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Ideas and Elections

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.”

The preceding sentence was said by the late President John F. Kennedy and in many respects it’s the theme of this blog. My desire is to explore the power of ideas as well as the expression of those ideas. Why? Well, because I believe I am a work in progress (and maybe I am not alone) and that I live in a world that is trying to make progress. Undergirding all of this progressive optimism are ideas.

Many Christians call the systematic formulation of these ideas a ‘worldview’ and that’s not a bad phrase. But, some ideas, if we’re honest, aren’t always that clear in our head and so it’s difficult to organize them neatly and label them effectively.   Let’s take the idea of capitalism and/or free market economics.

Is the idea a good one or is the idea good because we’ve all benefited from the results? Let’s take another idea like intelligent design. The mathematical possibility that our molecules would end up in their proper place to support our own life on this planet is staggering if left to chance. So, why the fuss about faith in a Creator?

Our own Declaration of Independence says that we have ‘inalienable rights,’ and most Americans would bleed before giving those rights up. But, what does the word ‘inalienable,’ mean?

The definition is this: “not transferable to another or capable of being repudiated” says one dictionary and Webster says this: “incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred.” These rights cannot be taken away by definition. So, by extrapolation, they must have come from outside of ourselves or as our Founding Fathers put it: ‘endowed by our Creator.’

So, what does this have to do with voting and elections?  Precisely this: isn’t every election not only about a person, but about ideas as well? We don’t simply vote for this man we like or this woman we like, but we vote on a set of ideas we like. Yet, let’s be honest, we vote not only for ideas we like, but we vote also for the expression of those ideas. How does the candidate communicate ideas is just as important to us, at times, as what the ideas actually are.

Look at the expression of ideas in Egypt recently by the lengthy protests. The ideas were communicated effectively, don’t you think? The recent GOP debate in New Hampshire was also fascinating (although I could have done without John King’s constant interruptions) because people wanted to see not only what was going to be said, but how it was going to be said.

So, how do you respond best to ideas? It’s worth paying attention to as the Presidential campaign gears up and as you interact with the flood of information coming from the web, social media, and four corners of the earth. Do you respond to ideas better visually or on paper? Do you want to discover something in a story or feel something in a poem? Do you want to be informed or inspired or both? My guess is this: how you answer these questions will directly impact who you vote for in 2012.



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When it comes to elections, we should be careful to the people we are voting for. It is very necessary to have some research about the candidates. - Instant Tax Solutions Review

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As a University director of study abroad in Central Texas, ideas and stories matter. These reflections are for pilgrims making progress.