Friday, August 29, 2008

Television: Great Sleuthing, Part 2

In 2001 and 2002, A&E conducted an experiment of sorts airing a series adapting Rex Stout’s mysteries. They followed the trend of other current literary adaptations of detective stories by staying slavishly close to the original material, and in that sense it is a joy to see beloved stories get a true representation. It is also a great series to introduce people to the works of Rex Stout who are not familiar with them. For one thing, it can make following the story easier, since Stout never bothered to baby his readers. On the other hand, the show doesn’t spoon feed the plot to the viewer either, so it might just drive people to read the books in hopes of making more sense of some of the more complicated plots. Purchases of the books since the series airing, confirms this deduction.


The other joy of seeing the books adapted to the screen is seeing the banter and dialogue played out. The way these characters talk and think is just cool. It makes you wish that people in real life could compose their dialogue and arguments as a writer does instead of living on the fly.


Perhaps the most interesting novelty of “A Nero Wolfe Mystery” is the repertory theater approach they took to casting the show. In addition to the regular repeating characters, they used a stable of actors over and over again for the supporting characters. So you see the same faces playing new and different characters from week to week. At times you even see the same actor playing more than one part in the same episode!


If you are familiar with Nero Wolfe’s cases, this series is a must see. If not it is still a show worth seeing. With all the disposable shows and programming being aired in today’s world of hundreds of channels, this product of a smaller cable channel is a little gem.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Life or Death.

It is the most important philosophical, political issue of our time, and yet terminology, catchphrases, and arguments have relegated it into a “merely” religious issue that takes the back burner to things such as economic prosperity and national security. Sure, those and other issues are important too, just not as fundamentally crucial to our culture.

Pro-choice vs. Anti-abortion… or is it Pro-abortion vs. Pro-life? The argument has become asinine. Everyone says, “I am not pro-abortion, but I do not have the right to impose my morals on anyone else. I am pro-choice.” Even on the conservative side of the argument, people have abandoned the pro-life idea. The argument now is that Roe vs. Wade should be abolished so that individual states can decide whether or not to allow legal abortions. Nonsense.

The reasons that abortion is the single most important issue of our day are two: individual rights and the cultural attitude toward life.

The Declaration of Independence of the United States, upon which the founders of that country based their right to form their government, states that all people have the unalienable right to life, and that governments are instituted to protect this right. The rights of an individual to live should not be abandoned simply because the person cannot yet protest or defend itself. In the relation between a woman and her doctor a third individual is being forgotten.

The other issue has even greater implications. Will we maintain a culture of life or evolve into a culture of death? Once decisions are made by governments as to who deserves protection in one segment of society, why stop? Should mentally retarded people be allowed to live? What about the handicapped? Or the old and terminally ill? Why preserve life in cases where society cannot imagine that life to be fulfilling? Why pay to keep people alive if they are simply going to die anyway?

Once government starts to decide what a “good life” is and eliminate those suffering a less than ideal one, there is no intellectually honest reason to stop. Science has tried before to declare certain segments of society more worthy of life than others and it was recognized as evil then. When will society come to its senses now? Will it?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Under the Bed

The first clue I got that
The monster was there
Was when the bed shifted a notch.
Then as I thought
I had only been dreaming
From under the bed came a cough.
The cough turned to choking
And hacking and wheezing
And soon a gurgle rose from below.
Boy, was I glad that
I left out my Teddy
Stuffed full of old chicken bones.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Would You Believe..."

There was a running gag on the spy show, “Get Smart.” It went something like this:

“You think you have me now, but you are surrounded by the force of Control!”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“Would you believe ten agents?”
“No.”
“How about a canine officer and his dog?”

That is the first thing that comes to mind when reading reviews of the new book: “ A Plausible God” by Mitchell Silver. (Mohler’s blog review, by the way, is a good thought provoking read.) The fact is that a lot of theologians and people in ministry today have seen their job of engaging the culture become a lot like Maxwell Smart trying to back-peddle his way out of a tight spot.

“Did you know that there is a personal God who created you and wants to have a relationship with you?”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“Would you believe an all powerful creative force?”
“No.”
“How about an energy that wants you to expand your influence and have success?”

