Presidential Panhandling

16 06 2009

I frequently get email messages from President Barack Obama.

That’s not what bothers me, even though I don’t remember asking to be included in his email distribution list. What bothers me is that most of the time he’s writing to ask for money.

The thing is, he and I aren’t even related. It would be one thing if he were, say, a cousin writing me on a semiweekly basis to ask for money. But we don’t know each other personally and I didn’t elect him. He doesn’t come into my cafe and we don’t hang out on the weekends. What’s more, I’m pretty sure he ran a campaign promising lots of extra money for low-income families (mine is one) and also for owners of small businesses (I have one).

So why the hell is he constantly begging me for money?

It started last year when he was asking for campaign money to defeat the nefarious John McCain. Every day or two, either he or David Plouffe, his campaign manager, would ask me for five or ten bucks. The requests were innocuous enough and usually went something like this:

From the very beginning, this campaign has been in your hands. Now more than ever, we’re counting on you to see it through. Watch the video Joe and I recorded and make a donation of $5 or more now. – Barack

As election day grew closer, they would promise an entry into a sweepstakes, of sorts, if I made a donation. An email from Barack’s CFO, Marianne Markowitz, read:

If you give today — any amount — you could be one of 5 first-time donors who will have a front row seat for the big Election Night event in Chicago with Barack. Make a donation of $5 or more right now!

When he won the election, I figured the emails would quit. But it turned out he needed help paying off the credit cards the Dems maxed out to hold their record-spending Democratic National Convention in my hometown of Denver. And when that happened, he didn’t want five or ten bucks. Now he wanted thirty. I got an email from David Plouffe shortly after Election Day that said:

They took out substantial loans to make it happen. The DNC didn’t hold back, and now, neither can we. We’re relying on grassroots supporters like you to come through for this movement once again. We’ll get to work transforming this country. But first, we need to take care of the DNC. Please make a donation of $30 or more today.

It didn’t sit too well with me that the amount for which Mr. Obama and Company were asking had gone up sharply, nor did I like the reason. Why wouldn’t they raise their money ahead of time and spend what they had? Do elections now go to the person who can not only raise the most money, but also borrow the most money?

Shortly before Christmas, they shifted tactics and tried to sell me Obama­™ merchandise to use for Christmas presents. The email read:

It’s been just over a month since Election Day, and we’re getting ready to change America. We can’t do it alone, and we can’t do it in a single day.  But thanks to supporters like you, change is coming. Make a donation of $35 and get a limited edition, full-color calendar featuring photos of President-elect Obama and his family from the campaign trail.

At least this time they were hawking something and not just begging for cash. But the fact that he was selling photos of himself was a little egotistical, and something just sounded funny about the whole idea. What would we say if other world leaders like Ahmedinijad, or Queen Elizabeth, or Kim Jong Il, started little home businesses selling photos of themselves? It just doesn’t seem quite right for the leader of a country. And alarmingly, we seemed to have set a new threshold of $35 per request now.

Well, I thought, surely after the inauguration is over, the president will be able to quit the virtual panhandling and get down to the business of “fixing” all the things he said were wrong with the country. Right?

Right. Well, until May. About a month ago, David Plouffe started hitting me up to donate to the president again. He was back to only asking for five bucks again, but this time they needed to buy some new advertising.

We knew healthcare reform would face fierce opposition — and it’s begun. As we speak, the same people behind the notorious “swiftboat” ads of 2004 are already pumping millions of dollars into deceptive television ads. Their plan is simple: torpedo healthcare reform before it sees the light of day by scaring the public and distorting the President’s approach. Please donate $5 or more by midnight Sunday to fight back against these phony attacks and take our message of reform to the American people.

I didn’t at all like the precedent being set here. Now, each time the public’s opinion needs to be shaped by advertising (or in this case, counter-advertising) we should all step up and throw some more cash into the kitty?

And worst of all, I still don’t see anything improving. I still have friends losing their jobs or unable to find work. I don’t see the stock market rebounding. Prices are still high at the gas pump. My gay friends are still upset that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell hasn’t been repealed. Nothing I can see has been done to provide realistic, better-than-abortion alternatives to women facing unplanned pregnancies. Mostly I see people all across the political spectrum still waiting for something to happen.

How long will we wait?

And all the while, I keep getting begged for money by the man who assured us he would fix everything.

