I missed Blog Action Day

October 17, 2008

activism / culture / politics

Sadly, I missed Blog Action Day Wednesday. Not for any particular reason; I had planned for some time to write something, and missed it (which, of course, would have been the benefit of scheduling a post a while ago). More sadly, both of our presidential candidates missed its topic during the debate, as well.

If you are unaware, Blog Action Day is an annual event designed to raise awareness and discussion of a single issue across the blogosphere, and this year’s issue was global poverty.

One thing that has struck me over the last few weeks is the rise in the public opinions of Barack Obama as the state of the economy has fallen. I have seen voters who see the economy as “the issue” of this election, and are worried about their 401k, their taxes, their financial future, etc.

They are willing to switch from voting for John McCain to voting for Barack Obama simply because of their own finances. Regardless of the actual impact that either candidate will have on personal finances, why is this “the issue”? Why are we still unable to get our collective heads out of our collective cracks and look around at the poor of our country and the poor of the rest of the world, at the oppression we cause and overlook, and at the potentials and horrible dangers of our environmental position? None of these issues were mentioned to any depth in the final debate, because of the importance the economy is being given as “the issue.”

And why “the issue” always so selfish? In 2004, Republicans were able to decimate the idea of a broad political agenda among Evangelicals by pandering to the monolithic idea of conservative values, and in this election (thank God) this has not happened to the same extent. Several months ago, voters were leaning toward John McCain because of his monolithic foreign policy views. Because he was willing to use the rhetoric of imperialism abroad and fear at home, he was ahead of Barack Obama, who was willing to use the rhetoric of dialogue abroad and hope at home.

Of course, I’m happy that Barack Obama is ahead by a growing margin. I want him to win. But I am disgusted by our selfishness, our greed, and our indifference.

A final thought for Blog Action Day, and for those of us who will spend the next year attempting to work for justice. Tony Campolo says this in The God of Intimacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices, Evangelism, and Justice:

When you are committed to evangelism and justice, it will not be long before you see how much needs to be done, how urgent those needs are, and how few are really doing anything. We can then easily fall into temptation of working to compensate for others' lack of loving action: so much that we do not take the time to strengthen our own inner lives in Christ. Worse yet, we may not even recognize the need for inner spiritual renewal. But if we do not take the time to nourish our lives in time with Christ, our capacity for effectiveness will decline and our ability to long endure in our efforts will fade.

May we exist in and nourish our intimacy with Christ. May we bring the needs of justice to him, and not forget to bring him with us to the needs of justice.