NonModern and others have tried for years to engage people by pointing out the bits of truth found everywhere in culture that can lead people into thoughts about God as He is presented in the pages of Scripture. The danger is when the Scripture part of that endeavor gets left out and a “new” version of the Gospel…a plausible gospel with a plausible god is created. It may be easier for people to accept this version of a supernatural and ethical living, but it won’t do them any good.

The fact is that God is. He is not plausible. He just is whether you believe in Him or not. Don’t water down who God is or what He demands in an effort to make Him palatable. 

Monday, August 25, 2008

Acts: Everyone Heard (19:9,10)

All who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” –Acts 19:10
This is an amazing verse, especially for those reading the book of Acts in the context of its missional instruction. How did everyone living in the province of Asia in Paul’s day hear the Gospel? What methods did the missionaries (Paul and his associates) use?
 
It might be helpful to think first of all about the methods that they did not use. They did not do door to door. They did not do tract distribution, gospel distribution, or the Jesus film. They held no evangelistic rallies or revivals. Paul was a tent-maker, but there is no mention of him holding tent meetings.
 
What Paul did do was meet regularly (daily) with his disciples and those who were interested and taught them his message. He started with the twelve disciples of John he had encountered and the followers he had raised teaching in the synagogue for three months. In all probability this was not a huge group of people. It was certainly not every Jew and Greek in the province of Asia.
 
The way the massage of the Gospel reached every person in the region through mere teaching was that Paul did not teach as most people think of teaching today. It was no theoretical class. The message of the Gospel is life changing and Paul’s teaching compelled people into action. This was obedience discipleship. The students practiced what they learned. As a result the message spread from city to city and household to household.
 
Not everyone accepted the Gospel through this ministry, though many did. This became a center of Christianity for its day. However many did become Christians, the Bible tells us that everyone had a chance to hear.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The House Without a Key

The key to Charlie Chan’s success as a literary sleuth is supposed to be race. Written during the golden age of crime fiction, the mere six books spawned several movies and television appearances. However, the books do not have the same feel as other detective stories of the day. They really come across as more of an adventure/travelogue mixed with a crime as almost an afterthought. Chan is not the main character, and not the focus of the investigative narrative. In his first book, he does not even appear until several chapters in, and he is a very minor character. The distinguishing feature, then, is the fact that he is Chinese.

That is indeed a part of the charm to Earl Derr Biggers’ books. He wrote his books more to describe the exotic locales and cultures than to present a crime puzzle. The resolution and revelation at the end of House is almost laughable for detective fiction.

Chan himself, however, is a fascinating figure. He keeps his real thoughts close and is a smart detective, just not as showy as most readers are used to. The two-person team formula of detective fiction is adapted. Chan is teamed up with a young hero, forced to engage in sleuthing as an amateur. In House, the hero’s investigation and Chan’s run parallel, and both appear to solve it around the same time; Chan through detection while young John’s is pure dumb luck. In this book, both skill and luck seem to work equally as well.

It would be nice to get more of a glimpse into the methods and thoughts of Charlie Chan, but then again that may ruin the overall effect. There is something in the fact that such a minor character has such a huge effect on the events of the story. Even those with a small role to play are important to the plans of the author.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Top Films: Babe

Babe is a wonderful little fairy-tale about not letting perceptions, or the way things have always been, keep you from following your dreams. The story is about a little pig—won in a raffle—raised on a farm—intended for Christmas dinner—becoming a champion sheep dog.

This movie is perfectly charming. The pig works well as a lead, (it isn’t this first time fiction has turned to pigs, perhaps mice are the only animal more often used as heroes) and is hilarious acting like a dog. The duck and the mice are highlights as well. But perhaps the real gem is the performance by James Cromwell, as the main human in an almost all animal cast. A largely understated performance, when he sings and dances to get Babe out of his depression…he almost steals the movie.

Seen as a commentary on race relations and the silliness of racism, it really works. The dogs in the movie never stop to think about the sheep as anything more than things. Babe comes on the scene completely innocent and never questions the idea of simply talking to the sheep. As a result, he has no need to drive the herd. He simply asks them politely and they do as he asks.

