Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day at Last! (Peace and Quiet Hereafter?)

Well, as of this moment, three of the four registered voters in our household have already voted. The polls in Arizona opened at 6 a.m., and we arrived shortly thereafter to get in line. My wife's was the seventh vote cast in our precinct; our eldest daughter's the ninth vote, and my ballot was the tenth to be cast. The change of address (made on-line) for one of our daughters didn't go through, apparently. They offered her a provisional ballot, but I said I'd take her to our old precinct, and see if she is still on the rolls there. If she is, great - she can vote there. Otherwise, we'll go back to the first polling place, and let her cast a provisional ballot. The line of people who wanted to vote had grown three or four times in length during the 20 minutes or so we were actually present at the polls. It's going to be an interesting day...

It's too late to be of any help, but I just found a web site that lists all of the non-major-party candidates for the Presidency. Well, it's interesting to read! You can find the list here.

Richard Viguerie, the man who raised direct-mail political contact and fund-raising to an art form with the election of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States, was interviewed by Bill Moyers for a segment of the program Now; the interview was shown yesterday on our local PBS station. He said something interesting: the battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party begins on November 3rd. As he described it, this struggle between the conservatives and the "neo-cons" will take place regardless of the outcome of the election taking place today. His remarks touched on the distinction he finds between the "conservative movement" that arose with the nomination of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater as the Republican Party's candidate for President in 1964, and the "neo-conservative movement" that has more recently directed policies and events in the Republican Party. I mention this in part because my semi-random surfing of news and discussion on the elections has brought me to a seven-part series on the transformation of the conservative movement, and the possibility for the establishment of a fascist-style government in the United States. I've only read the first part; but the information presented, and some of the links, make interesting reading. Here is a link to the seventh part of the series, "It Can Happen Here," with links to the first six parts above it. Oh, and if you want to have some "fun" with the topic, there's a quiz you can take: "Are You a Neoconservative?" The four categories of the quiz are "Isolationist," "Liberal," "Realist," and "Neoconservative." This will probably come as a shock to some of you who know me, but, of the four, I was a "Liberal!" I'm doing more research now to determine if this is a "good" thing... Anyway, given the earlier threads regarding persecution, I want to finish the series mentioned above about fascism in America. I'll report back later if there's anything worth discussing. I suspect there will be, as, in an introductory piece, the author wrote,
But after awhile, even an honest conservative will have to start wondering just what George Bush has to offer, other than an ability to attack his opponent. And he might even start to notice that Bush and the "conservative movement" aren't really all that conservative. At least, not the kind of conservative that I used to know.

Do the labels "liberal" or "conservative" even apply in the Orthodox realm? I'm not asking this question to set up a response -- it is genuinely and sincerely put on the table for discussion here. I don't have a preconceived notion. In part, this is because of the tension that exists between who I am now, and who I was before I became Orthodox -- in other words, the cultural legacy/baggage I bring to my life in the faith; and the tension that comes from being a citizen of both the Kingdom of heaven and of an earthly polity. If nothing else, this election cycle has brought these questions to the conscious level in a way I've never before experienced; and in a way that impels me to consider them, nto only for myself, but also in my capacity as a "public figure" -- as a priest, called to be (and accountable before God and my hierarch and peers) as an example for the people of God. Well, your observations and comments are obviously invited on this point!

If I don't stop here, this could ramble on for a long time; and there are some things to do before I leave to pick up the last voter in our household... So, that's all for now!