I don’t talk about politics that much here (usually only if a movie’s themes and ideas deal directly with it), but the election coming tomorrow has brought some pensive thoughts to my mind on more than one occasion.
The United States of America is the greatest country on earth, period. In terms of benefit to the world, literally billions of people are alive today because of ideas, products and military efforts that have come form America. And yes, we have also made mistakes. But we have learned from those mistakes and have become a better people and culture because of them.
There’s a lot to be proud of, and I must admit that a few years ago, I was a little too proud. I forgot that there was something higher that the American culture. This realization came over the course of many years, and it points to how God gradually worked in my life when it came to how I treated politics.
In November 2008, my interest in politics was borderline obsessive. I watched the election returns come in live with eager anticipation. Senator John McCain wasn’t the greatest candidate, but I thought he was better than Senator Barack Obama. McCain was a war hero, very brave and dependable (though wishy-washy on a lot of issues). Obama was an intellectual with little to no real-world experience. But people were responding to him positively because he was “cool,” and that he was the first black candidate that had a genuine shot of winning the presidency.
I believed that the American people wouldn’t elect Obama because he had no experience, as well as strong ties to some dubious characters. And yet, the American public elected him, if for no other reason than because of the shade of his skin pigmentation. And it truly saddens me that America’s first black president ended up being such a terrible one.
Then came 2012. Obama had been in office for almost four years and his administration went through one disaster after another: Fast and Furious, Solyndra, the stimulus, government “investments,” ObamaCare and the Benghazi attack, to name a few. And through it all, he had carried himself like a thin-skinned, preening braggart who was behaving more like the popular kid in high school than president – continually blaming others his failures and covering up for it with meaningless courting of the pop culture.
Like McCain, Governor Mitt Romney wasn’t the best pick for the other side, but he had real executive experience (in both the private and public sector). Besides, the only negative things Obama’s campaign could find in Romney’s past were an alleged bullying incident in his childhood and that he tied his dog to the roof of his car once.
I thought that surely after four years of Obama’s postulating, condescension and lecturing, the American people would come to their senses and elect someone more qualified. However, they elected him again.
I found myself literally in tears when Obama at the moment the election was called. But these were tears of anger, frustration and sadness. I couldn’t believe it. It was like everything was collapsing in a heap, that America had throughly lost its collective mind.
Then a terrible thought struck me – most likely by the Holy Spirit. I asked myself why I was crying, and realized that I had taken America itself and its people as an idol. I had rarely been as emotional talking about my relationship with God as I had been about politics. The situation was not good. God is always supposed to be number one in my life at all times.
Perhaps if there was a good that came out of that election, it was that I realized I needed to be closer to God than I was to the American government. Politics the started to slowly wane as an interest to me.
So now comes the 2016 election…and I got another stark reminder to not put my faith in people, but in God. Frankly, I am thoroughly disgusted by this election.
One one side, there’s Donald Trump: a boorish oaf. He bullies his opponents, cannot help but respond to every attack in some of the pettiest ways, and has a demonstrable lack of character – something that I value highly in a candidate. He also strikes me as someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing. He may have been very successful in business (which I don’t begrudge him), but he appears to know very little about the constitution and how government works.
On the other side is Secretary Hillary Clinton. Not only is her character bad, but scandal surrounds her on all sides, and has for decades. I am more ideologically against her, in that she supports, among other things, the terrible practice of abortion (Trump’s history on the matter is also dubious), endorses putting unreasonable restrictions on the Second Amendment, and has a desire to tax individuals and restrict the free speech of corporations even more than they already are.
This is the very first election in which I have had the opportunity to vote where I have left this portion of the ballot blank. I am not voting for either any of these candidates. They are reprehensible for different reasons, and do not deserve my vote.
“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day, their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help the the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.” Psalm 146:3-5
I’m done putting my faith in politicians, especially in those telling the people that they’re going to give them all kinds of “free” goodies if they vote for them, guarantee security in exchange for their liberty, or who think they can change the climate by curtailing modern life.
