Choosing the right operating system for your plans

Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell told the Christian Broadcasting Network last week that that she believes it was God … Continued

Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell told the Christian Broadcasting Network last week that that she believes it was God plan for her to campaign and ultimately, to win:

“God continued to strengthen and empower us when, you know, His strength is perfected in our weakness. And that’s what’s exciting because you see, that if it weren’t for faith, when all logic said it’s time to quit, we pursued. We marched on because we knew God was not releasing us to quit. And now with such an important lame duck session you realize why we were to endure all that stuff.”

How should constituents interpret statements by politicians who see their campaigns and causes as part of God’s plan? How do you decipher God’s intentions for you?

“God continued to strengthen and empower us when, you know, His strength is perfected in our weakness. And that’s what’s exciting because you see, that if it weren’t for faith, when all logic said it’s time to quit, we pursued. We marched on because we knew God was not releasing us to quit. And now with such an important lame duck session you realize why we were to endure all that stuff.”

Religiously, I am in a mixed marriage: my wife devoutly uses Mac products, but I grew up worshiping at the Church of Windows. Both operating systems are in our houses and in our brief cases, and I have noticed that there are things I will try on one operating system and not the other.

Working with our Apple products is like living in a benevolent aristocracy. You can do less, but what you are allowed to do, you can do easily and with pleasure. If Apple forbids an activity, then I do not consider doing it, because the benefits are never worth the pain.  On the other hand, Windows 7 gives me many more options and software choices, and many people not working for Microsoft write software to get things to happen on Windows machines that supposedly cannot be done. Nothing works as easily or as elegantly as on a Mac (I am talking about you Window’s Media Center), but third parties allow you to do some amazing and unexpected things poorly!

In short, depending on the operating system with which I start, my possibilities are different. Start with the wrong OS for the wrong job and everything will be harder.

This analogy works for me when I consider voting for a candidate. Before knowing anything else, I want to know the political OS of the candidate. If I focus too much on particular things a candidate says in the heat of an election or the opposition research on my screens, then I may make a bad choice.

No politician deserves our trust and every pol will let us down. We don’t get to vote for Jesus. No party has a monopoly on virtue, but one party has the right OS for our time. The deeply flawed Republican Party has spent too much, stolen too often, and disappointed Americans by being inconsistent with stated values, but the values are the right ones.

The other party does not have to be hypocritical in order to spend and tax more. They are consistent when they grow the size of the Federal government. At least with Republicans, the primary voters (as Mike Castle of Delaware knows to his regret) might throw the hypocrites out.

Christianity demands we love our neighbor, help the poor, and enable strong families. It is hard to know the best way to do this, but experience mostly has shown that great political liberty combined with strong private morality is the best way to go. Caught between twin assaults from big government and secularists or libertines interested only in personal peace and affluence, America may become a nation with less liberty and weak private morality.

O’Donnell has the best OS for our times. She supports liberty and strong personal moral standards.

Christine O’Donnell would not have gotten my vote in the Delaware primary, but she would in the general election. Nothing in her background suggests she is particularly qualified for the office, but her opponent is particularly unqualified for it at this time in our history. The voters of Delaware are not electing a resume, but they are picking a voter for the Senate.

On the Supreme Court, O’Donnell will vote for a Scalia, her opponent a Kagan. Delaware voters must decide the justice that best supports their values.

If you searched Delaware there is no doubt you could find better people to sit in the Senate than either candidate, but those are not the choices the voters have.

O’Donnell believes in God, limited government, and the vision of the Founders for this great nation. Her OS is sound, though early in her life she had difficulty integrating that sound view with the world. This may continue, but her trajectory is sound. Her teachers and background indicate intellectual curiosity and a willingness to take risks, but also an ability to settle into mainstream views over time.

This is not the worst situation for a new senator, but it is particularly attractive when compared to her opponent. Her opponent is a typical politician with utterly predictable ideas and no political imagination. So far as I can tell, his political OS when faced with a problem will demand more: government programs, tax money, and power to the state.

He will likely say fewer foolish things over time than O’Donnell, but do more consistently awful things. Given the choices, voters should pick the person as senator least likely to do harm and most likely to grow in office: Christine O’Donnell.

