Elect Local, Ask Global

Overall, tonight’s presidential debate revealed the positions of the two candidates clearly. Two very opposing viewpoints were made clear. In light of this, one might say it was a tie. In light of the content of the differences, I would say that it is a loss for Sen. Kerry.

John Kerry is dangerous for America. As he stated tonight, preemptive action to protect America must pass the “global test.” This, more than any other tenet of Kerry’s doctrine, would propel the United States along a path that it hasn’t known throughout its history. Kerry’s philosophy usurps the sovereign freedom of the United States by seeking international approval for our actions.

Kerry is indeed a man of contradiction and “nuance.” He says that Iraq is a mistake, yet claims he can win this “wrong war.” His nuanced style did stand in stark contrast to President Bush tonight. In his closing remarks, Kerry disdained the certainty of President Bush. By default, this makes John Kerry the candidate of uncertainty.

We cannot let this man win.

In the Arena

There’s something almost gladitorial about watching a debate. Think about it—two grown men sparring with each other, using ideas, words, guestures, and makeup as weapons. OK, the analogy does break down, but there is something that excites one’s spirits when viewing this phenomenon.

Perhaps it’s watching the candidates sweat bullets when given a tough question—though admittedly the tough questions are few and far between. Or, maybe it’s the joy one receives in eliciting an “ahah!” when a candidate answers a different question than the one he was intitally asked. Seldom does a question’s answer even remotely resemble what was asked in a debate.

Or maybe it’s just the anticipation of the quotables that never fail to emerge from such venues. I think of an aging Ronald Reagan winning a debate with Mondale with a single joke:

“I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

Then there was Lloyd Bentsen’s unseating of Dan Qualye with the words:

“Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

The 2000 debates saw Al Gore talking about “lockboxes” and Bush accusing him of “fuzzy math.” Perhaps even better than the quips from the debates are the SNL parodies that come afterward.

What will come out of the arena of the 2004 debates? Will John Kerry talk endlessly about Vietnam? Will President Bush accuse Kerry of using “fuzzy English” in his answers? Time will answer these questions, and we, the people will give the gladiators the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.”

Proper Filtering

Albert Mohler has a great two-part essay [part one, part two] on “Christian Citizens and the News Media” that should be required reading before you next partake of the news. Mohler asks:

The really important question is this: Are we any wiser? The explosion of media access has provided some real benefits for viewers. Competition has led to improvements in both style and substance, and the expanding number of news organizations has added new checks and balances to the system. Still, much of the additional coverage is more concerned with “infotainment” than information or analysis. Furthermore, many citizens feel as if they are drowning in an ocean of competing reports and programs.

Mohler offers some helpful insights on news consumption—a skill that is becoming more and more necessary to hone. A quick look at any cable news outlet reveals a talking head with a graphic over his/her shoulder, a “ticker” scrolling at the bottom just in case you like to read your news, and a “coming up next” blurb on the side, just so you don’t miss it.

And that’s just cable TV! Now there are blogs with countless links to click, stories to read, and photos to see. If we’re not careful, we’ll spend all our time consuming the news and emerge none the wiser. A proper filter is crucial to using the knowledge we gain from the media wisely.

Trepid Homecoming

Vols 42, Bulldogs 17

Ainge to Smith for TD!

The above photo is Erik Ainge’s third quarter pass to Bret Smith for a Tennessee touchdown. As you can see, this shot streched the limits of the 3x optical zoom on my camera (that’s the ball about 2m above Smith in the end zone). My brother, a man who knows how to get things from time to time, scored us tickets in the east skybox of Neyland Stadium where the view was incredible.

The score (which was not too far from what I predicted) wasn’t really indicative of some major problems in Tennessee’s defense. Louisiana Tech’s early lead caught many off guard. An impressive Ryan Moats gave the Vols’ defensive line trouble, and the secondary looked poor at times too. Perhaps defensive coordinator Johnny Chavis needs to do some hollerin’ this week before we take on Auburn…

It’s looking more and more like Erik Ainge is assuming lead quarterback spot—not to fault Brent Schaeffer at all. Both QB’s showed much more poise than last week—especially while being pressured on the blitz.

Last year’s game with Auburn broke our momentum for the season. Let’s hope revenge is sweet.

Blogosphere Roundup

Here’s a few notable things happening in the blogosphere:

Joe Carter has some words for those who would be frightened at John Kerry’s allegations that the draft will be reinstated if Bush is re-elected.

John Bush is back from an extended blogging hiatus at Le Sabot Post-Moderne (only to leave again—but only for a couple of weeks!). I know of few other bloggers who can say so much in so few words.

Thunderstruck.org, a “truck stop for the sould,” is a good resource for religion-related links. I just found it yesterday via an NRO article and looks pretty helpful.

One of the burly axe-swingers at The Rough Woodsman has a good thread on the whole sovereignty of God/human freedom issue. It’s a good primer on the question if you’re new to the debate—follow the comments especially.

And finally, the JollyBlogger has set up a “League of Reformed Bloggers” aggregator. It looks to be a good coalition, so if you’re a blogger and can agree to the guidelines, join up!

Kerry and Our Allies

Although John Kerry portrays himself as the candidate who will restore America’s image in the world, he’s certainly not above disparaging our allies. Kerry’s dismissal of Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi’s statements in a speech to a joint session of Congress (which, of course, Sen. Kerry didn’t attend) is certainly not a “bridge builder” with allies such as Iraq.

It seems Sen. Kerry only wants to impress certain allies without regard to others. I’m aware that Kerry can’t practice his French with Prime Minister Allawi, but zut alors!

An Instrument of Fire

When James says that the “tongue is a fire,” he means to show that what we say can cause catastrophic damage. Blogger Euguene Volokh points out one such catastrophe in recent comments made by Jimmy Swaggart. Swaggart, the televangelist who once fell from prominence after he was found with a prostitute, apparently made the following comments regarding homosexuals:

I’m trying to find the correct name for it . . . this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men. . . . I’ve never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I’m gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I’m gonna kill him and tell God he died.

Volokh makes the argument that Christians should speak out against such statements, and I agree. While I do think homosexual behavior is wrong (as do I extra-marital heterosexual behavior), there is no place for talk like this in Christian life, much less ministry.

Rhetoric such as Swaggart’s hurts his ministry as much (if not more) than his run-in with a prostitute. Its Fred Phelps-like inflammatory nature is in part the reason that many homosexuals think Christians hate them. There’s nothing within Christian doctrine that allows for killing of homosexuals. And whether he really meant it or not, Swaggart should be disciplined by his church for such a quip. This will not happen, of course, because Swaggart’s “church” is actually a “ministry” that bears his own name.

UPDATE: See also Joe Carter’s post on this from last night.