Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tim Kaine

In last evening’s Democratic response to the State of the Union Address we finally got what many of us have asked for and just as many have been afraid was coming. Tim Kaine, governor of Virginia, seems a true dyed in the wool Christian Democrat and was given one of the ultimate arenas along with the personal verbal room to acknowledge several times his faith while succinctly stating a party line in contrast with the current administration. As much as I applaud Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia I know there are those in the party saying, “Oh crap, here we go.” While I do thank Governor Kaine and the DNC for choosing him as the party’s spokesperson, I also recognize that those who are glad to call themselves the true liberals of the party may well be up in arms over the governor’s repeated use of faithful adjectives throughout his speech.

Some of Governor Kaine’s faith verbiage even bugged me at first, and it took a while to figure out why it shouldn’t have. As a Christian I have always been sensitive to the use of buzzwords by the Christian and Christian Fundamentalist Right. For so long I’ve heard the right speaking familiar faithful phrases throughout their speeches that there is an association between the two. Faithspeak = the Regressive Right. When I heard it coming from a chosen Democrat, in the same peppered way, it just didn’t seem to fit. It all sounded so familiar and so … so … Conservative Republican. I’ve heard it from them for so long that it seems they own it.

Well, they don’t.

Governor Tim Kaine delivered a speech he most certainly had a significant hand in writing, especially in the personalizing points of faith. It sounds as it does because the progressive Christians have the same basic faith as the conservative (often fundamentalist) Christians. While there are vast differences in the more specific theologies and implementations of faith, the faithful of both parties have a similar connection to their perceived (and for us I’ll say known) God and they express it in similar manner. We all use the word “pray” as a verb because to us it is active, when we hear “good news” we want to capitalize it for its evangelical connotation, we like to acknowledge a creator when speaking of great things because anything we do pales in comparison to creation. It is all a shared expression of humility, some just get it wrong in the actions they take on the public behalf.

To explain the difference between the Christian camps is huge and complex in logarithmic scale, much more intricate than the difference between Democrats and Republicans. I can draw a simple line, though: progressives tend more to follow the God of love while fundamentalists tend to follow the God of wrath. Both are in the Bible. Both can be considered pure faith by the respective congregations. If you are of faith or have studied the current landscape you see this; if you don’t want to consider faith at all, this is probably already more than you wanted.

I’m thankful for the media coverage of Tim Kaine’s speech, and for all that was said. His response to the State of the Union clearly defined a party line that works for all. We want the same things: health care, fiscal responsibility, and privacy respected. We want good jobs and fair pay, not corporate greed and tax breaks for the wealthiest few. We want campaign reform and honest public servants. We want great infrastructure in the form of schools, police, firefighters, hospitals, roads, water and energy and we want it all bought with a smart system, thrift in fact. We want Security, yes with a capitol “S” we want Security. Here at home on our national boarders, in our cities, towns and rural areas, too. Without a doubt or a moments hesitation yes, we want to stop terrorists in their tracks wherever they are. And we support our troops, the guys on the line, doing their best to make what was started wrongly, right.

So if you, like me, were a little taken aback by Gov. Kaine’s delivery, judge him by his actions on behalf of the people. That is what public service is all about. For me, the faithspeak is a nice plus to an apparent good public servant. But the more important part of the statement is “good public servant.” We need more of those.


Blogger Jeff said...

Excellent post!! I also thought that Kaine did a wonderful job, and I'm a little dismayed by the criticism from the left about his speech. It sounded much closer to what I believe and want out of a politician than anything that I have heard in years. I found it refreshing.

2/01/2006 9:43 AM  

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