Are You Confident in America’s Political Process?

Is American greatness just one election away?
From the November-December 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Polls show 71 percent of Americans are unhappy with the country’s direction; many are openly frustrated.

A year ago, Republicans gained control of the Senate and their largest majority in the House since 1928. Republicans enthused that they would reverse President Barack Obama’s unpopular policies. They promised to defund or repeal Obamacare, shrink illegal immigration, stand up to unlawful executive orders, and check America’s runaway debt.

They have done none of these things. Congressional Republicans have shown a stunning lack of will—even when it came to opposing a nuclear deal with the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism. All the optimism surrounding last year’s election has proved completely ill-founded.

Now here we are in the midst of another presidential election cycle. In many ways, this wild campaign reflects Americans’ frustration.

The top Republican contender would not be considered a serious candidate under normal circumstances. But people appreciate him because he appears to be everything the Republican establishment is not: a pugnacious, unbribable, politically incorrect, tough negotiator who puts the liberal media in their place. He says he’s a winner who will strengthen the military, build a border wall, and make America respected again. This man is also arrogant, narcissistic and at times nasty, but people are so disenchanted with politics that they are willing to overlook his flaws. The next top Republican candidate is also a political outsider. After two elections lost by middle-of-the-road, mainstream Republican candidates, voters are clearly fed up.

On the Democratic side, the top two candidates are a woman whom a large majority of Americans don’t trust—thanks to years of scandals and an open fbi investigation—and an avowed socialist whose gigantic government spending plans would cost $18 trillion according to the Wall Street Journal.

Can any of these candidates actually solve America’s problems?

The debates are crowded with candidates trying to make a witty comment, giving the sound bite that will boost their poll numbers, jabbing at and accusing each other, boasting about themselves, contradicting each other over supposed facts—a bizarre mix of arrogance and distractions that do nothing to reveal leadership credentials. Yet cnn’s recent Republican debate snagged the biggest ratings in its history. And that is what cnn cares about.

“[I]f you are not informed, then the most patriotic thing you can do on Election Day is stay home,” Thomas Sowell wrote. “Otherwise your vote, based on whims or emotions, is playing Russian roulette with the fate of this nation” (September 15).

Do Americans really know how to elect a leader? Are the qualities that cause someone to stand out on a debate stage really the same qualities that qualify someone to lead?

Are arrogance and narcissism good qualities in a leader? I would argue that we have tremendous evidence to the contrary in America’s government today. Yet the polls suggest that many Americans still believe they are tremendous political virtues.

Do Americans really know anything important about their candidates? Two presidential elections ago, voters bought into an idea of hope and change; seven in 10 Americans thought the new president would improve race relations in the U.S. Meanwhile, they ignored several disturbing facts. Tom Brokaw admitted that the media didn’t vet this man. Will another election solve our problems? Another cycle of uninformed citizens voting based on a political process distorted by money, by biased media coverage, and by lies peddled by the candidates about themselves and about each other?

And in the end, even if you do get the victories you think will benefit the country, you may still end up with a feckless Congress like the one America has now.

In The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote that government is often selfish, greedy, vain, ambitious men lusting for rule and operating via secret deals, graft, immorality, deception and dishonesty. They promise peace and declare war. They promise prosperity and deliver debt, taxation and poverty. “We fail to find in human government any knowledge of life’s purpose, or dissemination of the true values.”

America’s form of government is perhaps the best on Earth for constraining tyranny and corruption and maximizing freedom. However, abuses of power are undermining the benefits of America’s government and turning its political process into a farce.

In Leviticus 26:19, God said to the ancient Israelites and their descendants who sinned: “I will break the pride of your power.” America is among those descendants—it has sinned, and its power is broken. But God doesn’t blame the leaders.He says the real problem is with the people.Our sins have brought these curses! Americans want to blame our problems on politicians—but the fact is, we put them in office.

The boilerplate campaign refrain is, If we can just get these bums out, we’ll solve everything! When will we acknowledge that our problems are bigger than that? And when will we accept responsibility for our part in the problems?

America is suffering a broken will, lawless leaders, social breakdown, racial strife and economic disaster. These are curses that God is bringing upon us—not because we’ve voted for the wrong candidates, but because we have turned our backs on Him.

How well do you suppose a politician today would fare who brought a message like that?

today would fare who brought a message like that?