On the other hand, seen as a commentary on the advisability of using innocence and naiveté in addressing the worlds problems of war and international relations, it falls apart when you realize that part 3 “Babe, King of the Jungle” was never made because the Lion pride kept eating the piglets before any scenes could be shot.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vacuously Bright

From the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 4th Edition:

Brilliant adj 1 very bright; sparkling 2 (a) very intelligent; highly skilled or talented (b) causing admiration; outstanding; exceptional

Naïve adj …2 (esp derog) (a) too ready to believe what one is told; credulous (b) showing lack of experience, wisdom or judgment

Highly intelligent people are not necessarily smart. The problem is that there are a lot of nuances of “intelligence.” Just because someone has the highly capable brain function to do well on tests, or to score highly on an I.Q. apparatus, does not mean they operate wisely in the real world. Case in point:

A certain red-headed kid who was one of the highest I.Q.s to ever attend Sweetwater Middle School used that intelligence to break into the school computer system, but then proceeded to royally screw it up. (This same kid—the first time he ever got into a fifteen passenger van—famously shut the door on his own head.)

Many seemingly book-smart people have a hard time with “social intelligence.” They cannot function within basic societal-cultural norms of relationships. The typical “geek” or “nerd” stereotype is more defined by their slow social development relative to their less intelligent peers than they are by their brain power.

However, more important than common sense or social awareness is the ability to think. Thinking is a skill that is developed and improved with practice. Far too many people simply do not think nowadays. The worst part of innately “smart” people is that they think their natural abilities suffice and they feel no need to develop their gifts through habitual thinking.

Rather than read the latest book on the market about how to live a better life or how to do church better, perhaps Christians should spend more time meditating on Scripture and reading the classic thinkers from Christian history. Anyone from Augustine to Lewis would do.

Of course, this issue is also important to secular culture as well. One need look no further than the assumed greatest political figure of our day to see a perfect example of Naïve Brilliance.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Competition

Here is a list of “sports” that should be removed from the Summer Olympics and/or re-categorized into “athletic arts” or “really difficult disciplines.”:
 
Diving
 
Synchronized Swimming
 
Gymnastics (Artistic, Rhythmic, and Trampoline)
 
It’s not that these activities are not challenging. They are some of the hardest athletic activities out there. It is not that they are boring. It is incredible to watch people doing some of these things.
 
The problem is that these competitive activities depend on judges to determine who the better competitor was.
 
If the essence of the Olympics (or any sport) is for athletes to come together and perform a discipline to see who the best athlete is that day, and awards are going to be given, then there needs to be objective means by which to determine the victor.
 
Most sports have a set of rules and an objective that is achieved by one individual or team better than the opponent; more goals, baskets, touchdowns, points, or a finish line that is crossed first. When these sports have two people achieve the same result, they have a predetermined way to break the tie, or they award the same prize to the athletes that achieve the same result.
 
The problem with the above listed “events” is that there is no objective measurement of achievement. Instead a group of “experts” observe the various participants and then subjectively award points for achievement, artistic merit, and lack of mistakes. The way to fix this problem would be to assign the exact same dive or routine to all participants and compare apples to apples on the given day.
 
Until that happens, get rid of these subjective contests and put Tug of War and Croquet back in.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Acts: Apollos and John's Disciples (18:23-19:7)

There is a disturbing trend in church life today. People are uncomfortable about doctrine. The feeling seems to come from the desire for harmony and unity in the Church at large, and that is a good thing to want. However, if it is achieved at the expense of truth then it is a unity bought at too high a price.
 
What is the point of sacrificing truth for unity when the Truth is the only reason the Church has to exist?
 
Here in Acts, we are shown two instances where believers were encountered by Paul and his associates who had an imperfect understanding of the Gospel. The approach in both cases was to clarify and teach complete doctrine. In Apollos case, this was done in private and not as a public attack. Later on, there were typical “divisions” in the Corinthian church, not based on doctrine but on the teaching styles of Paul and Apollos. (So, clearly, we do not need teaching to divide us.)
 
On the mission field, there is always cooperation between people from different denominational backgrounds. The problem arises—both on the field and back home—when this desire to work together dictates that we avoid teaching key issues of the faith. Or perhaps more importantly today, when unity demands that we add things to Scripture, we sacrifice truth so we can feel good.
 
Sometimes we must agree to disagree. The fact is, where there is competition among churches and denominations, the Church is strengthened. In places where all the Christians and churches meet and work together on everything, there is little to no growth.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Apples to Apples?

History doesn’t really repeat itself. People just make comparisons between the present and what has gone before, and there are similarities. Learning from the past is important but difficult because of faulty memories and biased interpretations. More often the past is used for justification.

