When its late October and you’re looking at the short end of the 7th inning with a tied score, if you’re a Boston Red Sox fan you know its time to step up to the plate and hit a home run if you have any chance of winning the series.
Tonight, I would have thought it important that Kerry remembered to practice before coming to the big game. He didn’t lose by any stretch of the imagination and in the early estimates of some of the pundits, folks are scoring it in Kerry’s favor. But even those who said that Kerry won aren’t scoring him by enough to strike the tie that almost inevitably falls in the favor of the incumbent. We needed a home run. I don’t think our guy delivered.
Clinton always said that the last word was the best word and when you’re fighting the incumbent it is critical to constantly stay on the offensive by being better prepared, better spoken, and better composed than the enemy. In this particular case, Kerry was all three, but not by the margins needed to ensure total success. I believe assuming that Bush’s preparation was going to continue to be mediocre, Kerry pushed in some more speaking appearances and states before coming into Arizona to bone up for the big game. This was the one about America. This is the one that counted. And I hope the spin machine falls in Kerry’s favor, because he sure didn’t do us any favors.
The other day I was talking to a guy about the campaign, a notably calm conversation because the guy was a card carrying member of the religious right. We talked about the debate, we talked about the war, we talked about economic policy until finally he came to the conclusion that the fundamental difference that existed between us was a spiritual one, not an ideological one. Being an individual clearly “without” spirit, I had to wholeheartedly disagree. But his belief in God so complete jaundiced the eyes with which he views the world that every issue from healthcare to homeland security is determined by which side of the Jesus fence you line up on. And he spoke very clearly that his fence was the only one on the side of Heaven.
Speaking with him, I had to marvel at the audacity of such a claim. The allegation most make about atheists is that we claim to “know it all;” that we have an answer for the way the universe works such that we don’t need faith to fill in any gaps. I would argue quite the opposite. What gives a person such arrogance to claim exclusive correctness of belief? What possesses a man to evangelism? What makes anyone think that their views are so greatly superior to anyone else’s that it is their duty out of love to persuade others to their cause?
As a armchair rhetorician, persuasive speech is a leisurely occupation with which I have great affinity. But even in my most drunken haze, I’m not so sure that I could elevate even my most lofty of ideas as the only ones that are pure or holy. Truth is only half the story with these folk, stopping not at merely being correct but implying that each decision they make comes from a divine hand.
He handed me his cell phone and said he had a gift. A gift of salvation; a gift that would help me make the only decision that would matter when I was dead.
I told him I never took anything that I didn’t earn and didn’t want anything I didn’t deserve. If that wasn’t good enough for God, I’m certainly not good enough for him.