The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.


Last night, I watched Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama accept our party's nomination to continue to serve this great nation.

I didn't follow along on Twitter. I didn't like any Facebook statuses. While the confetti fell, I went upstairs, popped Harry Potter in the DVD player, and called it a night.

You may think this sounds rather uncharacteristic of me.

But I did this because I was so moved by the words of President Obama (coupled with the words of Former President Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama the nights preceding) that I didn't even want to parse it out on the internet.

I didn't want to condense how I felt into 140 characters, or into some sort of clever Facebook-appropriate quip. I wanted to revel in the fact that the man I elected in 2008 has been the president for four years, has done and is doing a great job (despite the circumstances), and is barreling toward re-election.

Kelsey texted me a few minutes into the President's speech. "I am already crying," she wrote. "Ditto," I replied.

You may think this sounds rather characteristic of me.

We talk about President Obama as a great orator all the time. He has a way of soaring through speeches that is really unequaled. It is hard to watch the delegates cry and cheer and wave their flags and chant "FOUR MORE YEARS!" and "USA!" with the rising and falling rhythms of his words without feeling like joining in. I remember shouting, "YES WE CAN!" at my television on like 4000 occasions in 2008. The man has a way with words. Last night, he said:

America, we understand that this 
democracy is ours. 
We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as 
well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a 
freedom which asks only what's in it for me, a freedom without a 
commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty 
or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who 
died in their defense. 
As citizens, we understand that America is not about what 
can be done for us.  It's about what can be done by us, 
together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of 
self-government.  That's what we believe. 
So you see, the election four years ago wasn't about me. 
It was about you. 
My fellow citizens, you were the 

Oh, did I cry, you guys. 

This is so close to those famous words from awesome fictional Democrat President Andrew Shepherd about America being advanced citizenship. And you know I love it when real life politics gets close to Aaron Sorkin writing. That's like my life dream.

What I'm saying, y'all, is that something changed this week. The Democratic National Convention is supposed to set the stage for the next 59 days. And you know what? I think it did.

I just need to take a second to tell you about how Bill Clinton is the Democratic Party, to me. I was glued to his 48 minute speech because it was the first time in this entire election cycle that I felt like I was spoken to like an adult. Like someone who could understand the numbers and the details and the complexities behind the policies and the decisions that are made on a daily basis in Washington, D.C. and in state houses across this nation. Bill Clinton spoke to the Democratic Party like we were an informed electorate. He didn't talk [much] about how those other guys are the downfall of our great nation. He told us the truth about what's been going on for four years and what's going to happen in the next four years depending on who we elect in 59 days. He was respectful and respectable. He's the definition of elder statesman. And I'm so glad he's still a leader in this nation.

And I'm so glad that he was up there explaining to the American people (25 million of them watched on television!) why it is imperative that we re-elect President Obama. 

I don't feel the same YES WE CAN that I felt in 2008. And what this week's convention really did for me was help me to understand that this isn't 2008. I don't have to feel like yelling YES WE CAN every time I see the President's face on my television. And, more importantly, I don't have to feel badly that I don't feel like yelling YES WE CAN very much at all. That's not the nature of the game, this time. 

At the risk of losing the serious tone I hope to hold, here, I'm going to throw more American President dialogue at you. "We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, [Mitt Romney] is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it." And I truly believe that's applicable, here. I believe that President Obama is the candidate in this election most interested in taking America seriously. 

And because he takes America seriously and I take America seriously, I had to wait until today to tell you about it. I had to wait until I could pull all these words together, rather than throw together weepy tweets. 

I think we're gonna win this, you guys.

Litany for Peace in a Time of War

It Is Us -- Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23