It’s ironic that the same operative word is still in play here — “change.” Before, the Obama Crew were promising change for America. Every commercial had the word “change” three or four times. Now, I go to my email box and find out that they’re no longer promising change FOR America — they’re asking for change FROM America. Literal change — nickels, quarters and dollars. (As Inigo said in The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”) 

In the same way that people in the Wal-Mart parking lot constantly ask if I can spare some change, the presidential powerhouse has morphed into some horrible sort of executive panhandling franchise. The only differences between them and the people in the Wal-Mart parking lot are 1) They wear nicer clothes, 2) They ask for larger sums of money, and 3) They don’t really need the money.

Today came the straw that broke the camel’s back. This email was addressed from Barack personally. It read:

Last year, millions of Americans came together for a great purpose. Today, spiraling health care costs are pushing our families and businesses to the brink of ruin, while millions of Americans go without the care they desperately need. Fixing this broken system will be enormously difficult. And just like before, I cannot do it without your support. Will you donate whatever you can afford to support the campaign for real health care reform in 2009?

So let me get this straight, Mr. President. I’m already paying, via my tax dollars, a $400,000 annual salary for you to serve as President of the United States. You’ve gone to my elected officials to ask them to approve a budget of over three trillion dollars for you to do that job.

And that’s not enough? In order to execute your office successfully, you now need me to mail in “whatever I can afford?”

With all due respect, Mr. President, just where the hell do you think that money is going to come from? I work over 90 hours a week to try to support a family of six and run a successful business. I have a nonfunctional vehicle in need of about $4,000 in repairs. I would like to eventually be able to move to a house that has more than one bedroom and one bathroom.

So please pardon me if I express a large amount of personal distaste over the way you constantly email me to beg for money.

Say all you want about George W. Bush and his job performance, which I’m willing to concede was horrible at best, but I can’t help thinking that at least he never sent me an email that sounded like a panhandler’s tragic-plight sales pitch.

So please, Barack (as you like to sign your emails, to make me feel like we’re on a first-name, hey-dude-lend-me-some-cash basis), spare me the hype over the historicness of your presidency and get to work bringing about the change you promised instead of just begging for it.



23 01 2009

I’m really irritated by this.

After my blog about the wonderful instrumental quartet at the inauguration, it now gets reported in the media today that what we heard on television wasn’t a live performance at all. They Ashlee Simpsoned it and did the instrumental equivalent of lip-syncing to a recording.

WASHINGTON — Millions of viewers heard a recording of the dulcet tones played by a celebrated quartet of musicians at President Barack Obama’s inauguration rather than the notes the group actually played.

Carole Florman, a spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, says the weather was too cold for the instruments to stay in tune. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Izhak Perlman, pianist Gabriella Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill made the decision on Inauguration Day Tuesday to use an audio tape of their performance that they had laid down two days earlier.

Florman says the musicians “very insistent on playing live until it became clear that it would be too cold,” making it impossible for the instruments to hold tune. People sitting near them could hear the musicians play, but their instruments were not amplified.

I still think the song was beautiful, and I realize that the vast majority of pop artists these days do not do much live singing at their concerts. Maybe it’s that I expect more from chamber music. When I go hear the symphony orchestra, I expect that I’m hearing the real thing and not a recording.

Somehow, learning this just cheapens the whole thing for me. I’m really disappointed.

Wonder what else was faked at the inauguration.

The Music of the Inauguration

20 01 2009

I notice that many of my favorite bloggers are posting their thoughts about this morning’s inauguration, so I don’t want to throw more of the same, tired thoughts into the mix.

I do, however, want to remark on an aspect of today’s historic event on which I haven’t heard much discussion, and that is the music of the inauguration.

First, the United States Marine Band. They played the music preceding and following the inauguration and during the various arrivals. Traditional and appropriate to the occasion, each song was very well executed. The “house” band often gets overlooked, but there was something today about seeing the men with their long trumpets that put me in mind of the way that music has heralded the arrival of rulers for so much of history.

Next, Aretha Franklin. I have come across a few comments that were critical of her performance of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” or at least critical of her extremely large hat. I have nothing negative to say. The woman is almost 70 years old and can hardly be expected to belt it out like she used to. I think she was there more as a symbol than as an entertainer. If anyone has earned the honor of singing at this event, it is she. With a legacy of music that has impacted generations, and given her status as an African-American musical icon, it seemed quite appropriate for her to sing at this inauguration of the first black president. As for the gigantic hat, I know enough about elderly, black church ladies and their affinity for hats to know that you just don’t go there.