For example, this week Russia is attempting to deflect criticism of its invasion of Georgia by creating a moral equivalence to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Regardless of the justifications for either invasion, one must ask: are the two events really similar?

Here are the bare facts:

South Ossetia is a region of Georgia that has tried to secede from the country for over a decade. On August 7, 2008, Russia invaded the region claiming that it was interested in protecting Russian citizens who live in the area.

Iraq spent the nineties under a conditional cease-fire dependant on their cooperation with the United Nations. In 2003, multiple countries, led by the United States, invaded the country to remove the governing forces, thereby enforcing United Nations Security Council resolution 1441.

The merits of both invasions can be debated endlessly. The attempt here is not to judge either action, but rather to compare them. Russia’s attempt to justify its invasion by comparing it to the 2003 invasion of Iraq doesn’t work because there is little similarity.

If Russia is looking to history for an historic precedent, perhaps it should look to Germany’s 1938 invasion of the Sudetenland. The claimed reason for both invasions is exactly the same. Then again, they would have a hard time deflecting criticism by appealing to that event.

Here’s hoping history is not repeating itself this time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

God's Love in Humanity

To be human is to be what God intended humanity to be. Anything less is to fall short of humanity. Of course, all have fallen short of what humanity is intended to be. All people are sinners, and this takes away from their humanity. Sin, although a part of every human’s life since Adam save one, is not a natural part of true humanity. This is why the first step to being more human is to encounter Christ at the cross. It is at the cross where a man becomes human.

How does a “real” human act? Two things characterize the human: a love for God, and a love for fellow humanity. Love for God is expressed in obedience. Jesus Christ said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15).” A life of submission to God is crucial to being human as God intended. Jesus is the best life to look at to see what true humanity is like. He was the only man to ever achieve a life as God intended. Even though He Himself was God, He submitted His life totally to the will of the Father.

The other side of humanity is tied into how man treats his fellow man. Without love for each other, people fall short of the humanity God intended. Humanity was created to be in community. It is possible that this is what being created in the image of God is about in part. God is Trinity, a community within the God-head. Humanity is incomplete in the singular. God said in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for the man to be alone...” When God created Eve it was not an afterthought. The only reason man was created first and made to live alone was so that he would see his need for companionship.

Humanity as God intended it to be is summed up in the declaration of Jesus “‘You shall love the lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. "The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets (Matt. 22:37-40).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Love of God

There's a wideness in God's mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God

“The Love of God” –Rich Mullins

The most defining attribute of God is hard to pinpoint. There are so many to choose from. Many would say it is His righteousness, His faithfulness, or His unchanging nature. A lot of people would assume that God’s Holiness is His most defining characteristic, but it is not.

Defining God in light of His Holiness is like defining apples as being apple-like. The fact that God is holy means that God is set apart, different from anything else. This does not help humanity to understand what he is like. It simply shows that He is different.

To understand God from the Human vantage point is to see Him through another attribute. His love. God is love. This is the most defining attribute of God. It describes His relation to His creation.

God’s love explains how a righteous God can forgive sinners. It shows how an all-sufficient God can desire worship and relationship. It reveals how an immutable God can suffer and long after the lost.

Jesus Christ in His life on Earth showed the world God’s most defining attribute. He showed His love in His ministry to the disadvantaged. It was His love that led Him to the cross to die for the sins of the world.

It was God’s love that Jesus commanded Christians to have for each other as their defining characteristic. God’s love is the attribute that, communicated among Christians makes them different from the world. It sets them apart.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Muscle Trouble

I had a pail,
Full of snails.
I found them in the yard.
And last night,
I put them on my dresser,
Next to my model car.

But, I guess,
I should’ve put,
A lid on that pail of snails.
‘Cause this morning,
They’re all gone,
And my room sure does smell.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Acts: Short-Term Trips (18:18-23)

For whatever reason, after over a year of success and protection in Corinth, Paul’s second missionary effort came to an end. He headed back to his home church, apparently to touch base and prepare for another departure. On the way he accompanied Priscilla and Aquila to Ephesus where they stayed. He spent a short time there and, as always, he shared the Gospel message with the Jews. They asked him to stay. He declined but promised to return.
 
Even today, this is a common positive effect of short-term “mission trips.”
 
Used in strategic ways, volunteers can be effective in places where they stay for a short period, but things largely depend on a long term presence of people who will prepare for and follow up on the efforts of the volunteers.
 