I still love America, and I love the America idea – which I still believe was founded on a God-inspired basis and has been particularly blessed because of it. One need only look at the words of the Declaration of Independence, the struggle of the Revolution, and the hard lesson learned in the Civil War. However, I now have more opened eyes and broader, God-based perspective.
But do not take this little tirade as a disdain for the American people. Far from it. I try every day to do as Christ commands and love everyone, even those with whom I disagree. They are free to do so, and I would never stop them from speaking out (that is neither the American way, nor is it, more importantly, God’s way). I have just learned, finally and forever, to not put my faith and salvation of humanity into the hands of human beings.
It finally got through to me just how sinful people are. Many people today are more interested in what the government can do for them rather than what they can do for themselves. And the politicians are more than happy to appeal to those desires.
Senator Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist, was astonishingly well-supported by millions, primarily younger voters. Sanders’ campaign was one of promises of even more “free” stuff: free college, free daycare, free healthcare, and the list goes on. Clinton believes in the same ideals as Sanders, albeit implementing them more gradually.
I’m tired of self-important Hollywood celebrities and know-nothing politicians telling me what’s best for me, that I need to vote against history, my judgment, and most importantly my faith to achieve their earthly nirvana. They don’t know me.
I’m tired of being looked at as a racist or sexist because I don’t vote for someone based on identity politics. Many people will be voting for Clinton just because she’s a woman – not because of her awful ideas or shady character. Never mind that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s whole struggle was based on the idea of judging people by “the content of their character.”
I’m tired of being told that I’m “greedy” because I want to keep most of what I earn – and give where and to whom I see fit. I’m not a millionaire, not even close. But I find no virtue in taking other people’s money to satiate people’s desire for material wealth. If anyone is greedy, it is those who covet their neighbor’s stuff.
This is my biggest gripe with not only this election cycle, but society generally. I can understand why many non-Christians believe in the ideas of socialism; they don’t know any better. However, I am very disappointed in my Christian brothers and sisters who side the ideas of Clinton and Sanders (not necessarily the candidates themselves), and lecture the rest of us for not going along for the sake of the poor and downtrodden.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
Let me make my point clear: socialist policy is evil at its core. Not just wrong – evil. It takes something virtuous and good (helping the poor) and perverts it, as Satan is want to do. All the virtue of giving freely of yourself to help someone is squashed by the force of the state. Contrary to what some may think, the will to help someone is what Jesus was talking about – not the material object.
That’s why it makes my eyes roll so much when I see a politician – any politician – using children and families as moral scenery at presidential signing ceremonies, as if they are benevolently giving freely of their own to said children. The truth is they are “giving” away money that was acquired by force – stripping it of all of its moral goodness (you are required, under threat of jail time, to pay your taxes). And on top of that, the bureaucratic machinations of government guarantees that most of the money given will never actually go to people who need it anyway. There’s always overhead.
The entire process really turns my stomach.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I could go on about this for a while, but I think I’ll stop here. It’s exhausting.
I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. No matter who wins, there will be lots of problems. I have prayed earnestly for America, and hope that the best days are still in front of us. However, I know that things will be better because God is in control.
I have always loved the American ideals and virtues, having had them instilled in me from a young age. However, it wasn’t until relatively recently that I was carrying that love around as an idol. God has worked in me for many years, and I thank Him for changing my heart and adjusting it toward Him and His perfect plan.
I’m not telling you who to vote for, because I don’t think either one of the candidates are actually worth voting for. I’m simply expressing my utter disdain for the current electoral situation, as well as my disappointment toward my Christian brothers and sisters who side with the evil of socialism.
Things may look grim now, but my hope is now firmly in the Lord and His unfathomable grace and love. I also hope that, after this mess of an election is over, that we are able to come back together as Americans – grace-filled and friendly.
May God continue to bless the United States of America.