The United States Navy band “Sea Chanters” sang the national anthem, and it was a very appropriate, classic rendition of this piece. Call me a traditionalist, but I strongly dislike when someone at a professional sports event (or worse, at a high school) comes along with the audacity to think they can dazzle us with their talent to make The Star-Spangled Banner better than the original. This is not just any patriotic song open to modern interpretation; it is the country’s national anthem and is best performed the normal way. Today’s performance by Sea Chanters fit the bill nicely.

And then there was the showstopper in the middle. I can’t believe I haven’t heard more discussion about this. An instrumental quartet performed an arrangement by composer John Williams. And what a quartet to assemble: Itzhak Perlman, perhaps the best violinist of our modern day, the legendary Yo Yo Ma playing the cello,  Anthony McGill of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra on clarinet, and Gabriela Montero, the excellent pianist to whose concert I took my piano students last year. I had not expected to have something in the inauguration move me to tears, but this piece did. It was so incredibly beautiful.

In case you missed it, here’s the video. You probably won’t hear it in tonight’s highlights on the news, but it was the highlight of the entire inauguration for me.

The Morning After

5 11 2008

It’s the morning after a history-making election. Barack Obama is the new president-elect of the United States of America.

Do I feel differently today than I did yesterday? Honestly, I think I do.

In the interest of full disclosure for anyone reading who might be reading my blog for the first time, I am a registered Independent. I voted for John McCain. I made that decision largely because of a strong, personal opposition to legalized abortion. While I don’t consider myself to be a single-issue voter, and abortion is not the only issue by which I judge a potential leader, it is one of my first and foremost criteria, and it is what eliminated Barack Obama from consideration for me.

But this morning, that does not matter in quite the same way as it did yesterday. Yesterday, we were choosing a leader. Today, the leader has been chosen. This election now passes into history, and the much more pressing question becomes thus: “What now?”

When the decision for president has been made, each of us has a choice. If our candidate lost, we choose whether to be sore losers or good losers. If our candidate won, we choose whether to be gloating winners or gracious winners. I was very pleased last night to see in John McCain a good loser, and in Barack Obama a gracious winner.

During McCain’s concession speech, he pledged to do all in his power to help Barack Obama “lead us through the many challenges we face.” He referred to Mr. Obama as “my president,” a choice of words that spoke volumes to me. Some people in the assembled crowd booed at the mention of Obama’s victory, reminding me largely why I no longer choose to affiliate myself with that party even though I cast my vote for their candidate in this election. I wasn’t booing. I heard what John McCain said. I don’t think he meant it simply as a gracious concession, but rather as a genuine call to action to support the president we have elected.

Obama responded with an equally unifying speech. To myself and the others who did not vote for him, he had these words: “To those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.” And on this, the day after the election, I believe that it is both in the spirit of democracy and consistent with the Word of God to come alongside this man and give him our prayers and our support as the new leader of our country.

So today, I don’t think it’s time to second-guess America. I don’t think that spending time arguing about whether this was a good decision or a bad decision is helpful. It’s done. For someone like me who cares deeply about the issue of abortion, it’s time to look at what Obama has already and will continue to lay out in that regard. It’s time to consider how to best come alongside the president and work toward what he has stated to be a common goal, that is, to see the number of abortions come down. It’s time to look for the ways where we can work together for good.

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time discussing who was right and who was wrong. I still stand by what I said, though I wish I didn’t have such a tendency to trounce people when I perceive them as being wrong. A friend (maybe more than one, I’m still feeling a little bruised and can’t re-read yesterday’s blog comments yet) rightly called me arrogant, and I’ll be the first to admit it. It’s been a lifelong struggle for me. I daresay it’s a common struggle for people who feel passionately about anything. When we’re right, or when we think that we know we’re right, sometimes we allow asserting our “rightness” to become the most important thing, to our own detriment. I still think I was right, but perhaps I went about being right the wrong way, and perhaps I put way too much stock on the importance of convincing everyone that I’m right. I trust that you all love me in spite of my terrible flawedness in that regard.

