Why Americans Always Choose the Wrong President
By Luke Welch
We seem not to know who we are, and we do not know who we are looking for. We have been surprised to find out whom we have already chosen. Most of us are under the impression that we can correctly identify political candidates and the promise they hold by an old idea we had about their parties.
I know many democrats who are supportive of their party, because they believe it will aid Americans. Despite their misgivings about abortion, they don’t think anyone will get out of poverty without assistance. If this were true that the choice were between assistance and exploitation, then it would be understandable that people would swallow the bitter democrat pill.
I also know many republicans who are supportive of their party, because they believe it will aid Americans. Despite their misgivings about the weak promise keeping of past candidates, they keep on voting (R), becuase they think America will never be free of hard times with all the enforced social assistance. If this were true that the choice were between a meddling government and freedom, then it would be understandable that people swallow the giant rotten elephant.
One of the most pressing problems when facing the future of America under the weight of her own political machine is the problem of the continuous stream of Statism. This means that regardless of party we have had constant centralization for many terms. The best moment we have had in generations was at the promises made by Reagan before he took office. In their hearts, Republicans know this, because they can’t ever get through the election cycle without having each candidate boast that the mantle of Reagan’s office rests most fittingly on his own shoulders.
But down on the practical, cycle by cyle voting level, if you want freedom from tyranny, which party will give it to you? Which party is against war? Traditionally, Christianity is opposed to agressive war, and traditionally conservatism is against war.
Bush II made a big deal out of claiming that Kerry voted against body armor in 2004. Kerry was mainly voting to defund the war, but not against specific armaments. But later to defend his actions he stated, “I actually did vote for the 87 billion dollars, before I voted against it.”
Regardless of party, pretty much everyone was ready for war in the midst of Bush’s first term. Somehow, Democrats and Republicans alike all decided that it was not only time for war, but it was okay to hand over the power for declaration of war to the Commander in Cheif. This is not only illegal (remember, American law is expression of the Constitution), because only congress may declare war, but it is also representative of the centralizing attitude that pervades American politics. Push the responsibility and the power to the top.
Democrats and Republicans alike decided to fight war-s-plural, with money Americans couldn’t afford. We set vague and undefined standards of when we would fight and when we would leave. Our enemy was not a kingdom, or a man, or a government, it was the faceless and ENDLESS “terror.”
So we are still there. Eleven and a half years after 9/11, and we are still in some way in Iraq, at least at our embassy. This is in the country that didn’t have anything to do with 9/11, and which had no WMDs. And we are still in Afghanistan, the country whose impossible warfare bankrupted the USSR.
Well, the Democrat Savior came along to get us ouf of endless war. And now we’re in his second term. Which is the fourth presidential term for troops in Afghanistan. And at times, it seems we keep people in Iraq as well (See here.)
We might be tempted to call this the oldest trick in the book – you know – “never get involved with a land war in Asia.” But the trick is not that our military got sucked into a difficult battle. The trick is that the American public feels too guilty to quit funding military-industrial programs for the unscrupulous politicians that each cycle we call “our guy.” Our guy always changes his mind once inside the Oval. That’s when he gets the memo from the establishment that “All your policy are belong to us.”
And speaking of shadowy overlords, ummm…who is against surveillance?
When Bush was in office, Democrats were against this breach in civil liberties. As now that Obama has been in office, it is Republicans. But that also means, that even if your own side seems at one time or another to be against invasion of privacy, both parties are willing to use it when they get into office.
Who is actually for the constitution?
To take only one case in point (not to mention the deterioration of the 4th amendment under FISA actions by both Bush and Obama), there is the ubiquity of law by executive order, which is an imaginary way of writing laws.
Presidents are not capable of starting wars. And presidents are not capable of creating laws. These are both fictions that the electorate leaves alone, and the congress is happy to see thrive. Push the power to the top, and let top be responsible.
And the trick here is that Americans will do nothing about top leaders when they have to face up or ‘fess up. We have learned that you can’t impeach for immorality, and you can’t recall for imaginary wars run by imaginary laws. We can’t stop a president from being judge, jury and executioner with video game spy planes and we also know that citizenship is no reason not to be targeted by a president with a drone. But this same president who has no regard for law, for citizenship, for constitution or for life is the one we are to trust continuing the protection of the shadowy powers who want to listen to our phones and read our computers.
Have we lost our minds?
Yes. Slowly, slowly we have lost the soul of the constituted republic we think we are living in.
Now, as a Christian, I must explain that I don’t think there will be health in our politics until the Spirit of the Triune God of the Bible is pervasive in our policy making hearts. This means that worship in the Churches in our land is the primary means to changing and leading politics. But as a land is filled by God’s life altering grace, we will also influence our politics. So while the source of the answer is not political action, political action should be made by believers.
And to that point, what is the action that Christians must affect?
Among other changes, we need to change the vocabulary in our land. Democrats and Republicans have altogether become worthless. They have proven themselvs to lie about freedom, and to use office for the purpose of Statism. Statism is the enemy of freedom. When the Lord has seen fit to discipline the church in a land, he allows overbearing politicians to enslave our national society. This was true or the church under Assyria and later under Babylon.
If we continue to hate private property (thou shalt not steal), and if we continue to hate infants (thou shalt not kill), and if we continue to hate purity (thou shalt not commit adultery), we will be ruled by statists, and they will carry us away…farther than they already have.
We cannot save America by getting the definitions right, but we can get the definitions right while worshiping the savior who can save us from continuous destruction. And getting the definitions right means learning not to vote because a man is a Republican, or because a man is a Libertarian. We must ask if he is a statist or a constitutionalist. We vote with our imaginations for men who will rule with imaginary laws. We always choose the wrong president because we are always asking if he is like our imagined past, and not whether he is faithful to the constitution, and more importantly, to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Here’s a helpful definition of statism: the centralization of government power that happens by acting on the imagination that we have no constitutionally restrictive laws.
Once we know our definitions – we need to make a harder examination whether candidates are genuinely free from the tendancy to turn coat once he has hung his coat on the hook in the Oval Office.
Check voting records. We should allow people to change their philosophies, but we need to see that the trend is not back and forth. If they made the mistake of voting for Fisa in the past have the consistently repented in voting records since then? Did they get converted overnight?
And in their worship of some God or another, did they suddenly get converted to active Christianity overnight? Did they become devout right before the election? The Bible tells us not to put a new convert into the office of pastor. We should be as wise in the President’s race.
I guess I could say that we already see at least one voting office holder who already has a philisophical bent against statism, and who votes consistently. One who throws himself out into the fray against statist policy whether his enemy is socialism, or conservative war-myth mongering. I could name him. But you should already know who he is.
Luke’s previous political post: Putin, Manning, the NSA’s Verizon, Pop Tarts, Drones, and Me
Lukes’s most recent theological post at Kuyperian: Sex, Magic, Power, and Christ