During the Election season, I was impelled to write letters to the editor of my local paper, West Hawaii Today. Here is one.
Bruce Campbell posed a challenging question in the Sept. 1 letters to the editor. It’s a device — posing a question but embedding the answer he wants you to come to. He does it twice, the first time when he refers to 80% of “reporters” who consider themselves liberal. I could find no current credible source for this, but he planted a notion of reporter bias that is not backed by evidence. I did find a good study that concluded “no liberal bias in what political journalists choose to cover.” (Google terms: journalists political party)
The second time he did it is in his conclusion, asking if it is “progressive” to be moving God further from the equation. He is planting the notion that “progressive” means away from God. I’m assuming he means progressive politics, which is to make progress towards the ideals of democracy. When church people try to exert power in government, there is a danger of religious tyranny which was so strong it compelled the pilgrims to settle the colonies. It was so important that separation of church and state became a founding principle. While some practices, like slavery, change over time in the pursuit of justice, religious freedom still rightfully holds.
Religions and churches can be a community of support for each other to live what it means to be closer to God. For Christianity, It doesn’t get much clearer than: Love thy neighbor as thyself. All religions have a version of this essential tenet. We do need to have some kind of moral compass.
As a “progressive,” I am guided by a desire for a world that is more empathetic, humane, loving, and just. That, to me, is closer to God. Rather than just proclaim our godliness, we need to look for evidence, even in our opinions. For example, where do you stand in the Kenosha case? With the 17-year-old vigilante murderer or the Black father shot in the back seven times? With white supremacists or Black Lives Matter protesters? With an America who gives hope to asylum seekers or the one who pulls children from their parents to discourage it? What is closer to God?
Rather than leave you with an embedded question, I will make a statement: Please vote for the candidate who most embodies your values. Biden may not be the most progressive, but he embodies more empathy and hope for justice than the other choice. By far.
Diane Aoki is a resident of Kealakekua
Diane Aoki is a writer who explores other modes of creativity as her intuition leads her.