Today, I’m saying it doesn’t matter any more who was the best candidate. What matters is what we do now. The defining word of Barack Obama’s campaign has been “change.” I think that each of us, regardless of who we voted for, knows that change is coming, It is now on each of our shoulders to define what that change will be, and to determine how best to personally become God’s agents of change for good, not evil, in America.

On a personal note, I want to sincerely congratulate my friends, family and acquaintances who played an active role in Barack Obama’s campaign. It feels good to win, especially when you feel like so much is at stake. Also, amidst my disappointment (and admitted lack of surprise) over McCain’s defeat, it was deeply moving to see Mr. Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, take the stage with their father and to think of what this election represents for them as well.

I did not vote for Barack Obama. But he is now my president. He has my prayers, and he has my support.

Christian Democrats

3 11 2008

I’ve been a little surprised at how many of my Christian friends are not only Democrats, but adamant and active supporters and promoters of the Barack Obama campaign.

This blog isn’t intended to convince them they’re wrong. Rather, I’m more speculative as to how they’ve reached the conclusions at which they have arrived. I know that many of them, like myself, grew up in Christian households that were also conservative and Republican. I don’t think that these friends believe that they are in any way working contrary to what is right or contrary to the Kingdom. (I think they are deceived, but I think they earnestly believe in the deception that has ensnared them.)

So what makes a Christian Democrat? Here’s my analysis:

Many of us in my age group who grew up with Christ-centered backgrounds have been raised from early childhood to be Good Republicans™. As such, we eventually grow up to discover the world isn’t what we thought it was. In our disillusionment, we find ourselves becoming quickly disenfranchised with the political party we synonymized with being the “correct” party throughout our childhood. At this point, we ask ourselves, “What if the OTHER side was the right side?” And the allure of that possibility is just so tempting that many of us convert.

It’s kind of like having a crisis of faith, but in a way that feels safer and has less far-reaching implications. It seems like a really big, complicated deal to ditch Christianity and become an atheist, even when the world seems to be crashing down around you. It’s not quite such a big deal to switch from being a “Christian Republican” to being a “Christian Democrat.” It’s a safer rebellion. Not that we’re rebels without a cause; we’re just lashing out over the realization as adults that the world is bent and broken. The political party we grew up supporting (because we were told it was the “Christian” party) seems to have failed us, so it becomes an easy scapegoat.

I’m not saying that the Republicans have it right. Perhaps I’ve taken the low road, and mine is an even safer “safe rebellion.” The truth is that I dislike both parties. I grew up Republican and am now a registered Independent. Many might say that makes me lukewarm, but I feel like it puts me in a better position to examine the two major political candidates a little more objectively.

I considered the Democratic party when voting in my first presidential election at age 20, but upon examination, I realized that the Democrats weren’t any more correct than the Republicans, and much of what they supported ran highly contrary to my faith. (Are we intentionally trying to bring religious persecution upon ourselves?) I feel that despite his profession of faith, the lifelong track record of Barack Obama does not indicate someone who is committed to the Kingdom of God and its ideals. And I do not believe that a nation that conducts itself as if it, not God, is the supreme power and authority could ever hope to prosper.

That said, I no longer consider the Republican party to be the “Christian” party, either. It has become plagued with what I perceive to be greediness, arrogance, a general lack of compassion toward the poor throughout the world, and a failure to hold tightly to conservative, moral values. I have high hopes that John McCain and Sarah Palin will bring some much-needed reform to weed out corruption and restore genuine morality to the Republican party. If that happens, I will reconsider my political affiliation. But in the meantime, I don’t think that jumping ship and boarding the Obama boat instead is the answer, but is rather highly dangerous and foolhardy. (And I think that voting third-party when said party has zero chance of winning is a cowardly cop-out.)

As much as the Obama camp has tried to paint McCain as another George W. Bush, I don’t see that when I look at what he proposes and what he stands for. I see someone who admittedly voted in alignment with Bush much of the time, likely because he thought what Bush proposed was “more correct” than the alternatives, but who would do things quite differently if he were not just one voice among many and had the genuine ability to fix what’s broken. That ability would, no doubt, be severely hampered by the impending Democratic super-majority that is likely to exist after tomorrow. But I don’t want the next four years to be about creating more bad laws that we’ll have to work even harder to undo later.

