from my notebook

My head is full of thoughts, and I have to write them down.

Politics and the Nation

Time is slipping by and before we know it, we will have a new President. “Change” is always the buzz word. Funny how so many people who generally dislike change seem to be all about it when it comes to politics. Of course the desire for political change is typically driven by self-centeredness. My life will be better, the world will be better if so and so is elected.

This year in particular has brought out the cries for “change.” But we must realize no one person will bring about significant change, and all change certainly is not beneficial. And many times what we think will be beneficial is the absolute worst thing we need.

I read a very good article by Daniel Taylor and Mark McCloskey on choosing a President over the weekend. Since it is very lengthy, I’d like to share a few of the comments I found most interesting

The President has taken this country to war and the war has not gone well. He has misjudged the spiritual strength of a militarily inconsequential but profoundly committed enemy. War was not even a distant issue when he first became President, and he is increasingly frustrated that this unsuccessful war is defining his presidency. Testy exchanges with journalists have caused him to almost abandon news conferences, he is openly mocked on television and on the street, and his popularity ratings have plummeted. Never one to seek wide counsel, he increasingly surrounds himself only with advisers who give him good news, who tell him what he wants to hear.

No, his name is not George Bush. His name is Lyndon Johnson.

“I am not going to lose Vietnam,” Johnson said. “I am not going to be the President who saw Southeast Asia go the way China went.” It is significant that Johnson thought of the war in the first person—”I am not going to lose.” Johnson had a famously monumental ego and soaring ambition. Friends, fellow politicians, and historians consistently report that what motivated Johnson from his schoolboy days to his presidency was a pure lust for power and control unusual even for a politician. As Johnson’s biographer Robert Caro observes, “Johnson’s ambition was uncommon—in the degree to which it was unencumbered by even the slightest excess weight of ideology, of philosophy, of principles, of beliefs.”

Iraq is not Vietnam. George Bush is not Lyndon Johnson. Taking a country to war is not automatically wrong. But grave decisions of war and peace, life and death, prosperity and privation—on the domestic and international fronts—are made by Presidents during their time in office. At election time, we the people decide who our decision makers will be. And we too often decide poorly, because we ask the wrong questions.

Historian Barbara Tuchman observes, “Aware of the controlling power of ambition, corruption, and emotion, it may be that in the search for wiser government we should look for the test of character first. And the test should be moral courage.”

A President is, among other things, a decision maker. Decisions flow out of values and experience, that is, out of character. When we are choosing someone to lead us, we do best to look for a “good human being.” Such a person is not likely to be moralistic or pious or politically correct. But he or she needs to be virtuous. Because, over time, nations flourish only to the degree that their collective virtue sustains.
Read the entire article.

The most important thing to remember in politics is, God blesses the nation that honors Him. It doesn’t matter what shape the economy is in, or how many wars we are involved with. If we are honoring God with our lives and our laws, He will bless us. Nothing is too hard for Him. All things are possible.


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