Monday, October 06, 2008

Reflections on Political Debates

The 2008 presidential election has had more drama and been more interesting than any other election in my lifetime. Though interesting at times, the campaigns, conventions and debates still frustrate those of us who yearn for straight answers to direct questions.

At this writing there has been one presidential debate and one vice-presidential debate. Like millions of others I was more interested in the vice-presidential debate because of the “Palin factor”. Even more fun was the Saturday Night Live parody of the debate, but I digress.

As I’ve listened to the rhetoric and talking points I’ve cried out for an end to the “games” and engagement of the issues with real dialogue. I’ve talked with family and friends about the dodging of questions but was mildly surprised at the October 6 issue of TIME that gave a behind-the-scenes look at how all of this is scripted.

Mike Murphy, a GOP consultant, writes how candidates prepare for the debates. There are strategists that work to plan every detail, even down to preparing the off-the-cuff remarks. Murphy says one of the consultant’s biggest tasks is helping the candidate master one basic rule: never ever make the rookie’s mistake of actually answering the question you are actually asked. The idea is to make a bee line as quickly as possible to your key campaign message.

It could go something like this--
Question: “Senator, tell us your wife’s name and the names of your children.”
Answer: “I have a wonderful family. Nothing is more important to America’s welfare than our homes and our families. That’s why our platform has blah, blah, blah.”

As I read Murphy’s political insider perspective my thoughts were immediately taken to my engagement of God. When God asks us questions He’s not looking for answers. He already knows the answers. When God asks us questions He’s looking for us to get in touch with something.

After Adam ate forbidden fruit and hid from God, God called out to Adam, “Where are you?” God knew where Adam was. There’s no politically correct answer. All Adam could say is that “I’m hiding from you.”

After Cain killed his brother Abel and God asked Cain, “Where is your brother?” God already knew that Cain had killed his brother but Cain plays word games and responds, “Am I supposed to keep up with where my brother is?”

So in the spirit of being honest (read: not politically correct) how is it with you and God? Is it well with your soul? Are you loving your spouse and family well? Are you fulfilling and living the plans that God has made for your life?

No talking points, just straight answers. In answering these questions there is life, peace, serenity and purpose.

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