In the past, Missionaries complained about volunteer groups. They seem to always either: require baby-sitting, or else they experience false and hyped up results that cause them to question the need for long term efforts. Latin America in particular is known for the “American” effect. Basically, they will always answer yes to any question posed by an American, especially if said American is giving anything away.
 
Today, volunteer groups are seen as a huge strategic asset. However, perhaps the biggest positive effect of short trips is the way the volunteers are impacted. The percentage of new career missionaries who have never had any prior international mission experience is small and shrinking.
 
Paul’s visit to Ephesus resulted in him returning for a multiple year stay. The moral: beware of short-term mission trips. They may change you more than you change the world!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Yes, Lord

(A few more thoughts on the issue of “The Call.”)

There are a few assumptions (whoops… presuppositions) that inform the Nonmodern understanding of The Call of God:

1. The main theme of Scripture (and God’s main effort in history) revolves around God’s plan to save the nations.

2. Once a person is saved, they are only left in this fallen and painful world to advance God’s redeeming plan.

3. Every Christian has a part to play in bringing the nations back to God.

As stated in an earlier post, most people’s idea of a call from God is understood to be like Paul’s Macedonian call, or maybe His Damascus road experience. In fact it tends to be more like the call for Abram to leave his home for a place that God would show him. In that sense it is very much like the call that every single Christian has received—whether they have responded or not.

The Genesis 12 call is quite simply the call to follow and trust God. In that sense it is the call of the Christian walk, the process where we learn to hear God’s voice and follow. It is a call to trust His plan. “Go where I lead you.” For some that may be onto the mission field, but for everyone it impacts the mission in some way.

Another important (and universal) call is seen in Isaiah 6. In this account we see Isaiah “overhearing” God asking Himself whom He should send. Isaiah doesn’t even know what the task is going to be, but he answers appropriately, “Send me!” In Genesis, God asks us to follow His lead without knowing where we will end up; here He asks us to take on a task without knowing what we will be doing. God’s call must always be answered with blind faith.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Racism

One of the many deficiencies of the human mind is the Assumption. We all assume, but the question is how much do we live our lives and create our worldview based on mere assumptions? One of the worst assumptions that has plagued humanity forever is the one that says that people who look different from us are not only different, but deficient in some way. It is called racism and everyone is potentially a racist in the making. It is a huge problem even today despite all the advances that have been made in race relations. Ideally we would never assume anything about anyone based merely on the way they look anymore.

It is not as easy as it sounds. Personally, if I am walking down the street and see a group of teens approaching, clothed all in black, with shaved heads and carrying baseball bats—I’m crossing the street. It is an unfair assumption to think, even in the part of Germany where I live, that they are a bunch of Neo-Nazis looking for trouble. They might just be a baseball team that has a black uniform and have shaved their heads in a move of mutual support. Still… better safe than sorry.

As with everything else, rational thought has been taken out of the discussion when it comes to race. Two mere assumptions have become accepted fact. The first is that all “white” people are racist. The other is that no “black” people are ever racist. If a white person attacks Obama’s policies and ideas, they must be racist. On the other hand, how is it not racism when a large percent of blacks say they are going to vote for him because of the color of his skin?

Ducking for cover as I post…

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Backup

Jeb pushed the lever, heard the familiar swoosh,
Then felt the air rushing past his ears.
He loved to flush his super-duper, heavy-duty toilet,
He’d got for Christmas only just last year.

But today the swoosh was just a little weaker than the norm’
And a gurgle rose up from within the pipes’
And as the pressure built up from deep beneath the house,
The toilet moaned and Jeb exclaimed, “Oh Yipes!”

He knew the worst had come when the water hit his backside,
As he squatted before the toilet half upright,
And as the water entered down his half pulled up trousers,
Jeb saw passing before him his entire life.

His cowboy hat flew off next, and his boots filled to the rims,
And the water flew right past him out the door,
And as it rose up towards the ceiling he started hydroplaning,
Right across the white tile bathroom floor.

That was about five hours ago, and I haven’t heard a thing since.
I suppose he’s still sliding down the street.
I guess I’ll have to take the pick-up and follow the trail of water,
And see if I can’t bring him back in one piece.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

X, I Wanted To Believe

No, it really isn’t that bad. Just not as great as the show was and the film could have been. It could pass for a middle of the pack two-parter of the show. In all of its many components it is classic X Files:

Dark. Check

Mysterious. Check

Plenty of gross medical stuff. Check.

