First, let me FINALLY review Admit One by Emmett James, a book I’ve been eeking my way through for a couple of months now. I haven’t been reading this book slowly because it isn’t good but because I just kept setting it in places that I don’t usually read – like by my sewing chair. So don’t take my slowness as a sign that you shouldn’t read James’ lovely book.

For those of you who love movies, you should read this book. For those of you who watch movies (or watched movies as a child), this book will bring up poignant moments. For example, one of James’ first chapters is about The Jungle Book, the first film my mom took me to see. James’ story is one of a family who sees films as their one luxury me; my story is similar – except that I slept through the entire film. My mom still teases me about that.

James’ writing in this text is clear and sweet, and he looks at a wide variety of films – The Karate Kid (wax on; wax off), Star Wars, Beverly Hills Cop – and touches them all with a beautiful nostalgia and honesty. I highly recommend this book.

This week I have also been reading Obama’s Dreams from my Father and McCain’s Faith of My Fathers. I find both of these men to be wise and admirable. And both of them, keeping in mind that McCain had some assistance, have written excellent books. So for the first time in an election, I can vote largely on issues. What a nice thing to be able to do.

I’ve been trying to get more and more informed about these candidates, and most recently, I’ve watched the Saddleback Church Civil Forum with Rick Warren, where Pastor Warren asks Obama and McCain questions about various issues. For the most part, I was not surprised by what either candidate said; however, when Obama said that he believed marriage was the union of one man and one woman, I did hold my breath a bit. I took comfort when he continued and said that he did not oppose civil unions (which I think is a much less ideal method of granting people some rights, but at least it’s something) and when he said his marriage was not threatened by the marriage of others.

Still, however, I walk away from watching this thinking McCain – while wise and well-spoken – still supports things I do not support – such as off-shore drilling or the war in Iraq. I can’t put my vote behind someone who thinks these things are the best ways to go. We need to find solutions beyond our traditional ones. We need think renewable energy – both in terms of fuel but also in terms of humanity. For me, the need to live in peace with our planet and with our fellow creatures on this planet trumps everything. Love God first; love your neighbor as yourself. To me, that’s about it.

That said, I do not believe it is wise to vote for a candidate based on one issue. Decisions are complex, and life in the U.S. is not simple. To make it seem so is, in my opinion, a major error. We need to see these decisions as complex and deeply intertwined. I believe if someone votes on only one issue, neglecting all others, that person is being too narrow and may be overlooking some very crucial things.

What do you think? Are there issues that are fundamental to you? If so, which ones? How do you weigh those issues into the mix as you make your voting decision?