Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
One is softball, the other hardball.
As Christians, we have been force-fed social pacifism for over 50 years. We've been trained to "nice" people into Christianity, because if we're not nice, they might not join our club.
Was Miss California "nice" in her answer? She was polite. She was professional. She answered the question within the framework and context of the setting in which it was asked - a beauty pageant. Even the questioner, Perez Hilton, notorious for angry screeds, asked the question in a polite, professional manner, albeit weighted. ("Do you think ALL other states SHOULD follow suit?" Subliminal language choices, much?) The Q&A sections have never been about a contestant's actual answer, but about the delivery of the answer. So what did she do? She answered the question honestly - stumbled a bit, true - but in a manner reflecting the situation she was in.
The Colbert situation was entirely different. In this situation, we weren't talking about a social issue, but the very nature of Christianity, and it brought out the bear in Colbert. It should bring out the bear in you, too. His guest, Ehrman, was snide, factually incorrect, and assaulting Christianity. Colbert didn't take it.
Both of these reflect Christ-like responses to similar situations. Miss California echoes Jesus with the Woman at the Well. He didn't attack her lifestyle, but lovingly brought her to face what she already knew in her heart - that it was wrong. Perez Hilton lashed out because he thought asking a Miss California this question was going to be a cakewalk. He was wrong, and it struck a deeper nerve within his heart, thus prompting the vicious personal attack.
Ehrhart was not only attacking the institute of Christianity, he took the same stance the Pharisees in Jesus' day took - that Jesus wasn't the divine Son of God, only a man. And how did Jesus respond? How about "den of vipers," "whitewashed tombs." Try that today and see if someone doesn't shoot you in the back for name-calling.
What's the point of all this? The point is that we as Christians always need to be ready to give a defense of our faith, both Scripturally and factually accurate as well as emotionally and situationally responsive. So often today a pastor can't even give an invitation without saying "I don't mean to hurt your feelings" 11 times.
It might hurt someone's feelings to point out that they connected the brakes on their car wrong, but it's better than the alternative, isn't it?
“If I profess with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the solider is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” ~ Martin Luther
Friday, April 17, 2009
With the State Convention tomorrow, there are a lot of email and blogs buzzing around. While I could write plenty about the proposed caucus resolution, about which I have very passionate opinions, something else needs to be addressed.
Many of you reading this, I'll assume, were at the Cleveland County Convention. I base this assumption on the fact that if you are reading this you are an involved Republican, and if this was forwarded to you, it is from someone who knows you live in Cleveland County. Of course, even if you weren't there, you undoubtedly have heard of the controversy surrounding our County Chairman's race.
If you were there, then you saw that my entire precinct voted for Chad Williams. That, obviously, means that I did. I believed Chad was motivated to work hard for the county and invigorate the grassroots with Conservative leadership. You know the results. Due to County vote tallying rules, Bobby Cleveland was elected Chairman.
Initially, I was encouraged by those individuals who said, "We will respect the office and work together to help build up the party."
Unfortunately, to our shame, this is not what has happened.
Almost immediately, before the county party or chairman really did anything, I began receiving emails inviting me to join organizations apart from the Cleveland County Republican Party, not in addition to the County Party but instead of. Backbiting about Bobby and how he won "by a technicality" is rampant.
First, let me address this concept that he won "purely by a technicality." I was there, as I'm sure most of you were, and I saw how it happened. And the bizarre nature by which this particular race ended will be the stuff of County legend. A lot of people were upset that the race outcome was determined by delegate vote allotment and not a pure delegate vote. In fact, this situation is not unprecedented.
POTUS is not elected by a pure majority vote of the people, as you know. POTUS is elected by the Electoral College. There are instances in history where the outcome of the general election was not the same as the outcome of the Electoral College. Or, POTUSes have been elected with a majority of electoral votes but not a majority of general population votes. They were still legitimately-elected Presidents.
Our County, District and State Conventions operate by similar rules through delegate vote allotments. I think my vote was worth .8 of a vote in the final tally, but in other precincts a delegate may have gotten a full vote or even 1.2 votes. This is the way the rules are structured, not just for Cleveland County, but for every county and every level on up.
Therefore, if any individual wins due to vote allotments, they have legally won that seat; and not just Bobby, but every other individual we elected that day.
I am not writing this to defend Bobby or anything he has said or done. His worthiness of the office of chairman will be shown in what he does with that office.
I am not saying that we should put unity over issues. Unity is important, but should not be a goal. We should never sacrifice our principles and issues for the sake of unity. That's why the system we have exists, to encourage discussion and debate. This is not disunity, as some would have you believe.
However, it is wrong to deliberately undermine an officeholder on a personal level because you are upset about election results. None of us are happy about who won the presidency last November. Even so, we are still to respect the office of the President - who is elected by the Electoral College, not by majority vote - call him out on ISSUES, and be critical of his ACTIONS.
There is no reason we are to show any less respect to our state and local offices. This isn't about Bobby. This isn't about unity. This is about who we are as Republicans.
To allow our county party's effectiveness to crumble due to petty grudges over an election for an unpaid, short-term position is inexcusable. Working together doesn't require unconditional love and devotion to an individual. It doesn’t require us to check our stand on issues at the door. But it does require enough humility to say, I am willing to consider each individual involved in the party as equally essential as myself.
We have to work together to bring our taxes down and fight new ones. We have to work together to elect good Republican candidates and keep our current elected Republicans accountable. We have to work together to raise funds for the county party. We can't do this if we are distracted by hurt feelings over an election whose winner will only hold their seat a couple of years.
The reason I am choosing to address this issue rather than that of the caucus is that we are facing a situation similar to the county chairman elections in our state chairman elections. Emotions are running high over this race, mine included. I can't say I've been pleased with the actions of all involved.
