One of the ways that we know know the brokenness of our political system is what happens when someone stands in support of one candidate or another. For some reason, we seem to understand a public endorsement as a reason to disrespect and devalue the person who shared the opinion. Let me say that this happens on both sides. Who is doing the disrespecting and devaluing is usually determined by who is most desperate. This week, I have seen two examples of this brokenness that has played out in shameful ways.
First, an American hero, Colin Powell, endorsed Barack Obama. Following the endorsement, the discrediting began.
The second instance is even more interesting, though. Alan Hirsch is theologian/missiologist/church planter/speaker. Hirsch has an interesting perspective as one who grew up in South Africa, practiced ministry in Australia for most of his life, and now travels the world (mostly in the USA) speaking and inspiring the church for focused mission and outreach. The other day, Hirsch set off a mild forest fire by saying that he (if he could) would choose Obama over McCain.
One of his stronger points was that America, even with the baggage that we have, is in position to show the best of who it is to the world. His suggestion was that most of the European nations have so much baggage that it is not even possible for them to show the best of who they are. Basically, Hirsch’s “endorsement” of Obama is based in diplomacy and vision casting for the world. In our global situation, that’s not a bad argument.
Of course, no insightful comment goes unpunished in this winner takes all affair of American politics. When I read the blog post, I was pretty sure that Hirsch had no idea what he was getting himself into. Now, he does. He has posted a second comentary that deals specifically with how people have responded to his thoughts. I commend it to you. It’s an interesting read. Perhaps we can learn from these comments from a South African/Australian/American.