Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Case for Kerry

It seems like everyone is either voting for or against Bush. It only makes sense. Most people who are voting for Kerry probably knew they were voting against Bush before they even knew who John Kerry was. But I think that it's important to point out some of the reasons that one might want to vote FOR Sen. Kerry, if only because it changes the topics of discussion.

One reason (and perhaps the most important) that I'm voting for Kerry is.... he's a flip-flopper. Yes, I actually consider this a virtue. I respect people that are not afraid to change, both their minds and the way of life. Obviously, growth only comes through change, and I like for people to grow. The very favorite people of mine, and the most wise, are the people who are always looking for ways to improve themselves, for ways to learn. My wife, a fourth grade teacher, would call this kind of person a "lifelong learner." I certainly hope that I'm one, and I respect people who are. In fact, I even think that God calls us to constantly change our minds. Kerry seems like a guy who isn't afraid to change his mind.

On the same point of flip-flopping, I like people who look at each situation individually and in the context of the present time. I think it's okay to be for something at one time and against it at another time. In fact, I think that correct decisions and best courses of action are very often situational. This doesn't mean that decisions are ungrounded; it means that they have a greater degree of success. We have certainly seen lately how success is in large part dependant on good intelligence (good information) and advance planning. Situational decisions, therefore, have a greater chance of success. Sen. Kerry seems to make decisions based on the current situation.

Reason two: complexity. I think that the world is very, very complex. Especially in the world of international politics and diplomacy... There's history to think about. What kinds of historical trends play into a certain situation? Who are the various people involved? How will they interpret the situation? What is the psychology and sociology of the situation? What about the economics, the religion, the care issues? Things are complicated. John Kerry is afraid to acknowledge the complexity in a situation.

Reason three: self-sacrifice. I know what you're thinking... he's going to talk about all that overworked war-hero stuff. Nope. I mean that he wants to increase taxes on the wealthy. Yeah.... he's pretty wealthy. But he still wants to increase his own taxes... more than other peoples. That impresses me. Humility and self-sacrifice are at the top of my list of virtues. This just seems like an interesting example of it.

Reason four: religiosity. Kerry is religious. We know he's a Catholic, and we know he's getting in trouble from the some of the hierarchy over his pro-choice stand. That's good. It shows a believer who is using reason to work out his faith. (Reason, by the way, is part of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, which also includes Scripture, Tradition, and Experience.) I'm glad to see someone who, while taking their own faith seriously, is not afraid to take a slightly different stand. I'm also glad to see a public figure who is informed by faith, but doesn't beat people over the head with it... who doesn't use his public office to try to push his own religious beliefs.

Okay, I could probably say a few more things, but I think I've made the point I wanted to make. I've even learned a bit myself in the writing.


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