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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Out of the Lions' Den - Up Against Goliath
Jonathan Pait
October 1, 2004

Here's a story where Daniel in the Lions' Den becomes David and Goliath.  On October 3 at 9:50 PM, the little David has a chance to let fly with that small smooth stone.

I missed the first part of the Presidential debate because I was on the phone talking to a different candidate. While George Bush and John Kerry were battling the blinking lights, Park Gillespie, one of the remaining candidates on the Showtime reality show, American Candidate, took a few moments to talk with me about the experience. It all ends for him this Sunday evening when the viewing audience (and more) American Idol style will call in their votes for their favorite candidate.

I will admit that I was skeptical at first. I donít have Showtime and had not seen any of the episodes. "Why would anyone want to do something like that? What type of people go on reality shows?" After watching the previews and recaps on the Showtime Web site as well as talking with Mr. Gillespie last night I can understand why. To him it is a "mission field."

Park Gillespie is a charismatic kind of guy! I donít know if it was the energy drink he had earlier that day or the excitement of being one of the finalist for the $200,000 prize, but he was wired. His personality is a vacuum cleaner that suctions you right up to him. Even though your vote is really "unreal", he makes you want to get out there and tell all your friends to vote for him Sunday night.

That is exactly what I am doing. Please visit one of Gillespieís Web sites this Sunday night, parkgillespie.com or parkforamericancandidate.com and you will find the necessary toll-free number by 9:50 pm EDT. If you donít have the Internet, as a last resort, you can call 704-824-4877 at 10pm EDT to get the toll free number to call for voting. Iíve never done something like this before, but Iíll be calling that night.

It isnít just because of Parkís charisma. It isnít just because he and campaign manager, James Dockery, were classmates of mine at Bob Jones University in the 1980s. It is the fact that he chose to jump right in the "den of lions." After talking with Park and James, it became clear that the producers of the show never expected a conservative Christian to make it this far in the program Ė for that matter, they didnít expect ANY conservative to make this far. The deck was stacked to the liberal side of the equation.

Of course, Showtime isnít exactly Paradise for the Christian Ė or conservatives. This is the network of the infamous "Queer as Folk" and the perhaps even more infamous "The Reagans." Take a look at the backers of the show and you will see that they are not the types that are seeking to "rock the vote" for George W. Bush! One candidate chosen was Dick Gephardtís daughter Chrissy and another still in the running is an operative for moveon.org.

In the process, Park has blown away many of the stereotypes of what people think a conservative Christian politician would be. Never wavering on his positions he nevertheless shows a love and compassion that just canít be contrived. That alone wouldnít help him survive, but an intellect and ability to express himself convincingly have put him in a position to go from being Daniel in the lionsí den to David versus Goliath!

Goliath in the case is the "liberal machine". A big question is will organizations such as PETA, moveon.org and environmentalists groups mobilize their large email lists to get people to call in to vote for the liberal candidate? Each of these groups has or had a candidate that was in someway closely associated with these organizations. Park has no automatic contact with hundredís of thousands of people. It is Park with a few smooth stones against a pretty big spear!

There is something "real" about this vote. The winner will be given a voice that many of us will not have. Just as American Idol and Survivor contestants go on to talk shows, etc. The winner of American Candidate will have opportunity to express the message of conservatism or liberalism to the American people. Iíd rather it be the conservative.

Park for President!

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