Eugene Cho

politics and lent – super fat tuesday

Fat Tuesday.  Pancake Day.  Day of Ashes tomorrow and off we go into the Lent season. What better way to reflect upon the Lent season but to discuss the political process during this Super Tuesday.  Huh? 

Today, Fat Tuesday and Super Tuesday converged on the same day and as I was scrolling through by blog feeds, I read this thought provoking post from Al Hsu over at The Suburban Christian.  It makes you reflect on some issues of faith and politics as we enter into the Lent season:

An Associated Press news story reports, “Sens. Clinton and Obama each poured more than $1 million a day into TV ads in the last week alone; Clinton buying an hour on the Hallmark Channel for a town hall meeting on Monday night, Obama seeing some $250,000 disappear in 30 seconds in his Super Bowl ad a day earlier.”

Yikes. That’s $8333.33 a second. So if someone contributed $50 to the campaign, that $50 would have bought a mere 1/167th of a second of a Super Bowl ad. I understand that money and advertising are necessary components to elections, but it all seems so ephemeral. Some estimate that the candidates are going to spend a combined half billion or more this election season. Which feels like typical American overblownness – a lot of other countries have much shorter election seasons and spend far less money.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the candidates declared a cease fire for Lent and stopped spending money on commercials? Wouldn’t it be great if the candidates used that money elsewhere, to actually accomplish some of the things they’ve been talking about, in terms of reducing poverty, providing international aid and development, covering health care costs and improving education? A half billion might be a drop in the bucket compared to the multi-trillion national budget, but still, that could accomplish a lot more concrete, tangible good than TV commercials that will disappear like vapor. [read entire entry]

Why does this sound so refreshing?  Seriously.  I’ve always believed that America would be better off if somehow the political process allowed for each candidate to receive the same amount of advertisement – particularly on television and newspapers.  How cool would it be if television stations and newspaper outlets – as a service to the American people – gave free equal advertisement to each legitimate candidate for a certain period of time leading up to the primaries and elections?  This way, candidates could stop raising so much damn money and have mandatory, quality, sit down conversations, debates, and think tank discussions on “how” they intend lead. 

Free advertisement.  Restricted fundraising and cap amount for each candidate.  Shorter election season.  What are some of your suggestions?

One more suggestion:  I’d like to give each legitimate candidate an hour hour slot on prime time [via internet maybe?] where they are given some pens and a giganormous whiteboard with the simple instruction:  Map out your hypothetical presidency.

Filed under: politics, religion, , ,

2 Responses

  1. franksabunch says:

    I’ve always held true to the notion–whether accurate or not–that in the modern era, being the president of the United States is incompatible with being a Christian that actively walks and operates according to the faith. Politics is by nature a dirty game and there’s no way one can rise that high without playing in this game where, ironically, following the rules means breaking them.

    That aside I would isolate each candidate from their aides/speech writers for 1 week then sit them in a room with a pen and paper and ask them to write down what they love about this country what they think they can provide the American people. AND ban the rest of the United States from seeing what they look like (impossible, I know) since Americans tend to vote on style and not substance. If TV, internet and Geraldo (Lord forbid) existed back during the 1800s, an ugly guy but bomb diggity speaker like Honest Abe would have never been elected president and slavery could’ve existed until the turn of the century. I can’t remember the last time I heard a presidential candidate give a speech that actually moved me.

  2. Derek says:

    Anything to support campaign reform…

    It appears that McCain is the clear Republican candidate and neck to neck with Obama and Clinton.

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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