I want to believe that Barack Obama is not quite the terrifying character that the most radical of the right-wingers have painted him to be. But I think that, if they’re honest with themselves, many of my friends who are such adamant Obama supporters might find that their wanting to support him has to do more with wanting to rebel against the upbringing that they feel failed them later in life than it does with truly believing that Obama is what’s best for America. I suspect that’s true for the vast majority of my fellow brothers and sisters in the church across the country who find their tents pitched in the camp of the Christian Democrats as well.

As a former “Christian Republican,” and now as a “Christian Independent,” I see John McCain as being the presidential candidate most likely to promote the ideals and values that I associate with bringing about God’s kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.” That is, and must continue to be, more important than making a statement or engaging in some sort of personal rebellion that makes me feel vindicated or like more of an individual.

Tom Brokaw

8 10 2008

I watched last night’s presidential debate hoping to learn more about each candidate’s plans for moving America forward and to get a better glimpse as to what each candidate stands for.

I was mostly disappointed. They stuck to predetermined lines and zingers that someone else probably wrote, they didn’t answer the questions that were presented to them, and beyond all that, I was bored out of my mind listening to them.

Consequently, as I replayed the event in my mind this morning, I found myself instead focusing on the peripherals.

First, someone should be fired for being allowed to choose Fire Engine Red for the color of the carpet in that debate hall. I couldn’t tell which was giving me more of a headache: listening to the candidates or shielding my eyes every time that bright, tacky carpet appeared on the screen. It disturbs me that there are even carpet companies out there manufacturing something so appalling. When the credit dries up (as we keep hearing it will), when small businesses aren’t able to get their loans and companies start dropping like flies, I propose the first business to go should be that carpet manufacturer. The company that made the Electric Blue paint that was used on the debate hall walls can be next. And the student committee who prepared that debate hall needs to be flunked promptly.

Second, did anyone else notice that they seemed to have arranged the audience by appearance? They referred to the parts of the room as “Section A” or “Section F,” but if you looked a little more closely, you noticed that there was the old people section, the bald men section, the conservative women section, the feminist women section, and even the junior-high debate team boys section. What was that about?

Third, who the hell thought it would be a good idea for Tom Brokaw to moderate this debate? I realize that the man is an award-winning journalist, but that fact alone does not a good moderator make. If he’d stuck to moderating, I might have been happier. But why, after every citizen-submitted question, did Mr. Brokaw get to ask a question of his own? Was that one of the “rules” that both candidates signed off on? Does his experience as a news anchor qualify him to think of our own questions better than we can think of them ourselves?

An indirect acquaintance of my wife was one of those present in the audience, and they ran out of time for him to ask his question. Thanks, Mr. Brokaw. I’m sure that your “discussion” questions were much more insightful and important, which must be why they trumped the questions of the others who were present last night.

Except he didn’t even stick to asking questions, his own or otherwise. Brokaw editorialized for a good thirty or forty seconds before asking each discussion question. Did he feel the need to take it upon himself to make sure the debate favored a specific candidate, or was he just trying to make them both look even more foolish? And what’s the point of calling it a discussion question? There was no discussion. Call it what it was: A Tom Brokaw Question.

It’s a sad commentary on a moderator when he does worse than Gwen Ifill, who, despite the fact that she’s already written a forthcoming book heaping praise on Obama, managed to pull off a relatively balanced debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

Mr. Brokaw, while respecting the lifetime of accomplishments you have hanging on the walls of your office, I think I speak for most Americans when I say that we’re more interested in hearing from our candidates during the debate, and if we want to hear your opinions, we’ll tune in to your own show after the debate.


3 10 2008

So I hear you’re one of those cool new, trendy, modern-minded, Obama-supporting Christians.

Good for you! It must feel so wonderful and original to no longer be associated with those stuffy old white people. I really have to hand it to you, going the extra mile to be the type who’s making Christianity cool to the mainstream public again. And you’re right, if you’re ever going to convince people that Christianity is cool, you just can’t let that pesky conservative mindset overshadow you.

You’re a culturally relevant, enlightened free thinker, and I completely agree that making your trendy new image feel like a genuine part of your identity is really more important than the good of the country. How forward-looking of you to realize that it’s more important for Jesus to be socially palatable than it is for any kind of morality to be exhibited in the candidate you vote for.

