This seems like a good time to remind my readers that this blog contains only my own personal thoughts. Nothing written here should be considered the opinions of Saint Paul’s in Foley, the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, or The Episcopal Church.
Like Dean Young, his hero, Judge Roy Moore, and his favorite Senator, Ted Cruz, I believe that America is at a crossroads. The Mainstream media seems to believe this as well, and so what we hear reported from Washington DC is a battle between one of two foregone conclusions about the future of America. From the Tea Party side, the fear seems to be that America is headed toward a Muslim Communist Theocracy. From the extreme left there is a concern that radicalized conservative Christians will somehow create a nation in which only born again disciples of the Lord Jesus, who can fully subscribe to a detailed list of doctrinal statements will be able to own property or vote. It really is amazing how in 12 years, the horror of 9/11 has become so internalized that religious extremism is no longer only to be feared from without, but it has been subsumed as a political rallying cry on both extremes.
I don’t buy either of these competing visions. Instead, I think America is at a crossroads between allowing one of these extreme views to dictate the future of our great nation or empowering what I still believe is the majority of Americans who sit somewhere in the middle, to speak up, to encourage healthy debate and conversation, and to ensure some level of bipartisan agreement on the major issues that our nation faces.
I am, for all intents and purposes, a fence sitter. I’m fiscally conservative. I’m socially liberal. What I believe to be a biblical mandate to support the vulnerable (the poor, widows, orphans, etc.) tends to override my fiscal conservativeness. In the end, I probably sit just to the left of center. In 2000, my first Presidential election, I voted for George Bush. I did the same in 2004, in the hopes of a flat tax and the opportunity to privatize a portion of Social Security. In 2008, I voted for Barack Obama because he used words like sacrifice and cooperation. In 2012, I voted for him again, but only as the lesser of two evils.
I’m pretty much a middle of the road kind of guy, living in one of the most conservative districts in America, and so tomorrow I’ll vote for Bradley Byrne in the hopes that Alabama District 1 might send some level of normalcy to Washington. I want my representative to believe that America has a future based on the fullness of what we have to offer, not one particular worldview and the other 80% of Americans be damned. I want my Congressman to understand how to work with others, how to play the game, how to get stuff done. I want a good Episcopalian in Washington, one who maybe doesn’t agree with everything his Church says or does, but who knows that in the end, the Church is about building the Kingdom of God, not silly doctrinal squabbles.
I know that whoever wins tomorrow’s run-off is presumed to beat out Democratic nominee, Burton LeFlore, and so I know how important tomorrow’s vote is. If you are in Alabama District 1, I encourage you to vote tomorrow, whether you want to vote for Dean Young or Bradley Byrne, but tomorrow, I will vote for Bradley Byrne.