Please Articulate

Senator Sam Brownback gave what Buzzmachine called a rather “God-fearing” announcement of his candidacy, but I don’t know why Jeff Jarvis decided to italicize every single remark of his that was an allusion to religion (click the link and read the post, it isn’t long, to see why I’m fussing about this).

I don’t know what Jarvis is trying to imply. He says Brownback is an enemy of the First Amendment. Is he saying that Brownback’s religious views make him hate the First Amendment? The earlier part of the post talks briefly about Senator Clinton’s announcement discussing some specific issues like the war in Iraq and deficits in outline. Is Jarvis trying to say that Brownback’s announcement is out of touch with the news, and thus out of touch with America generally? Or that he represents a side of America obsessed with the culture wars that cannot address any specific issue but only what it sees as a general malaise?

I don’t understand the criticism – if there is any – of Brownback. Look, I can criticize evangelicals. I think much of what they do is tacky and designed not to further thought but action, and I think they could be more respectful of the contemplative and the scholastic, and also do less navel-gazing through Bible study that seems to only concern their personal life or their sect’s role in history. OK Jeff? Those are criticisms. We’re adults here, so we try to articulate ourselves and say what we like and don’t like so other people can respond and we can have a dialogue.

I want stronger families, and a culture of commitment. I want a nation that’s willing to have a foreign policy (a sense of justice at home and abroad), and I’m happy if Americans see themselves as blessed. Yeah, I have my problems with Senator Brownback. But what he stands for is not some unreasonable, hopelessly out-of-touch thing, just because he doesn’t tell me the news over again in sound bites that are even less informative than the news. And while his rhetoric can be seen as a debased form of preaching, it can be viewed as working within that tradition, and appealing to something that we’ve lost (note: I don’t think I’m really defending Senator Brownback anymore, as much as a particular way of approaching politics).

Notice that I’m not putting Senator Clinton down. That’s not the point of media. The point of media is for us not to judge candidates by how they appear, but to take in the information they present, and to evaluate who they are and what they stand for as best as we can. If we emphasize appearance primarily, and the appeal to core voters (urbane vs. fundamentalist) as being the criteria with which a candidate stands or falls, how can we ever make an informed decision?

One needs to take in the information and decide for oneself, and try to move away from appearances and assumptions as far as possible. There is something refreshing about Brownback’s clarity, however crude it is. And no, I don’t see it as some automatically anti-homosexual agenda. I think one has to give him the benefit of the doubt, just as I’m going to give Hillary the benefit of the doubt on the largeness of her vision, and not assume automatically that she just wants power for power’s sake, and exists to victimize particular groups on the Left or Right. Some might see what I’m saying as naive, but I’d rather be naive and have a debate between two people with differing views on America than make up my mind every time a shiny new ad comes along.

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1 Comment

  1. Do you trust this performance blogging thingamabob? It seems a bit too good to be true. Then again, there isn’t any work involved. We’ll see!

    Yah, everything is fine, I’ll explain what I am attempting to do later. I’ll give you a call tonight. I may have to go get my MRI tonight though. I won’t know for sure till a little later.


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