election reflection

The Rugby World Cup Final and now the National Election. Two sporting occasions in one month. I love it. I can't wait to pull my chair a little closer to the screen on Saturday and watch the contest unravel.

Some things have not surprised me.
The surge in support for the Greens. The humbling of John Key (Kiwis would never let that smug cockiness get that far ahead in the polls without bringing the poppy down to size - it had to happen).

Some things have surprised me.
I never, ever picked the resurgence of Winston Peters - nor can I believe that Peter Dunne is entering this election with the same haircut as last time.

As a Christian and as a citizen, I always struggle to know which way to vote. People who find it easy or go the same way every time really surprise me. It doesn't look that easy to me. There are so many tensions and continuums filling my field of vision. Very generally speaking and written by an amateur with partial understanding, here are some of them:

Personal ethics (those leaning to the right) vs social ethics (those leaning to the left). I want to lean both ways at the same time. Both abortion and poverty trouble me deeply, even equally.

More punitive justice (lots of fairness to the letter of the law; lean to the right) vs more restorative justice (a little grace within the spirit of the law; lean to the left). I think I lean more to the left. Locking them up just cannot be the answer all the time.

Wealth creation (those leaning to the right) vs wealth distribution (those leaning to the left). I think I lean more to the left. But I sure see the importance of creating the stuff in the first place.

Individual initiative (those leaning to the right) vs communal responsibility (those leaning to the left). I think I lean more to the right. A close call - but some aspects of the welfare state just cannot be good for us.

Appealing to self-interest vs appealing to national and global interest. I think I can rise above merely voting for what is in my best interests. There is a lot to like about the Greens on this one.

The personality of a political leader vs the policy of a political party. I want to lean both ways at the same time. Leadership is critical, character is important and it is not just about policy. This one could make me vote for Tariana, Pita and the Maori Party.

MMP vs the others. I have to look more closely at this through the course of this final week. It has not been a hot issue for me. All I know is that I won't vote for returning to FPP. Another personal 'beef' for me in parliamentary politics (which impacts my voting) is that I watch those in opposition to see whether they can ever say anything positive about the people and policies of those in power. If they can, their integrity builds a little in my eyes. Sadly, Phil Goff has been one of the poorest at doing this in recent times. And isn't it good to see the demise of so-called Christian parties? The whole idea is wrong-headed as a means of influencing society.

So, as you can see, I am far from decided.
"The televised debate tonight will sort me out. Yeah Right"

nice chatting



not a wild hera said…
A little aside, as you mention abortion - there was some good news on that front today: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/health/news/article.cfm?c_id=204&objectid=10767558
Heather said…
Thanks for this - I appreciated being able to look through your thought processess.  I haven't decided which party to vote for yet - crunch day today! - but I've blogged about the process I've been going through in making my decision.  In case you're interested, the posts are here, here and here.  I've tried to look at what the Bible has to say about secular leadership (even though that isn't a hugely Biblical concept...), and then tried to work out how to apply that to 21st century NZ.  I'd be very interested in your thoughts on my process, too, should you have any.
Fred said…
Thanks for the reviews Paul… I certainly want to read Solomon Among the Postmoderns – and hey, there ya go, another Brazos imprint! Here’s something for your “from the sublime…” file. I’ve just read a delightful little book – only 98 pages – by the satirist Tom Wolfe. The Painted Word is a jaunt through the modern art movements of the last 100 years… showing how the “artists of bohemia” and their cultured patrons have, with increasing desperation, sought to rid image of everything literary (realistic). The journey in art from “seeing is believing” to “believing is seeing”. The irony of how Modern Art “has become completely literary: the paintings and other works existing only to illustrate the text… Art Theory pure and simple, words on a page, literature undefiled by vision…”. Not only an entertaining read, but when read though a theological lens, also hugely enlightening. Just the stuff for summer holidays!
Fred said…
Silly me... first time I try and post a comment, and what do I do? Post it in the wrong place! I'll try again - hopefully I'll get it right (under Dec 24)

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