Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Time Has Come (or Nearly So)

It's a little (all right, a lot) depressing to think of modern campaign tactics: all the negativity, the politics of fear, the misinformation, the bloated half-truths. Back in the '60s when I was a kid, politics seemed a tad more noble, a little more civil. Candidates spoke more eloquently about the positive changes they would make; they even showed respect for their adversaries. Throwing mud at other candidates was classless, a sign of desperation. And it was those ads that stood out as being less than savory, less than the way individuals contending for a high civic office should act.

Sure, it was all probably naïve, contrived and artificial. But at least I had the impression I didn't have to hold my nose to vote, reluctantly pulling the lever for the lesser of two or three evils. Campaign seasons -- and the elections that follow -- now give me the impression we're just putting a new crop of horrible, self-interested people in office because, well, that's all we have to choose from.

Reminds me of the comment I saw recently, probably on Facebook: "We've got 300 million people in this country and this is who we've got to vote for?"

I wonder if that's why the U.S. Congress typically has such low public approval ratings. Maybe that's why government comes across as a necessary evil.

The apostle Paul once wrote a letter to the believers in the Washington D.C. of his time. In Romans 13 we read, "Rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer" (Romans 13:3-4).

I love that phrase: "He is God's servant for your good."

As the 2016 presidential election nears, let's pause to give thanks for God's gifts to a broken world, I want to start by giving Him thanks for our government. No, it isn't perfect. We have imperfect people doing imperfect jobs. But God has a very important purpose for our government: maintain law and order and thwart those who would bring disorder, crime and chaos. A government for the people can offer its citizens the chance to live peaceable lives, a society where they can follow their beliefs freely in a society without restriction. I encourage you to join my prayers that God will uphold our leaders, guide them to just decisions, protect them from vanity and deception, and give them clarity and purpose.

Please share your thoughts about our government and the election process. You can share your thoughts here: click here!


swei said...

This article truly represents how I am feeling these days. I also grew up when politicians competed for election and for their position, but they respected the individual and the process.

Perhaps the age of instant messaging and real-time positing of opinions is fostering more of this negative behavior. In the past, we actually had to listen to the speech or read an accurate report and then our response had to be written or discussed. We had time to think about what we heard and what we were going to say.

The recent Lutheran Hour daily devotion spoke to the issue Paul addressed to the Corinthians; All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful." In that message Paul explained that it was important to consider our brothers before speaking or taking action. I fully agree with the closing prayer of that lesson:

Dear Lord, I give thanks for the freedom the Savior has won for me with His life, death and resurrection. May I honor Him and benefit my neighbor by the way I use or choose not to use that freedom. In the Savior's Name I ask it. Amen.

Scriber said...

The election season as I remember it,was a time to put on wool coats to protect us from the winds that gave little children colds. I'm sure the clothes weigh 20 pounds and I weighed 20 pounds, so it was an equal battle. a time to go hunting with Dad with his big gun that scared the dog and my little pop Gun which shot with an arrow. I followed him as he let on through waist-deep maple leaves that covered the pond. And at school friends become enemies for a Time while at school. They let you know they hated Eisenhower and loved Adlai Stevenson. I found out I was Republican and loved old generals. So did my parents, so it was okay, but who is that hated me. Where did they come from and why didn't they love old generals.
At recess a process of screening out the political parties began as one group controlled the merry-go-round the others would be shown off the contraption buy the bigger kids. They would then have to sit underneath the spinning wheel and risk getting hit repeatedly the other kids feet as they roared overhead.
And so the hierarchy was set over later we found out that all those tough guys on the merry-go-round lost the election. I still won't forget that little boy in the leaves in the fall in Iowa.