Monday, March 3, 2008

Presidential Politics 2008

  • Let's face it: none of the remaining candidates are particularly appealing this year. Hillary is perhaps the worst of the lot, but the others do not fare greatly. There is not a statesman in the lot. Nor is there someone who will put principle above politics or who really deeply understands what government is for and how it ought to work. However, a nation in decline will produce poor leaders,. We should not be surprised that America, in its decline, cannot come up with a great presidential candidate. Poor leadership happens in every field—business, politics, religion, families, and everywhere else. Look at the current situation:
  • Business—Ken Lay, Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch, et al.
  • Politics—Hillary, Patrick Leahy, Barbara Boxer, et al.
  • Religion—Joel Osteen, T D Jakes, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Rick Warren.
  • Families—most families are fragmented due to divorce, or because there never was much of a family there at all. All of these things are bound up together in a web. If the nation were healthy in one area, it would be healthy in all of these areas. The nation is spiritually, morally, emotionally, and economically sick. It is the whole body, not just one part, that has problems. As such, we cannot fix one area without fixing others. We need to start at the root causes to do this.

Electing the right president This is part of why I don’t share the Christian Right’s faith that electing “the right president” can really fix anything. We had “the right president” in Ronald Reagan, and his party behind him, and the country continued to deteriorate—in fact the deterioration accelerated during those years, not due to Reagan, certainly, but accelerate it did.

What is needed We need to start at the family/religion level if we are ever to fix the nation. We too easily accept dysfunctional families as “OK.” We too easily accept dysfunctional religion as “what ought to be.” Someone needs to stand up to both and say “enough!” Someone needs to take action to end the cycle of abuse, neglect, and divorce in our families. Those behaviors ought not to be normal! They ought not to be commended or accepted in our churches! We need to admit, OUT LOUD, that dysfunctional families are not acceptable and take steps to ensure, at lest in our churches, that every family is healthy and fucntioning properly. The same is true with religion. We all smile and nod our heads when people in church talk about how much they “just love to hear Joel Osteen" or "T. D. Jakes.” Some smile and nod because they agree! We need to do a better job of teaching these people the truth. Others just don’t want to make waves. (When you don’t make waves, you get stagnant water!) People who know what is morally right, and what is spiritually true, all too often stand by while spiritual sickness infests the churches. We want to be nice, we want to be peacemakers, we want to acknowledge that different people see things differently. We become practical relativists, while saying we believe in absolute truth. A sick religion and dysfunctional families can do little to turn around declining morals, declining leadership, and declining civilization.

Conclusion Before we get too upset over who is being elected President, perhaps we need to look at our churches and families, and get busy fixing the problems there.

5 comments:

Tyler S. said...

Amen.

You observations are very perceptive (as usual) about the climate of our culture.

I heartily agree.

Bud Young said...

First, we need to look in the mirror!

Fred Smith said...

That is kind of what I am saying. If we don't fix our own house, nothing else will matter. Right now Christians are "on the ropes" in America, and the government cannot fix what is wrong there.

A declining church cannot correct the problems in a declining nation. Just fixing our own problems--or even acknowledging them--will go a long way toward correcting the larger problems in society.

blk3027 said...

Fred,

You are doing a fantastic job with your blog! I hope you see the value of this form of expression.

Fred Smith said...

Actually, I think blogs are like any other form of communication (spoken words, letter writing, e-mail, etc.): Most of it is gas, but there are occasional nuggets of gold. The problem is that, as an electronic medium, and one that is accessible by millions of people, it has the appearance of being "important" when much of it is not.

Also, I fear that the few substantive blogs out there get lost in the sea of self-serving drivel. One advantage of a newspaper or magazine is that an eidtor sifts through thousands of possibilities and (we hope) publishes only the best. The internet publishes everything and leaves the reader to do the job of discerning and sorting through thousands of pages of material and few have the time or interest to do so.

Anyway, I will always try to keep my blog substantive and focused on ideas, rather than merely being a record of my personal thoughts and feelings of the moment. This is why posts will be few, often a bit long, and (I hope, again) always worth reading.