MURPHY: Fasting candidates

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MURPHY: Fasting candidates

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Lent, the Christian season of fasting, alms-giving and prayer, began last week on Ash Wednesday. It is a time of repentance and reflection. A time to meditate on the Lord’s suffering and to prepare for Easter.

Traditionally, Christians fast from something during Lent’s 40 days. For many, it’s giving up chocolate or soda. The idea is that one gives up a small pleasure to focus on God, the greatest good.

With the election cycle in full swing, I thought it would be fun to imagine what the presidential candidates should give up for Lent.

I will begin with the Democratic side. In order to connect better with God, Hillary Clinton might look for ways to remove distractions from her times of prayer and to be more present in face-to-face conversations. To that effect, she might think about giving up email or any sort of electronic communication. This would reduce the stress that comes with being bogged down with a full inbox, and keep her out of any more political hot water.

As for Bernie Sanders, in keeping with his democratic socialist convictions, he will probably give up 40 or 50 percent of somebody else’s income instead of his own.

And on the Republican side, Jeb Bush has been given the perfect opportunity to fast from his campaign website. Donald Trump bought the domain and redirected the link to his own. Hopefully Jeb can find the spiritual silver lining in the situation. So far, all I’ve been able to find is humor.

In Ben Carson’s recent remarks during a radio interview with Briebardt News Daily about American Muslims suffering “schizophrenia,” Carson seems to have already given up even a pretense of respect for people belonging to religions other than his own. This isn’t really the point of a Lenten fast, so he might consider giving up candy or something less offensive instead.

The point of Lent is not to give up something that you shouldn’t be doing anyways. Even so, Ted Cruz seems to be taking the season as an opportunity to give up lying. Earlier in the month, he apologized for his campaign falsely telling voters in the Iowa primary that Carson had dropped out of the running.

John Kasich might think about better connecting with his spiritual side by giving up secular music for hymns. It probably won’t be all that difficult a fast for him. I imagine he still feels pretty burned after getting kicked out of that Grateful Dead concert in the ’90s.

Marco Rubio should consider giving up frozen desserts, and not just for spiritual reasons. His teeth are simply not up for the job.  He already cracked one molar while biting into a Twix bar this past week in South Carolina!

While more than one of us would be happy if Trump took a fast from his entire campaign, I don’t find the prospect very likely. The sort of person who flies around in planes bearing his own name isn’t likely to fast at all.

Whatever you decide to give up for Lent, I hope you also find time to get away from ever-changing news stories and focus on the parts of your life that are most meaningful.

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