Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Religion and Politics

Obama gave a history-making speech yesterday in which he addressed us all as if we had a modicum of intelligence. The speech was about race in America, but it was also about religion, or rather the religion that takes place in churches. (Note: It's about 37 minutes plus!) The religion that takes place in churches affects politics in Dryden at all levels. Our team's losses in the village election last night ensure that a radical religious right component endures in Dryden's government at all levels save the town board (this year, anyway). By rrr, I refer to folks for whom politics tends to begin and end with the products of pregnancy.

To be fair, I have never particularly noticed that this bias affects the work of the people in office. After all, County Legislators don't appoint Supreme Court Justices. Village Trustees have little to do with stem cell research. School board members, although they may register complaints, cannot unilaterally determine what is taught or what books are used.

Nevertheless, in small town politics, elections are typically more about popularity than about real-life issues, and that being the case, bloc voting becomes a very successful tool. Our usual methods of party politics--door-to-door, signs, advertising, letter writing--cannot defend against the stealth politics of candidates with a built-in following.

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