It’s such a cool, more subtle and effective way of rebellion you’ve got there. I mean, who needs to become an atheist nowadays to feel like a free spirit? It’s so much better just to invent this newer, cooler version of faith you’re creating, this Christianity 2.0, where you not only embrace the faith of the past generations, but you refine and redefine it so much that you’ve made the old version completely obsolete. I bet those old, stuffy, out-of-touch Christians of decades past just never even GOT Christianity the way that you do. How amazingly awesome you are!

So you’ve decided that it’s important to make a statement that the Republican Party is not the “Christian” party. And who can blame you? You’ve spent your short lifetime so far demonstrating to the world just how cool Christians can be. See? We’re the cool, new Christians. The ones who are totally cool with dropping the F word in regular conversation. The ones who are totally relaxed about stuff like getting drunk, and being gay, and pretty much any other antiquated “sin” that’s really just fine nowadays and not really a sin at all because we decided to make all of that cool now. And so it’s important to show that, just like we can be “Christian and get drunk,” or be “Christian and gay,” we’re just as capable of being “Christian and liberal.” Because, see, that’s just so much more AWESOME than being Christian and conservative.

You’re right. This country doesn’t need another stuffy old white man in the White House. And you’re right, a woman for vice president would have been cool, but this lady is just too traditional. She’s all talking about morals and stuff, and she is just NOT the next-generation Christian image we’re looking to project at all. Let’s get us a rock star instead, just like the ones we throw onstage to make our church services appealing to the younger, unchurched masses. This Obama guy, I mean, he’s got charisma. I could totally see him hosting the Video Music Awards on MTV next year. We really need him in office.

I totally understand what you mean when you say we need to hop on his bandwagon and leave behind those fundamental losers. Isn’t it obvious that supporting Obama is what all the EDUCATED people are doing? I mean, Christians have been painted as ignorant bigots for a long time, right? So what better to bust all of those notions than to say, “Hey, I’m a Christian, and I’m all for Obama, even though he’s cool with turning our democracy into socialism, and even though he voted in favor of stuff like puncturing the skulls of newborn babies and sucking their brains out with a vacuum hose.” I mean, that stuff’s unpleasant, but isn’t more important to show that Christians are FREE THINKERS?

Besides, this McCain guy is totally not modern enough to be president. His policies are like that other white guy who’s been messing things up for eight years. And what’s more important than anything is using our VOICE, right? We’re finally old enough that people are taking our opinions seriously. There are actually enough of us to get out and vote in large enough numbers to show that we’re bad-asses and can influence an election. It’s time to show the country that our generation can get in there and elect somebody different. Won’t all those stupid, old, white people be surprised when we blow their candidate out of the water?

You know, I don’t even feel bothered by the fact anymore that we’re quickly turning into Democratic parrots spouting off the intelligent-sounding crap we’ve been spoon-fed by the media. Because we’re not just spouting it off for the sake of being parrots — we’ve bought into it, and as such have EDUCATED OURSELVES. And now we’re so damn proud of ourselves for being so damn educated that it’s high time we made everyone recognize just how modern, tolerant, enlightened, informed and freaking BRILLIANT we are! We’re sure going to show them, aren’t we?

And what’s with all those old and busted, single-issue voters, anyway? Don’t they realize that abortion is just a fact of life and it’s time to move on?

We’re way into more important stuff now. Our method is to put it under this cool, modern-Christian bubble called “social justice.” It means that we can focus on stuff that Democrats get excited about, stuff like AIDS relief, anti-genocide measures (oh, but ONLY in places like Tibet or Darfur that have no oil — if they have oil and we intervene, we might accidentally look conservative again), and poverty relief. We can totally exploit the fact that the old, stuffy version of the church has overlooked these “social justice” issues and use that to further differentiate ourselves from them.

Sure it means we have to turn a blind eye to the abortion issue, but we’re really over that, right? They’re just babies, right? Fetuses, even. We’re educating ourselves so that we can just dismiss the notion that those fetuses are people. See how educated we are? We’re so freaking awesome!

And even if all this stuff that those stodgy old Republicans are saying comes to pass, if we elect Obama and we end up paying a steep price for it, if morality falters and that old version of Christianity fades into obscurity, it won’t matter, because we’ll be the cool new Christians, the ones who have abandoned all of our old Christian identity for this cooler version of Christianity that we’ve created. It will all have been worth it, because nobody will confuse us with those uncool, conservative Christians of the past. They’ll know that we’re modern, free-thinkers, and that’s all that matters.