Disturbingly creepy bad guys. Check.

Mulder’s sarcastic wit. Check.

Actually, it was incredibly pleasing in some surprising ways. The series was almost as much about the relationship between the two main characters as it was about the unexplained events. It was one of the great (almost always platonic) friendship/ loves in TV history. And even though they were finally brought together at the end of the show’s run; there was a certain inevitability that the movie would show that they had drifted apart over the intervening years. Well, sorry for the spoiler here, but they take it in almost the opposite direction.

Another great element the show always dealt with was faith, both Mulder’s belief in anything outlandish; as well as Scully’s struggle with her faith in God in spite of her materialistic training. Faith is a big part of this films story and as always it is dealt with in a way that never belittles but always challenges.

The main disappointment (that seems to pervade the story so much as to almost ruin the whole movie), is the completely non-compelling monster of the week. The show has done this archetype before, and in a much better fashion. (One of the best episodes of the series actually, 5X06) Is no one getting sick and tired of the torture-porn, Saw-inspired, gross instead of scary brand of “horror” yet?

In the end, this one is worth at least one viewing for the fans, if only for a couple scenes between Scully and Mulder.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Acts: Corinth, Filling Out the Strategy (18:1-11)

Paul begins his time in Corinth having been run out of almost every town in which he had been. (We are never told why he left Athens, but one might wonder why so much attention has been given to the Athens strategy if it was only used in one town where so little lasting legacy was seen.) Regardless, Paul may have begun to feel a certain degree of discouragement. He even tells the Corinthians later that he had approached them with “fear and trembling.”
 
He stuck to his guns, however, and also to his strategy, beginning to share in the Synagogue. A couple of new aspects of Paul’s missionary strategy emerge in Corinth:
 
Time. While it is true that Paul did a lot of “short term” missions, this was usually due to circumstances beyond his control. Here, he is told by God that opposition will not harm him. (He is not promised that it will not exist.) As a result, he spends as much time as is needed to establish the work.
 
Partnerships. He joins other apparently Christian Jews already in Corinth who promise to be important partners for a long time to come.
 
Support. We are always reminded that Paul went bi-vocational when necessary. Here, however, he immediately does full-time ministry when the opportunity arises. Timothy and Silas bring support from churches Paul has started, freeing up Paul to minister all week long.
Missions today still require the same things: long term investment of time, teamwork and partnership in the effort, and workers who can devote the attention to the work instead of to where the next month’s rent will come from.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Personal Political Poop

Speaking purely from the perspective of someone in their mid-thirties, maybe this whole democracy is not all it is cracked up to be. It is sold as a system where everyone has a voice and everyone gets a say in how the government will be run. As it turns out, it is really more about trying to keep government out of your pocket and off your back and voting for the lesser of two evils.

Think about it… if you began voting in the nineties your first choice was between a liberal, smooth-talking, saxophone playing, boxer wearing, dope smoker (who didn’t inhale), who was really popular with the ladies and an incumbent who had (read my lips) raised taxes. Well, the prior guy won and proceeded to raise taxes, solve military issues on homosexuality by making silence a policy, and tried to get his wife to completely socialize medicine.

Next we got the chance to try and replace this “first black president” with a guy who wanted to drastically reduce taxes, but he was (at the time) the oldest candidate ever and always referred to himself in the third person.

Then came the great promise of the hope from Texas; a conservative who softened his message with compassion. He unbelievably had some serious competition from a man who to this day regularly promises the end of the world every 10 years or so, and who has been proven simply full of hot air. (Hmmm, maybe the source of global warming?) His first term was beginning to look like a waste of time trying to make political opponents happy until national security issues rendered anything else he could attempt back burner issues. The next election (2004) was a non-issue.

Today we again are faced with Sophie’s Choice: whom do you love? The republicans have put forward their most Democrat-like candidate available; who is also the new oldest-man-to-ever-run. He also seems to think the key to beating opposition is to not fight and to appear ever more irrelevant. Meanwhile the democrats have finally settled on a man whose qualifications and experience seem to consist of a few weeks in the senate, good looks, ability to read a speech, race, and a naiveté that comes across as hopeful innocence. If nothing else, could Europe vote, he would win hands down.

Why do we even do this every four years?

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