It seems I could not work up one ounce of passion or moral outrage for these poor polar bears.  Here I am, a good card-carrying, tree-hugging, peace and love swearing liberal and I did NOT care about those poor little polar bears.  I mean, look at them; they are adorable. Cute_polar_bear

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think we should go around randomly slaughtering polar bears.  They are some of God’s creatures and we should respect them as such.  However, the inference of the ad suggested that this was an issue of grave importance and should be treated as a top priority in the allocation of our resources.  I just couldn’t get that excited about it.  If I have $100 and I have to decide how to spend it in saving the world, polar bears are going to be pretty low on my list.  Obviously, that is a pretty simplistic assessment of the issue, but you get my point.

For the record, in terms of “liberal” stereotypes:

  • I personally think we better get busy drilling for oil wherever we need to do so WHILE we are developing alternative fuels; we need to do EVERYTHING we can to end our dependence on foreign oil.  So…drill, baby, drill!
  • I both oppose this war AND love and support our soldiers.  When I see a person in an armed services uniform, I go up to them, look them in the eye, and personally thank them for their service.
  • I am not willing to give up my SUV as long as I can have the opportunity to stuff 7 teenage girls into the back of my car on the way back from the Homecoming dance and listen to them giggling and talking about the evening.  I can afford to pay for the gas.  Consider it my part in stimulating the economy.
  • I could care less how much money the RNC spent on Sarah Palin’s clothes.  I would love to have whoever is dressing her take me shopping….she has been wearing some awesome outfits!  Girlfriend, I don’t much like your politics, but I applaud your right to look fabulous while you are doing your job as chief name-caller for the Republican party.  Fair or not, a woman has to “dress for success” if she is going to be taken seriously as a potential leader of the free world.  So, you go girl!
  • Lastly, and much more seriously, I think abortion is one of the saddest symptoms of our “live for the moment, damn the consequences, throw it away” society.  It is a heartbreaking decision for a woman to make and noone is “pro-abortion.”  I am pro-life, in spite of the fact that I don’t think criminalizing abortion is the appropriate solution.  A consistent ethic of life, in my opinion, also includes issues surrounding hunger, healthcare and the death penalty.

So, what is my point?  People should not be put in little boxes and labeled.  My decision to support Senator Obama’s bid for the presidency does not mean that you can check off every box next to some person’s definition of the label “liberal” if you are describing who I am.  Human beings are much more complicated than any particular label would imply and labels are almost always dismissive, discounting and disrespectful.  When I first started blogging, I wrote about the us vs. them mentality that is so pervasive in both the political world and, sadly, in the church.  That was in 2005 and I’m afraid it hasn’t changed much since then.  The current name-calling….specifically the labels of “terrorist” and “socialist”…do nothing to raise the level of political discourse.  It just gives the media something to talk about.  I can’t believe that the offensive robo-calls that we have been receiving are winning any votes for the party financing them.

I had lunch the other day with 4 of my Christian sisters and, as might be expected, the discussion turned to politics.  All 5 of us are planning to vote for Senator Obama, for a variety of reasons.  One thing that we all had in common was the experience of having to defend ourselves against the accusation/ question of “how could we call ourselves a Christian and vote for someone who was pro-abortion?”  We talked about how we answered that question and why we felt that Senator Obama does represent the best choice, FOR US, in terms of the values that we believe are central to our Christian faith.  Each of these women deeply loves Jesus and tries on a daily basis to follow Him.  They believe that they are both voting their conscience AND voting as an outpouring and an expression of their faith. It angers me that anyone would question their faith because of their political choices.  I applaud their right to make their choices and I applaud John McCain’s supporters’ right to do the same. I pray that by the next election, Christians will indeed realize that God is not a Republican or a Democrat.  God is definitely too big for any label of this world!

As I have mentioned before, my husband and I generally cancel out each other’s vote.  This year will be no different, yet we agree on many more issues than we disagree.  He doesn’t completely fit the “conservative” label, anymore than I completely live up to the “liberal” label….although we have a good time joking about it.  Our voting will be a reflection of our opinions about the most serious issues facing this country and our beliefs about the best approach to solving those problems.  In these difficult times, it is important to remember that voting is a great privilege and responsibility.  We must vote prayerfully and with a sense of gratitude for the right to do so…a right that many people in this world do not enjoy.

One more “confession from a part-time liberal”….I wore a mink coat to a fancy event the other night!  It was my grandmother LaVon’s coat and her name is embroidered in the lining.  She loved a party and she would just love to have seen me in it.  While I would not wear a polar bear coat, I do not care much about minks either…in fact, if I am not mistaken, minks are rather rat-like, aren’t they?  If Mink I had to only save one, I would choose the polar bear. These particular minks (is that the plural of mink?) had probably been dead for 30 or 40 years anyway!!  You will be glad to know that there were none of those annoying “liberal” types there to throw paint on me 🙂