The results of this week’s election are all the talk in the news. And understandably so. It is a big deal in that it was a reflection of major discontent with the President. While he wasn’t technically on the ballot, he was sort of on the ballot. Even major Democratic-sympathizing news sources are recognizing the election for what it was: a means for people to express their discontent about the President’s performance by punishing the party that has enabled and supported him. And, just as rightly noted, part of why the election should be seen that way is because the other party (that would be the Republicans) didn’t really offer any powerful, party-wide, specific alternatives to what their opponents have been selling for six years. From the view here in the cheap seats, most Republicans seemed to run on a platform of “The other guy/gal is a big supporter of President Obama” and their Democratic opponents seemed to run on a platform of “President Who? I don’t know who you’re talking about.”
On both sides, it’s less than impressive, and the leadership crisis of the nation (and, really, the world) continues.
When I saw in the New York Times that the President did not see the election as any sort of public rebuke for how he has conducted his time in office, I tweeted that his reaction is no surprise given his pattern of behavior and attitude:
Arrogance seems to be one of the President’s major faults. And that’s not a political thing to say — all presidents have faults. For instance, the previous administration, President Bush’s, actively manipulated moral voters and evangelicals in the 2004 elections by talking about pressing for a constitutional amendment to protect marriage only to drop such promises the moment the ballots went their way to focus on an privatization-based overhaul of Social Security — a “switcheroo” that was dishonest and, even measuring only by carnal politics, stupid. (I’m not exactly a Washington insider, and even I saw that as a pointless exercise in spending non-existent political capital on an effort that had zero probability of being achieved.) Now, the death throes of the institution of marriage (as sick as it already was) are beginning to be experienced in the country and Social Security is no healthier than it was in 2004. And as for examples of faults in the administration before President Bush’s, let’s just stop while we have time to do other things today.
Someone who saw my Tweet asked me if I thought anything would change significantly after the sweeping Republican victories this week, to which I replied that, no, I didn’t really expect anything any different.
There may be some additional political drama, to be sure. And there may be policy impact. I think that President Clinton was at his most effective when faced with a Congress run by the opposite party, although his worldly, political genius is not anywhere to be found these days. (Not praising such political genius, mind you, just stating facts. Some geniuses are evil geniuses, after all.)
But the real change that is needed in the nation is a spiritual one. There must be lasting national repentance if things are to turn around for good. The nation needs to seek the God who wants to bless it for it to truly experience blessings. And I don’t see the Republican party seeking that any more than I see the Democratic party seeking that.
Don’t get me wrong. It was satisfying in a certain way to see Wendy Davis, whose major claim to fame was her extraordinary efforts to fight for the right to murder children before they are born, get trounced. That would be true whatever her political stripes. (I’m not Republican or Democrat. Rather, I’m Anti-Killing Babies.) It was just as satisfying in a certain way for me to see the “protect marriage/reform Social Security” bait-and-switch of the Bush administration fail — not because I think one approach or the other is better for Social Security. (God can bless a variety of options and isn’t limited by “political realities.”) Rather, I wouldn’t have enjoyed seeing such strategies be rewarded in a way that makes abandoning the greater concern–protecting the very definition of marriage–seem a wise course of action. But will such trouncings as Ms. Davis’ bring about a major movement in the nation away from such murders? I don’t see it. While I do believe that the character of a nation’s leaders effects the character of a nation (the example of ancient Judah, whose leaders were not elected democratically, seems to support that), these days the leaders seem to do more reflecting of the public than guiding. And when I look around, I don’t see a public that is increasingly devoted to godly morals and convictions. Frankly, I see the opposite.
So, as far as I am concerned, to use an admittedly tired cliché, this week’s elections were not too much more than a rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic. The head chef in the Titanic’s galley was fired and a new one was hired. The manner in which the ballroom’s tableware is cleaned has been changed. The times at which shift changes occur may be adjusted. But a real course change that doesn’t include a collision with an iceberg seems no more likely to happen after Tuesday than it seemed before Tuesday.
And, finally, in a fit of shameless self-promotion, let me just link to an old telecast I was able to do that touches on this same subject: “The Decline of Nations” — one of my favorite telecasts not only because of its subject matter but also because I got to drop an egg on the floor on camera. That may not sound like a lot of fun, but I am fairly easily entertained. 🙂
[UPDATE: I failed to add a link to a very relevant commentary the Tomorrow’s World team added to the website today, written by the late Glen Gilchrist: “Politics – or morality?” Check it out!]