Can she win? Joe Biden’s election to the Senate proves the voters of that state have a high tolerance for politicians who often say foolish things. O’Donnell may start by speaking with the wisdom of Joe Biden, but she is most likely to vote for the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln.

Since we cannot get both settled intellectual maturity and good actions, Delaware voters should pick the OS most likely to good in the situation our nation now faces. One candidate will spend and tax more, the other candidate will tend to spend less and tax less. One candidate will make the Constitution fit his needs, while the other will try to limit her actions to the Constitution.

Which is the OS most likely to lead to our prosperity?

Of course voters must hope O’Donnell continues her trend of growing out of bad speculative ideas, but in Delaware it should be easy to get rid of a Republican senator who does not grow in office. On the other hand, elect her opponent and he will be in office for decades continuing his long career of predictably foolish actions.

A good example of her need to grow is her artless statement that God wants her to run and win. That statement is a kludge, a hack bit of theology that should be abandoned. If she simply meant that she tries to do what God wants, she should say this and leave it at that. If she personally believes she is obeying God and He will give her success, wisdom says to keep personal revelation personal.

She should go read her Augustine: God’s providence is not always easy to discern in the details of daily history. Personally God may comfort His children by drawing aside the curtain a bit, but that knowledge is not for the rest of us. Too much public confidence in private prayers may indicate pride, a dangerous quality in a politician.

If O’Donnell meant that she knows God wants her to win, she might be right, but she is probably guilty of a bad theology. At least she has shown the willingness to abandon bad theology in the past, so we can hope that soon she will clarify her statement.

When I go to buy personal electronics, it is easy to imagine better choices. I wish for the flexibility of my netbook with the ease and stability of the iPad. Those are not choices Target is giving me so I must settle for the OS that best meets my needs. Christian voters will find much to dislike in either the Republican or Democratic Parties, but they must choose, because those are the choices available. We will get imperfect pols and no Utopia.

If I were a Delaware voter, I would pick the candidate with the OS most likely to recall to her mind that Utopia will not come this side of God’s Paradise and that no politician can be trusted: Christine O’Donnell.

John Mark Reynolds
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  • david6

    “Which is the OS most likely to lead to our prosperity?”Republicans led us into the Great Depression and the Great Recession. Your allegation that their opposition to big government will help the poor has been proven to be false. Why would you repeat that canard?Republicans have made it a platform of their party not to help the poor, not to help the sick, not to help children, not to help the elderly. You imagine that somehow these groups will be helped by being actively opposed by the political party that you endorse.Have you also chosen Ayn Rand over Jesus?I guess you didn’t read about knowing a Christian by their fruits. I have. I see no reason to believe that you are a Christian. When did your university throw away the Bible?

  • kenk3

    How does Reynolds get a column in WashPost with this gibberish.People like him are disgusting, and he’s a supporter of that mindless fruitcake Odonnell.I’m so happy I don’t know anyone like Reynolds in life. If I do meet someone like him, I’ll do my best to ignore them.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    The Republican Party is racist, and Christine O’Donnell is a dim wit. “She should go read her Augustine … “I doubt that she’s going to read “her Augustine” because I doubt that she has ever even heard of Augustine.Children are sweet and innocent, too, but does that qualify them for public office, even in the supposed eyes of God?

  • amelia45

    John Mark would do much better to get to the point. It is so hard to wade through the chaff to get to the wheat.The problem with voting for O’Donnell is that she is a dingbat. She has problems paying her bills, repeatedly. Which makes me question her ability to make judgements about what she should and should not do. I question her honor, that she will put herself in debt and then let the debt holder eat the paper. I suppose God told her to do that, too.

  • bigbrother1

    I feel very sorry for any student unfortunate enough to have Reynolds as their professor.

  • prestoj

    Well, if you do happen to believe that God has a plan for something as cosmically mundane as the choice of who will occupy the junior senator’s seat from Delaware, don’t discount the possibility that His plan may be to punish the Seanate for becoming so inanely self-serving and hypocritical.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    I could see God taking an interest in the Senate election in a state like California or New York, or even Texas.But Delaware?Come on!

  • bigbrother1

    Y’know…is anybody else creeped out by John Mark Reynold’s Creepy McCreepmeister stare? Really, it’s physically painful to look at that picture for even a second. I don’t want to know what’s REALLY going on behind those eyes.

