The Faithnetworker Newsletter
Vol. 5. No. 4, October 17, 2004
Cool Scripture Cite
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness,
how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything,
except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the
world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden." (Matthew 5:13-14)
Hot Internet Site
Register to Vote http://www.eac.gov/
Alternatives to Voting Mark Sibley Jones
Ronald Reagan warned against the "Evil Empire" of communism;
George W. Bush refers to terrorism as the "Axis of Evil." Yet
another political evil is threatening the peace: voter consternation.
Political scientists maintain that the two-party system of politics
pushes the issues of both sides toward the middle. May I present to you
the governor of California as a prime example? So, with the moderating
of American politics, why all the hoopla over political differences,
which are supposedly minute? Political histrionics, it seems to me, have
two results. One, the polarizing of the populace around such candidate
qualities as personality (cowboy vs. aristocrat), culture (Texan vs.
New Englander), rhetoric (flip-flop vs. flim-flam), and body image (Mutt
vs. Jeff). Having learned the power of such supposedly secondary factors
from Nixon's five o'clock shadowy defeat by Kennedy's good looks, candidates
appear on screen so freshly shaven that their cheeks are rosy.
The second result of the Evil Polarization of American politics disturbs
me most: apathy. By apathy, I'm referring to the psychological condition
that is akin to Seligman's concept of "learned helplessness."
If you've contracted the apathy bug, let me suggest a few healing alternatives:
Presidential politics as the newest sporting event. More salient than
fantasy sports, politics offers the windfall of feeling that you've actually
made a small, minute, chad-defying difference in the world.
Entertainment. If reality TV shows like American Idol and Big Brother
can stir up so much vote casting and online mania, why not presidential
politics? More humorous than Saturday Night Light, more dramatic than
CSI, and approximately as accurate as CBS' Sixty Minutes, presidential
politics has much going for it as a new entertainment venue. Look for
candidate debate computer games and action figures to appear soon in
your favorite high-tech boutique.
Online academics. With U of Phoenix championing the cause of online
degrees, the academic value of presidential debates should not be overlooked.
In three televised classes, the debates presented a veritable liberal
arts degree, including history lessons (from senatorial voting patterns
to the Vietnam era), geography lessons (who knew where Afghanistan was
four years ago?), math lessons (higher math in computing the cost of
the Iraq war and in quantifying the nature of the international coalition).
Here is a sample question from the final exam. Question: construct a
logarithm for computing the mathematical nature of the international
coalition in the Iraq war. Multiple Choice: (a) 1 into 30, (b) 1 set
of US troops factored into 30 thirty international coalition partners
times 99% of the burden.
Political participation as an expression of faith. People of faith who
have intelligence are bound to approach elections with mixed feelings.
Seldom are the issues simple and clear. Seldom are we privy to the full
measure of a candidate's character. Seldom do with agree with all the
the planks of a party platform. Our religious ancestors could not have
imagined a political process in which the populace had such a direct
influence on government as we do in the USA. Their political involvements
often required great sacrifice and even martyrdom. Our involvements require
only time and responsibility.