On the eve of the election, and after a week long seminar I participated in, I’m going to pull together my closing thoughts on the election. I ask you to hold on for a longer ride this time as I attempt to pull the draw string together on the foremost issues that offer, in my understanding of US politics, a compass to guide you and me when voting.
The first of these watershed issues is Foreign Policy. I for one do not believe that the United States ought to see herself as the global policeman. The choices and consequences on the world’s stage are so complex today that the administration can never be 100% informed of what is out there. As a United States citizen living abroad for more than three decades I have experienced the sense of embarrassment that comes from the botched attempts of one nation attempting to steer the destiny of another, like when the George W. Bush administration decided to enter Iraq because of alleged weapons of mass destruction. We all know how that turned out. Such motives are noble, but idealistic at best and in truth, crusader-like at worst. They are out of touch with the reality that we don’t live in colonial days where the “great white father” will be seen as all-wise or worthy of absolute trust.
That being the case our next president needs to have a humble view of our bilateral relations with each nation with which we cooperate. We need policies that will proof friendly, respectful, informed and especially given to honoring the national sovereignty of sister nations. Nations that honor one another promote understanding and mutual help. Why, for instance, after Hurricane Katrina, did we not see any offer or delivery of relief to those thousands left homeless from our “Allies?” Why did not the wealthier nations send in medical help or emergency shelters? If we are enjoying a relation of mutual respect, then countries who feel honored by their agreements with the US will readily offer help when we are facing wide spread devastation.
I’m all for a president who knows not only how to serve and provide assistance or relief to our Allies. But we need to achieve a mutually beneficial treatment of these nations with whom we partner. Let’s change the model we use in the White House, as it were, with this one truth: an effective foreign policy starts with mutually accepted parameters in order to achieve a reciprocal benefit and a mutual service. The U.S. is not the world’s police, not the world’s judge.
The next watershed issue is that of Immigration. This is a ticking time bomb! I would like to think that the problem will be solved within the next administration. But the longer we delay a just, simple and humane solution to the presence of over 11 million illegal immigrants, the longer our entire society will be divided and hamstrung.
To be honest we have made this problem for ourselves. How? We are soft on crime, tolerate drug abuse, ignore the destructive nature of pornography, wink at prostitution, and especially deny white collar crime. Why would our authorities deal with this problem differently? Our culture looks the other way when it has to do with honesty and dignity. We continue to the same with the illegal immigrant. We hire them under the table. We ask them to do things we would not ask others. We treat them as second class human beings. We even think of them as less human, because we think they are impervious to pain and suffering. Illegal immigrants are people, therefore any path to citizenship or legalization (they are two very different processes) must be humane and dignified.
But treating an immigrant with dignity implies there are laws that protect the United States people equally. We cannot offer an immigrant what we ourselves as a nation do not possess. Therefore, our next president will be called upon to insure that the native born US citizen not be displaced in any way by those seeking refuge in our country. In other words immigration flows out of the understanding that all men and women are created equally. It is the Creator God who gives the value to every human being and therefore the steps to provide a place the visitor can identify with and call his or her home depends in large measure a biblical view of who we are as people.
As a result we need a president who begins with the basic truth of the equality of man so that we as a nation under God will retain the immense priority of treating people with dignity. That dignity begins right from the point of conception and carries through a persons entire physical life. We teach people to respect others by obeying the laws. And you teach people to obey the laws by showing that they not receive privileges without first of all proving their respect for the people that already live in the land where the immigrant longs to call his home too.
Another very important issue is Gun Control and the Second Amendment. What is at the core of this issue? Is it personal safety? Is it the right to bear arms (a phrase that comes from the Revolutionary war period)? Is the issue gun violence? Is the issue the fact that police are using their state-ordained authority without reasonable restraint (now I’m sounding like a political pundit…!)? The issue is simply are those of us who are gun owners willing to be 100% responsible for the welfare of those around us? To own a gun is to bear a solemn oath of personal responsibility and to assume the protection of all whom we encounter while bearing that weapon. A gun is no more lethal than the one using it.
Therefore our next president will of necessity have to take the stand in favor of teaching our culture to be a nation of responsible citizens. We need to ingrain the concepts of responsibility for our own actions. We need to teach our children in school to be responsible for their choices. We need to be a nation of responsible participants in the political process and in the development of a culture of mutual respect and mutual protection. The abuse of the Second amendment by criminals and anti socials comes from the erroneous attitude and belief that my rights are the most important thing in life. Such a posture is FALSE. If a person is no willing to take full responsibility for his or her choices and actions, then they are not competent to own a gun or to be granted the privilege of carrying a gun. The point behind the Second Amendment is that all citizens are capable of making sane, healthy and wise decisions as to the use of a firearm.
Let us call upon the highest office in the land to be the staring point for the reformation of our culture to one that is law-abiding, personally responsible and committed to self preservation, not self exaltation.
I want a president who can see through to the heart of the issues! I believe that the United States will cease to lead the nations of the world by the end of next generation. Other more sober, more wise and more morally sound cultures may outpace us. But if we take our civic duty seriously we will not only be at the voting polls tomorrow, we will speak for what is right with conviction and love. We will stand with those who seek truth and justice for all. We will support those political leaders who know that they are only a small piece of the whole process and not consider themselves superior to it.
I close this series of posts just hours before the polls open, fully aware that I do not have all the answers. We will continue to struggle as a nation to see the light of day even after November 8th. But if anyone has led you believe that you should not vote or that your vote does not matter, to them I say the following: you and I are creating a reality that our grand children will live with. If you are not satisfied with today’s reality in the United States, stop complaining and start acting! Freedom is never free to those who long for it. There will be a cost. There is a cost to be a democratic nation: that cost is, in part, informed, timely, smart and decisive participation.
November 8, 2016 is the day you and I must participate in our country’s processes without doubt and without fear.
If you have read your Bible, you will see that no way is He limited to one political moment or process. I take great hope from know that God used tyrannical depots like Cyrus of Persia and Cesar of Rome to fulfill His plan and purposes. He will use this election to further his plan for the United States of America.
Most importantly, keep in mind that as you go to vote you will have repeated opportunities to speak up for the Savior! What the USA needs is God and His truth. The answer to our problems in the US is the Savior, and the way God will showcase Christ is through the local church. Point others to the living Lord Jesus Christ with sensitivity and care. Live out your faith and your faith is in the eternal God Almighty, NOT our political system.
May we, as His representatives, prove worthy of the privileges God has entrusted to us.
David L. Rogers, M.A.Min.