  • pjs1965

    Mr. Reynolds, Drop this limiting black-and-white either-or all-or-nothing “you’re either with us or you’re against us” thinking and run Linux. It will expand your horizons.And by the way, please read the Constitution — the Operating System for our government. It makes very clear that the U.S. government is a SECULAR instituion, so keep you God out of it!

  • areyousaying

    O’Donnell has the best OS for our times. She supports liberty and strong personal moral standards.One of three possibilities: 1. Reynolds is kidding.

  • trbajaz

    Personally I think you and Ms. O’Donnell are nuts!

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    And she has never been married; doesn’t that make her sexual orientation suspect? That is the Republican boogy man, isn’t it? The gays are gonna getcha, and you can never be sure where they are; they can be sitting right next to you in church, even, so, everybody, BEWARE.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Poor God; he sure made a mess, didn’t he?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    I can just see God, driving his Caddilac in Heaven (he always buys American) with a bumper sticker that says, “I created the entire universe, and all I got out of it is Chrissy O’Donnell’s run for the Senate in Delaware”

  • mgferrebee

    speaking strictly politically, to say that the Republican party believes in limited govt in one area is insane. In foreign policy, they see no limits and will spend whatever it takes, in dollars and human capital to reshape the world into a Pax Americana. Until they let loose the neo-cons and return to the pre-W worldview calling them a limited govt party is totally incorrect – they believe in unlimited govt in foreign adventures.

  • rjpal

    I could see God taking an interest in the Senate election in a state like California or New York, or even Texas.” Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. “So it seems God even cares about sparrows. And why not?After all, HSBC bank can give money to one person in New York and at the same time to another person in Mumbai. Is God less powerful than HSBC bank?If God IS all powerful, then nothing prevents God from caring simultaneously about elections in Delaware, in California, the Chinese prisoners and the miners trapped in that mine in Chile.I am not a believer, but if one IS a believer then O’Donnell’s views are quite rational, just like those of Jesus.I mentioned this because there are a lot of people who sort of dislike the Tea party but do respect Jesus.

  • rjpal

    It was in the mid sixties that the Democratic president LBJ announced the “Great Society.” Are we there yet? :)Liberals do not seem to understand that their plans, no matter how well meant, do not in fact work. What works? I don’t know. But I do know that Republican bashing is not the right way to approach our problems. If this is the only game that Democrats know how to play then God help us all.

  • rjpal

    Maybe the point is that we humans are not very wise with the power which we get from science. We invented cars, and now we are threatened with global warming. We invented nuclear weapons in order to fight the Axis powers. And for decades we lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation. The danger is still there.Are we really wise enough to deal with the power to “create” human beings, or to destroy them, or to use them for research?We do not have that wisdom. So even though I do not agree with the reasoning of the Catholic church, they may be giving us the right conclusion for the kind of reasons which make sense to them.Even if we do not agree with their reasons, we should ask if their conclusion is correct.

  • rosemund1

    Ms. O’Donnell is nuttier than a fruitcake!

  • areyousaying

    But I do know that Republican bashing is not the right way to approach our problems. Posted by: rjpalBut the incessant, droning Fox News / Limbaugh / Teabagger bashing of gays, Muslims, Mexicans, Democrats and liberals is?Another “do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do” right-wing hypocrite.

  • Ralph_Indianapolis

    For 10 years Rush had the airwaves to himself bashing liberals/Democrats. Then Murdock gave us right wing news television all day every day. Bashing (you guessed it) liberals/Democrats. MSNBC discovered money in having left wingers on at night (notice Fox is bashing liberals all day) and the right wing is screaming about how the left wing is unfair. It seems to me that the right wing has had a 10 year headstart.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    rjpalAbout God careing more about New York than Delaware, it was a joke. My point was, I do not believe that God takes sides in the petty squabble of little man.

  • overcomerman

    God’s plan for Congress is described in my new book If we can convert Congress back to respecting Jesus Christ daily, we can save America and the world. Just think if Congress returned to having Bible study and praying for 3 hours daily before getting to the nation’s business, there would be far more reliance on Divine Providence, far less partisan disagreements, and less time wasted on legislating unimportant matters resulting in reducing the size of government for all.

  • haveaheart

    Got to agree with the poster who mentioned JMR’s creepy stare. He has the eyes of a fanatic.