Part of the experience of a political convention is encountering all types of people in the hallways and on the city sidewalks. Some of the best talking heads the Democrats have are in town this week and on-message with daily talking points on why President Obama deserves a second term. But I think its the rank and file delegates who provide the more insightful conversation.
After a long day of reporting at the Charlotte Convention Center, I stopped off at a restaurant a few blocks down the street to grab a bite to eat and wait on the rain to lighten up before moving on to my next event. I wasn’t looking for an interview when I took an empty seat next to a gentleman and his wife who looked like they were in town for a political event. And I was right. After a few minutes of small talk, they told me they were convention delegates from Iowa. Then the husband asked if I was a delegate. “No, I’m a journalist and I’m in town to cover the convention,” I replied. That’s when I told them I wrote for The Christian Post.
Yep, you guessed it. We started talking about politics and religion. Dennis, who retired as a mathematics professor from Iowa State, wanted to engage me in a conversation on why many Christians favor creationism over evolution, which quickly turned into a discussion on whether Jesus actually existed.
His wife Robin, a retired biology teacher, was curious why Republicans did not support public education by wanting to pay teachers a higher salaries and why conservatives thought labor unions were bad for business.
Anyone who knows me understands that I could discussion any of these issues for hours.
While we failed to come to any sort of agreement on these weighty topics, we parted ways on good terms and swapped contact information so we could send each other articles and books we had reference during our chat.
Then it occurred to me that had I attended the Republican convention in Tampa the previous week there is a good chance I might have encountered a couple who was the exact opposite of Dennis and Robin; conservative and evangelical. I can even think of several couples that would have fit that role to a tee.
The conversation also made me think of another question being asked of Democrats this week and that is “are people better off today than they were four years ago?” The question I want to ask elected officials and delegates tomorrow is “would Christians be better off under an Obama or Romney administration and if so, why or why not?”