Huckabee and the "Language of Zion"

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu Jan 17 14:31:04 UTC 2008

Huckabee and the "Language of Zion"

 The news from the Michigan primaries (besides the convincing win of
Romney at 39% versus 30% for McCain,m the 2000 winner, and 11% for
Huckabee) includes the fact that Evangelicals there supported MItt
Romney by 34% over Mike Huckabee at 29%.  Reverend Huckabee has asked
Evangelical Christians to vote for him because he "speaks the language
of Zion," that he does not "come to them, but from them."  This got
him a plurality (though not a majority) of votes in the Iowa caucuses,
but has otherwise kept him around 10% of the vote in New Hampshire and
Michigan.  The problem with Reverend Huckabee's strategy of "speaking
the language of Zion" is that he is not speaking to people outside
Zion.  America has a wonderfully diverse collection of cultures and
religions, and the job of a president is to consider all of them and
their needs.

Huckabee's decision to concentrate on speaking "Evangelicalese" is
comparable to Bill Richardson deciding to do all his campaigning in
Spanish.  All his speeches, his ads, his mailings.  The Hispanic
community in each state would be flattered with the specific
attention, but a large part of that community understands that its
participation in the larger society, in its business and culture and
government, depends on speaking a common language.  If Hispanics want
other Americans to understand their unique views, let alone support
them, it needs to speak the common tongue of America.  Reverend
Huckabee's campaigning in and through churches and pastors, and his
rhetoric and the issues he addresses and how he speaks of them, show
that he is really speaking a language of a part of society, not of the
whole.  While Evangelicals can feel assured or flattered by the
attention, many of them also know that they are not going to get their
goals accomplished in the larger sphere of public discourse unless
they are part of a political dialogue in the common language of

In that common language, "Christian" refers more to the values of
love, mercy, charity and compassion than to the values of conquest and
exclusion through definition.  In that common language, "God" is the
being who holds even presidents accountable, and therefore reminds
them to be humble, rather than a source of authority for the president
to roll over objections to a policy.  These are the definitions that
were embodied in the remarkable words of Abraham Lincoln's Second
Inaugural Address that are inscribed on one wall of the Lincoln
Memorial.  They are the definitions that Mitt Romney asked Americans
to remember when he spoke about "Faith in America."

N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to
its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner
or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who
disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal. (H. Schiffman, Moderator)

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list