Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Two Good Men

I just ran across a two-week old interview in Time Magazine in which Barack Obama was asked to list a few things he admires about his opponent. Here's what he said:
He strikes me as somebody who is very disciplined. And I think that that is a quality that obviously contributed to his success as a private-equity guy. I think he takes his faith very seriously. And as somebody who takes my Christian faith seriously, I appreciate that he seems to walk the walk and not just be talking the talk when it comes to his participation in his church.
For all the clamor and contention of politics, I am certainly grateful to have two candidates to choose from who value both hard work and humility. And I'm touched to think that both Presidential candidates seem to have strong faith rooted in their personal experiences seeing Christian service in action and not out of any desire for political gain--in a way, it's strangely comforting to see this level of success for two faithful followers of Jesus who so many Americans are unwilling to accept as "Christian."

Personally, I prefer Obama's policies to Romney's. I admired his determination to expand Americans' access to health care and  would love to see him defend it (even if his program turns out not to work, I have a soft spot for noble failure). I thought he did an excellent behind-the-scenes job finding the right level of response to the Libyan crisis and would love to have him serve for another four years as the face of American government to countries around the world.

That said, I respect Romney's strong personal commitment to service and community. In the long term, I think volunteer service is better than bureaucracy, and if more people freely gave as much of their time, energy, and resources to others as he has, his running mate's debt-slashing policies would probably work just fine. Since most Americans don't live in service-driven communities, I'm skeptical--but I think Romney's failure would be every bit as noble as Obama's.

Their hearts are good--even if contemporary campaign culture often makes them pettier than they need to be. They both seem to be trying hard to do what's right and what they think is best for the country--even if they turn out to be wrong.

So can we give them some credit for that? We have to choose which candidate to vote for, but most of us don't have a professional or personal obligation to despise the other.

Can we judge these men, perhaps, as we might want to be judged? 


  1. Thanks for the thoughtful, and even-tempered post.

  2. LOVE this post. I would also add that both are devoted family-men who are faithful to their wife and children. In spite of the "machine" around politics, I am grateful that two decent and devoted human beings are who's running. It could be SO much worse

  3. Thank you. It is nice to read something nice for a change!

  4. Loved this--very nice! I think I will share it!

  5. Wow, if everyone thought as optimistically as you, there would be no politics. Very refreshing.

  6. striking that there is nothing negative



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