Time for a little confession. I am a keen follower of politics. I have toyed with the idea of adding to the sidebar of ADU the links I regularly click in order to feed my keenness. Problem: some of these sites are somewhat more robust (shall I say) in the language they use to describe people, not all of whom are miscreant politicians. One site I have no problems linking to, and it is already here on ADU's sidebar, is Paul Krugman's The Conscience of a Liberal. This is a model blog written by a genius of both economics and English. I read it to learn economics and to be forced to think about what economic strategy really ought to lead the world forward out of this Great Recession. If Krugman is wrong (and mostly I think he is but I cannot match his 'wonkish' analysis) then the economist(s) showing us the right way forward will be very clever.
Another site which is invaluable for feeding a political habit, also US orientated, is Real Clear Politics. Two or three times a day, seven days a week, it provides a dozen or so links to articles written by the best of political writers from the best of newspapers and journals. I do not read them all, but enjoy the pleasure of clicking on one or two which catch my eye. As far as I can tell this is a balanced site addressing a highly partisan scene.
If I have learned one thing from my reading of US politics, it is that it is far from clear. What is really going on within US society? Why is it so partisan? How come the Republicans have moved so far to the right? Or have they? Is that agitprop misinformation from leftist elements in the punditocracy? What is this thing with Sarah Palin? Is she the vacuous, ill-informed person widely portrayed in the media? If she is, how come she warrants all the attention she effortlessly secures? Surely if she has an actual chance of gaining hold of real levers of power the attention should be on US voters? Last time I looked US elections could only be 'bought' via publicity, some of which can be secured for advertising dollars. Are the media in Palin's pay? They seem to be giving her a lot of free publicity!
As an Anglican trying to keep abreast of Anglican Communion politics, I cannot avoid paying attention to what is happening in the North American Anglican/Episcopalian world, in particular what is happening in TEC and its mirror Anglican images, ACNA, AMiA, CANA, etc. Sometimes the mirroring of those politics and US politics seems uncanny, especially when measured with a gauge called 'partisanship'. Again, I am often left feeling quite unclear about what is really going on.
That means I also feel unclear quite often about what is going on in the Anglican Communion. Are dark and devious forces at work in (choose from) the mind of the ABC//the AC office//the ACC//the PB and her officers in 815? Are those forces working to bind us together under an Anglican pope replete with Anglican curia to enforce his or her rule, or divide us in two (or more parts), one of which will be an enlarged TEC with the "C" standing for "Communion"?
Interestingly, some of what is going on (if, indeed, there is anything at all) will likely come to a head at the next ACC meeting, set down for Auckland, November, 2012. How do I obtain press accreditation? :)
You will understand then that I do not quite know what to make of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. I find some people talking about her in exalted terms, reserved for modern and post-modern saints (Mother Teresa, ++Tutu, Dalai Lama). She has her critics, not least in the area of theology, since among her few pronouncements with analysable theological content are some statements which, at best, are subtle-but-ambiguous explorations of great doctrines. At worst, these statements lie on a continuum with statements of liberal or progressive Anglican bishops since Charles Gore was a lad.
Now an old observation pertaining to her election is receiving a new examination in some blogs (one example here), also noticed in a Church of England Newspaper article. This too seems to be part of the unclearness of TEC if not also Communion politics. Was ++KJS elected with forward propulsion from a supporting resume which evidenced an exuberant confidence about skills and experiences? Or was a vetting process costing $200,000 curiously disinterested in checking the most basic of facts, facts which recently have been wiki-tidied up? Were the forces which elected her expressive of a concerted political effort to secure a political outcome as much as the election of a specific person? Are those forces still at work in the backrooms of TEC and the Communion?
Yet Conger's article reminds me of a very curous fact about ++KJS' election: among those forces were some of the extreme conservative bishops of TEC, intent (it would appear) on a form of political wrecking.
Generally I subscribe to the 'cock up' theory of politics rather than the 'conspiracy' theory, at least in states and organisations where free votes take place. Outcomes come about through accidents and failures as much as through planning and procedure. Conspiring to change the course of history in democracies is a kind of indulgent fantasy always liable to be frustrated by the good sense of voters. So, unclear as I am about these matters, I wonder if anyone in the Communion really knows what is going on, least of all what the ending might look like.