- We believe that the puzzlement about Sarah Palin's precipitous resignation as Alaska's governor is natural, given that Mrs. Palin seems a bit puzzled herself. We don't think she's puzzled about her reasons: she's fed up with her and her family being the objects of ridicule and constant accusation (perhaps most ridiculously, an "independent investigator" has now said that even though there's no rule against it, Palin violated ethics rules by allowing others to raise money to defend her against ethics accusations: apparently it's unfair for someone to let others provide support to avoid penury when one is accused, though that rule doesn't apply if you're a Clinton). We figure that the famous Vanity Fair piece was the final straw. But we doubt seriously the Palin has anything remotely resembling a plan for the next three years. She's just riding the wave, as she has since her political career began. But with the resignation, she's finished as a national candidate, unless Rs decide to offer her as a sacrificial lamb to an unbeatable Obama in 2012. There's just too much drama with Palin.
- The Henry Louis Gates affair for us illustrates (a) that even the most racially sensitive (we refer both to Dr. Gates and to the arresting officer, both of whom have public records that deserve this laudatory description) can fall into the trap of acting on the paradigms of race-based behaviors. The fact that the President, himself a skilled navigator of racial categories, also fell into the trap is especially cautionary. We also wonder the degree to which Dr. Gates' reaction to the police call was the consequence of fatigue, jet lag, and maybe a few drinks.
- President Obama's inability to set priorities, long noted by this blogger and others, is proving to be the ruin of his administration's first year. Couple that with his willingness to cede details to the miserable and radical Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives (need we mention again the extremist cabal of Pelosi, Waxman and Frank?), and we now ask what the President will do to recover when the end of the year shows his legislative agenda having failed, his popularity in a sinkhole, and his party in a free-fall leading into 2010. Can he reinvent himself as a triangulating moderate a la Slick Willie?
- We are finding it more and more ironic that global warming continues to be treated as an unquestionable dogma while more prosaic and better demonstrated hypotheses, like industrialization and free trade creating greater prosperity for the world's poor, are at best ignored and at worst ridiculed.
- To appreciate the global impact of American pop culture, we need only recall sitting in a hotel restaurant in India, eating our eclectically international buffet breakfast and listening to a medley of Muzak-instrumental arrangements of Michael Jackson songs over the PA, that after having heard at dinner the night before an Indian version of Boxcar Willie offering up "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Country Roads," and in honor of our impending departure from the Subcontinent, "Bye, Bye Love."
- We continue to be amazed at how Christians refuse to learn the lessons of history. We count ourself a member of an American Christian "movement" that recalls its origins in at last refusing to observe the sectarian divisions ("Old Light Anti-Burgher Seceder Presbyterian") that were imported from another land (Great Britain) whose influence of the faith had been dominant but was by then waning. We are sad to observe that those who recite that history most fondly are among those who replicate it today, carrying their American disputes to the rest of the Christian world and treating them as shibboleths. These are the ones most likely to be "left behind" as the demographic center of Christianity continues to move away from North America.
- On the plus side, we are firm in our assertion that the recent, exceptional growth of that movement to which we belong is in some significant part the consequence of exceptionally well focused institutions having supported strategic elements of the church's ministry for a generation. For all their faults, the parachurch organizations devoted to education, mission, fellowship and motivation among the Christian Churches are working smarter all the time.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Re-Entering the Fray: Short Shots on Recent Topics
Our journeys here and there concluded, we signal a restoration of more frequent posting with a few observations about recent events: