Note:I’ve promised you a blog that is politics and religion free. This blog slightly violates that promise… in the spirit of the post.
Last night, I laughed so uncontrollably, I had to work to catch my breath. When is the last time that happened to you? Oh, it felt so good. What provoked it? I was watching a goofy late night TV show and there was an infomercial for a *flashlight. Oh no, this wasn’t any ordinary flashlight. This was a flashlight so powerful, it could still function even after being pulled out of a vat of boiling oil in a basket of french fries. Seriously. This sucker was in a basket of fries immersed in bubbling hot oil. Well, send me two, because you don’t know how often I’ve deep fried my flashlight, and it hasn’t worked after that. I’m telling you, I howled like a rabid dog. Promises, promises.
Nine hours later, I was watching a Sunday morning news story and listened to a speaker pontificate about all the promises his presidential candidate pledged to save America from itself. Then he suggested this election should focus on character, and his candidate would clearly emerge the victor. Even he didn’t have confidence in the promises, I thought. Frankly, I’m not sure this presidential campaign is all that different from most – promises, promises. These two candidates however, are such lighting rods for controversy that plans to implement get lost in the rhetoric.
Two hours later, I was in church listening to a sermon by Joe, our summer intern. He used the Gospel to draw the correlation between pride and self-control, in a way I’ve never heard before (or if I did, I’ve forgotten.) And he left us with this quote by St. Francis of Assisi: Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.
Frankly, as I took my walk this afternoon, I reflected more and more on his message, and its application to our presidential race. For me, it’s a living illustration of how pride leads to self-control – pride in our country and its citizens, pride in the office of president, pride in the three branches of government, the list goes on. Further, what can we tell by the actions of the candidates, today and yesterday, especially when the cameras are off? Shouldn’t that be enough to tell us everything we need to know about how they’d govern? Think of a campaign without hurtful, spiteful words, and empty promises.
You made me promises, promises
You knew you’d never keep
Why do I believe?
(Naked Eyes, 1983)
In the end, I’m left contemplating the promises – a wall separating Mexico from the US, not interested. Free college tuition, not practical. A flashlight that can survive third degree burns? That’s looking like the best promise. Isn’t that sad?