However, regardless of who wins, regardless of whether they get a pure majority vote as well as the allotted delegate vote (remember, it's the same system we used at County), we are still to respect the office of Chairman. And, regardless of who wins tomorrow, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. I know that. We have all day Sunday to recover from our loss (or our win. Sore winners are just as bad as sore losers).
Monday morning, however, we are all on the same team again. Unless we decide beforehand to commit to supporting our chairman or chairwoman and their leadership, it will not happen.
Monday morning, we aren't Jones people or Williams people. We are all Oklahoma Republicans. Those who continue to hold to a lost candidate as their one, true hope for the party have lost more than an election; they have lost their purpose.
Let's keep our purpose. Let's remember that we were the only state in '08 to go completely Red. Let's take that victory and carry it through the 2010 elections as a team.
Precinct 50 Vice Chairman, Cleveland County
Politics and morality are inseparable. And as morality's foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church, because only those humble enough to admit they're sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive. ~ Ronald Reagan
*You have my permission to forward, repost or duplicate this in its entirety
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Earlier this week you may have received an email in support of moving Oklahoma Republicans back to a caucus system of choosing which presidential candidate receives Oklahoma’s delegate votes to become the Republican nominee for President.
Most knowledgeable Republicans who have studied the caucus proposal being promoted feel passage would be extremely devastating to our party and could set our party back over 20 years.
The information provided in support of this change to the caucus is extremely misleading and comes from individuals whose goal is to create a system that would allow a very small, well-organized minority to manipulate the process to promote their own political agenda.
Let’s analyze each statement made in support of the Caucus.
“In 1976, 1980, and 1984 the Oklahoma GOP supported Ronald Reagan for President - through a caucus system instead of a "Presidential Preference Primary".
Ronald Reagan lost the Iowa Caucus in both 1976 and 1980. He then came back and won the New Hampshire primaries. So using that logic, if New Hampshire had a caucus Ronald Reagan may have never become President. How can we empower the grassroots to support conservative leaders like Reagan in the future? Answer: Restore the Oklahoma GOP to the Caucus System?
Back to the Reagan example. In 1976 Gerald Ford won the Iowa caucus. One week later Ronald Reagan won the New Hampshire primary. In 1980 George H.W. Bush won the Iowa Caucus. The following week Ronald Reagan won the New Hampshire Primary. I don’t know of anyone who would argue that Ford and Bush 41 were more conservative than Ronald Reagan.
Counties across the State, including Oklahoma and Tulsa counties, have already passed a proposal known as "Caucus OK!" that would restore the Oklahoma GOP to a caucus system, and it will soon be heard at the State Convention, Saturday, April 18. I would invite you to visit the Caucus OK website http://caucusok.org/to learn more!
While it is true the proposal was passed in a few counties it was soundly defeated 52-28 in Cleveland County, which was perhaps the only county to have a full and open debate on the issue. Cleveland County even suspended its own convention rules to allow the principal proponent of the caucus proposal to debate for the measure. It was still soundly voted down. (I was there. It was the ONLY county in which debate was allowed, and the only county where the caucus failed, even with authors of the proposal speaking in its defense.)
"An enlarged , invigorated , and empowered grassroots volunteer and donor base will result from the restoring of the caucus system."
There is no evidence that this would be the case. Iowa has been the example given to support this assertion, claiming Iowa gets more attention and activity because of their caucus. Truth is, Iowa receives attention because they are first in the process. New Hampshire receives an equal amount of attention and they have a primary. Current RNC rules do not allow Oklahoma to conduct their selection process earlier than it is currently held, either primary or caucus. Changes are currently being discussed by the RNC and will more than likely be put into effect before the 2012 elections.
"A caucus system is a nomination process that truly reflects a consensus of the Party grassroots."
Again, there is no evidence to support this claim. In 2008 over 345,000 Oklahoma Republicans turned out to vote in the Republican Presidential Primary. If the proposed caucus were to be approved we would be telling those Republicans that we didn’t care about their opinion and that their votes didn’t matter.
"Moving to a caucus system will increase fundraising opportunities for the Party."
The change as proposed would not generate additional revenues; in fact, it would be extremely costly to the Oklahoma Republican Party, as it requires the party to furnish ballots, including absentee ballots, to all Republicans at no cost. The OKGOP would also be responsible for conducting the voting process, including having to verify whether those showing up or mailing in ballots were indeed eligible to vote.
"Moving to a caucus system will save Oklahoma tax-payer dollars (up to $3 million)."
This is not true, as the change to the caucus does not eliminate the primary. The Democrat party will still conduct their voting via a primary. It does not change the law.
"Moving to a caucus system will increase Oklahoma's influence and attention in the national election process."
Since 1988 when Oklahoma moved from the caucus to the Primary, Republicans held 32 seats in the Oklahoma House; we now hold 61. In 1988 Republicans held 15 seats in the Oklahoma Senate; we now hold 26. All in all, Oklahoma Republicans have done quite well under the current system.
The truth is a caucus system would empower a few influential activists who believe they know better than the general population what Oklahoma needs. A caucus system would establish an oligarchy which is a form of government where power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society- aka Political Pharisees. That is never good and goes completely against the principles of the U.S. Constitition which is inclusive and protects us from the establishment of an oligarchy.
Oklahoma Republican activists should be about the business of educating Oklahoma voters and encouraging more conservatives to become involved in the process. Moving to a caucus system would be a step backward in Oklahoma. We have accomplished too much with a Presidential Primary! While not a perfect system, it is infinitely better than moving back to a Caucus system. Vote No at the State Convention!