I am not one for politics; let alone talking about them; even less writing about them. However, as Ecclesiastes has taught us, there is a time for everything.
Don’t get your hopes up too high, this won’t be anything of major substance, but I offer a simple observation that’s been reeling around in my head for the past few months.
Along with many folks, I find myself in awe and confusion about what is happening in the 2016 race for the presidency. Among the many things causing me a palm-to-face reaction, it is the school-yard maturity and crude rhetoric between the candidates (admittedly, on the conservative side) that is most astonishing. These folks are running for what, now?
As I watch, I wonder if their juvenile badgering is less a reflection of the candidates and more of a reflection of where we are as a society. Is our society witnessing an off-brand of candidates that have somehow slipped through the cracks or are we looking into a brutally honest mirror? Al Mohler’s analysis of this idea is piercing:
As important as the 2016 presidential election is and certainly will be, the reality is that this dissent of the culture into this level of crudeness is something that if unchecked is likely to be a far longer and more damaging consequence. The 2016 Republican race has now injected nativism and populism and a basic anger into the political equation that is going to be very difficult to restrain and impossible to satisfy.
But it has also redefined the political culture in the United States and a form of machismo that is absolutely crude and unprecedented and extremely dangerous. Whether or not some of these candidates deserve to be elected, the reality is they certainly deserve to have their mouth washed out with soap.
Christians observing this process have to ask some really hard questions. One is: To what extent does this reflect the character of the participants in this kind of accrued exchange? The reality is there is no way to absolve character from this equation. As the Bible is very clear: What comes out of the lips reveals the actuality in the heart. We also have to ask some very hard questions about how in the world a society recovers on the other side of this kind of coarsening and crudeness. In this respect, we have to wonder if the 2016 presidential election right now, especially looking at the Republican side, is some kind of horrifying reality show from which the culture will emerge. But there are reasons to believe that what’s taking place is not just driving the culture but reflecting the culture, and that’s a far more dangerous situation.
To put the matter bluntly, it’s absolutely insane that this is the way to make America great again, when the America that would be produced by this kind of culture could not be described as great in any honest terms.
Could it be, to ruthlessly butcher and liberally paraphrase a Batman quote, that this election will not give America the leader she needs, but the leader she deserves? As we scoff our way through the debates, are we missing the opportunity to look in the mirror?
As I said, nothing of major substance, but nonetheless, a cause for prayer and reflection.