Friday, November 9, 2012

Letting it Settle in

So Barack Obama won.  He won pretty handily if you count the electoral votes (303-206).  The popular vote was a little closer (61 to 58 million), and some of the contested State votes that gave him the electoral advantage were very close.  Even so, take a moment to compare this to the 2008 election.   Back then Obama got almost 70 million votes and McCain about 60 million.  11 million less people voted this time around.  And what is a more surprising, Romney got 2 million less votes than McCain did back in 2008.

Okay. So three days after the election, what do I think about all of this?  First, whatever the numbers may be, I will be amazed if President Obama is able to do much of anything this term.  He's not a leader.  He's a campaigner.  He's been campaigning for the last 5 years.  He's got professionals that advise him well.  He knows what people want.  He's got a knack for appealing to certain kinds of people, which as this election has shown, turns out to be the majority of the voting public.  But he hasn't done anything in the past four years worthy of the name "leadership."  He's "led from behind" on every issue, even the big ones like the stimulus and Obama care.  He's not a leader.  He's a campaigner.

 Second, one of the unfortunate implications of the first point is that others are leading in Obama's administration.  Maybe that's a good thing, but I suspect it's not.  What we will get is Obama's appointees in the government advancing and implementing a pretty radical left-wing agenda.  And they've shown us that they will do this by executive order, circumventing the Congress.  What I fear is that four more years of Obama will entrench a host of radical operatives and bureaucrats in DC that will be there for some time to come.  From what I understand, it's already pretty scary.  Now it looks like it's only going to get worse.  This is very bad news for the country.

Third, speaking of presidential leadership, think of how lame Obama has been when it comes to the financial health of the Federal government. He's offered the most outrageous, unrealistic budgets each year he's been in office. These budgets have been so ridiculous that even the Democratic-controlled Senate has voted them down every year almost unanimously.  So the Feds have been operating without a budget for 3 or 4 years.  Does anyone think that Obama is going to step up and offer something reasonable this year?  Or next year?  Does he care about the 16 trillion dollar debt we owe? That every man, woman, and child in America is burdened with about $50,000 right now, and that it's certainly going to get worse?  I don't see any evidence that Obama has any intention of dealing seriously with this. It often appears that he is just bored with all of it.  He seems not to have the heart or energy even to be interested in the challenge. The only thing we will surely hear is a call for higher taxes on the rich, which means punishing the productive business owners. Obama's revenge.

Fourth, we've been talking about presidential leadership.  Did you listen to any of Obama's speeches on the campaign trail this year?  Did you hear him in any of the debates?  Was he inspiring?  Was his rhetoric positive and encouraging?  Did he present concrete proposals that might help solve America's problems?  I think everyone knows the answers to those questions.  He was cynical.  He looked tired and almost put out that he had to make all these speeches and debate this guy Romney.  He provoked envy by denigrating rich and successful Americans.  His surrogates on TV were smug and surly.  And I'm not even going to say anything about the campaign ads.  Based on this I'd say that we are likely to have an empty oval office for four years.  Obama will spend his time partying with rich liberals and celebs.  He'll play even more golf.  He'll miss even more intelligence briefings.  He won't say a word about Benghazi.  He won't answer to the Fast and Furious charges.  He'll let the Congress deal with the fiscal crisis because he has no clue how to fix it.  Of course, he will support enthusiastically every radical, anti-Christian social cause, from partial birth abortion to homosexual marriage.  Then there's the wars and military engagements that America is involved with all around the world.  I can't even begin to imagine how he will lead in those situations.

Fifth, so what do we Christians do?  This is the man God has given to America.  There's nothing we can do about it now.  Is this the kind of leadership we deserve?  Probably.  Does that mean we should just acquiesce and not fight back?  I don't think so.  But how we fight back is critical.  Of course, there are many Christians in State and Federal government that should try to hold back the tide of radicalism.  I respect that calling.  I'm glad they are there and I pray that they will have some success.  We need Obadiahs in the American system that can do their best to protect Christians and Christian concerns at all levels of government (1 Kings 18).  But that's not me.  I'm not there.  I'm not called to be an Obadiah in the bowels of a corrupt civil regime.  I'm in the suburbs of St. Louis, not in Jefferson City or Washington D.C.  The people in my church do not hold positions of government authority at any level. They are IT professionals, policemen, insurance brokers, bankers, electricians, lawyers, and more.  They voted.  Now what?

Many of us have been consumed with national politics for the past year.  TV news has been dominated by the presidential campaign.  Radio, too.  Because of that, this past Tuesday was a huge disappointment and now we are tempted to lose heart and become despondent.  And that's mostly because there's not much we can do to change things at the national level.  There's something almost deceptive about the way this was dished out to us for the past two years.  We've watched TV and were led to believe that we were somehow involved in the national debate.  Some even participated in these little Twitter polls and whatnot that are promoted by the TV networks.  Watching TV, posting on Internet discussion lists and blogs, listening to Radio talk shows, and more have led us to believe that we have actually been doing something.  When in fact, we have all simply been consuming what the media has dished out to us, from CNN to Fox. Oh, and screaming at your TV is not prophetic speech.

I'm not an Elijah.  You are probably not an Elijah either.   While Obadiah was secretly serving Yahweh in the court of wicked Ahab, Elijah was called by God to publicly denounce that oppressive king (1 Kings 16:26–21:29).  But there was only one Elijah in Israel.  There were other prophets being trained by Elijah during this time, and these all had some sort of public ministry in Israel.  But my point is that not every Israelite was called to engage Ahab and his government with public criticism.  Don't forget, too, all the Levites called to pastor local communities as well as the priests that served at the Temple.

Take note of the diversity of vocations.  There are prophets, Obadiahs, Levites, priests, and then there are all the faithful Israelite people who lived their lives on a different level.  The people of Israel were called to gather for sacred assemblies every week with their local Levites, obey the law, take care of their families, create and maintain productive businesses, govern their local communities as elders at the gate, tithe on their profits, gather for the annual feasts at the temple, sing the Psalms, pray for their leaders, and more.  Without these productive Israelites faithfully living out their individual callings all across the land the ministries of Elijah and Obadiah would have no lasting value.  It's precisely this web of faithful people that we can easily lose sight of today.  More than that, it's precisely this web of faithful Christian people that we can all cheerfully join with and expand.  I pray for an Elijah to speak to our Ahab and his agents.  I also pray for many Obadiah's that can protect Christian interests at every level of government.  But most of all I pray that God would raise up and strengthen a host of Christian churches, marriages, families, neighborhoods, cities, schools, and more.  This is exactly what most of us are called to do right now.  So let's get on with it and trust God for the future.

Finally, I'll be adding links to some helpful thoughts on this debacle from other people:

The Religious Right After Reaganism by Peter Leithart

Some Political Musings by Andrew Fulford

I pray that California is not America's future

Four More Years—What's Going on Here by Andrew Napolitano

Four More Years of Decline by Cal Thomas


DavidABooth said...

Thanks Jeff. One small point that makes a big difference: You suggested that the Federal Debt amounts to around $200k in debt per person right now. It is actually around $200k per family ($53k per person).

While both numbers are ugly, $200k per person would lead to default while $53k per person is addressable with adult leadership.

Jeff Meyers said...

David, thanks for the fact check. I changed it.