Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Death of a Hero and the State of Politics

This past weekend America lost one of its heroes from the Vietnam War Era.  I remember seeing those pictures of John McCain arriving back in California after being held in the "Hanoi Hilton" for over five years.  His survival did not come without a moment of breakdown when, after days of severe beatings, he signed an anti-United States propaganda sheet.  He later wrote, "I had learned what we all learned over there.  Every man has his breaking point.  I had reached mine."  He continued, "It was as a prisoner that I fell in love with my country.  I had loved her before then, but like most young people, my affection was little more than a simple appreciation for the comforts and privileges most Americans took for granted.  It wasn't until I had lost America for a time that I realized how much I loved her." 

John McCain would serve as the distinguished Senator from the state of Arizona for several decades.  He ran for the office of President of the United States on two occasions.  In 2000 he lost in the Republican primaries to George W Bush, and then in 2008, although winning the Republican nomination, he was defeated by Barak Obama.  In recent years he became an outspoken critic of many of the policies of President Trump.  Although he was a Republican, he often was viewed as being more of an Independent. 

In yesterday's Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper, there was an editorial written by Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times.  He wrote, "After his cancer-diagnosis, McCain wrote in his recent memoir that because his career was nearing its end, 'I'm freer than colleagues who will face the voters again.  I can speak my mind without fearing the consequences much.  And I can vote my conscience without worry.'"  McManus then writes, "Have three sadder sentences ever been written about American politics?"

If John McCain felt that way, then there must be about another 534 men and women in Washington who also can express similar thoughts.  What is the state of politics in America today?  I have in my library a book written by Joseph Ellis and titled, "An American Creation."  It is the story of the writing of the United States Constitution.  It is an amazing story.  Gathered in Philadelphia were a group of the most independent, strong-willed thinkers perhaps ever assembled on American soil.  They were tasked with the responsibility of finding a better way of governing America as the Articles of Confederation had proven to be inadequate.  Under the leadership of a young man from Virginia, named James Madison, a new concept began to emerge.  Oh the incredible debates that occurred within those committees and upon the floor of that convention.  Yet, what that group of men had that I find sadly missing in the halls of Congress today was the determination to find a solution that would actually make America a stronger union.  And in order for that to be achieved, these men - as strong-willed and independent as they were - compromised many of their aspirations.  Thus one of the greatest documents ever written in the English language was created - a document that has become the model for scores of nations who have sought to become independent and self-governing. 

Very seldom do we hear the word "compromise" today when it comes to political dialogue.  Instead we draw the proverbial "red line" and refuse to cross it.  I understand that each party holds to its own distinctive philosophical leanings.  The two party system is one of America's strengths and it has been since the election of 1800.  Whatever happened to asking the question, "What really is best for our country?" instead of "What is best for my party?"  Debate - yes we need that, and the more lively the debate, the better for everyone.  Freedom to speak what is upon one's heart - absolutely, for it is safe-guarded in that Bill of Rights.  But when the time for debate is closed, it is time for the dialogue to begin with this question ever before those who represent us: What is best for America and for Americans? 

Speaking of democracy, the mainstream media, in fact, most media today have failed to chronicle what is happening in South Africa.  A friend of mine sent me the following article that opened my eyes to an impending tragedy that I was unaware of.  The article was written by Robin Smith and can be found at:  let me quote a few paragraphs from this article.  "It's South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, working with the communist African National Congress, who is proposing changes to that nation's constitution to take land from white farmers.  Those farmers are the descendants of the European colonists who first settled the region and fought subsequent battles for the geographically favorable land at the southern-most tip of the African continent.  Ramaphosa is working to collectivize and control the country's farming infrastructure.

"But why?  Why would a nation ranked 77th in the world by The Heritage Foundation's 2018 Index of Economic Freedom, with relatively positive commentary about the improved investments and reduction in tax burdens and trade barriers, seek to turn an entire sector of its economy into a state-controlled industry by the confiscation of private property to be reassigned to other owners?

"In the name of social justice, the president of a nation with a very high unemployment rate of over 25% has determined that the remedy to its out-of-work blacks (almost 30%) is to change its 'laws' to permit the theft of legally possessed land of white farmers to redistribute the possession to nonwhite citizens.  And, you might be asking, what crime has the white citizen population committed that has been supported by evidence and convicted in a court of law to have such restitution enforced as part of an act of justice?  Good question.

"Has this ever occurred?  Surely, such tyrannical behavior has no place in modern-day history!  Well, um, South Africa's neighbor had its own 'Land Reform' back in 1980 and it kinda didn't work out so well.  Zimbabwe, as described by Wikipedia, engaged in 'an effort to more equitably distribute land between black subsistence farmers and white Zimbabweans of European ancestry ... to alter the ethnic balance of land ownership.'  From its beginnings, the program paid white farmers of European descent for their land.  When this money ran out, the Zimbabwe government engaged in a 'fast track' program to take the properties with no compensation.  Not only were political structures shaken, the banking system was rocked with violence spurred by the natural conflict of government-sanctioned theft.  That was followed by food shortages and two decades of economic loss, all in the name of some manufactured social justice."

The policy of "taking from the rich to give to the poor" has seldom worked.  Yes, the stories of Robin Hood glamorize that idea, but Robin Hood's efforts soon lost their steam.  In 1917 Communists took over the Russian State imposing harsh economic policies where equality was mandated.  People lived on collectivized farms or worked in collectivized factories.  They lived in apartment complexes that all looked alike.  Yet, even hard-core Communist leaders realized that de-incentivizing people led only to unrest and economic collapse; thus the revolution of the late 1980's when the Iron Curtain was torn down. 

When a government or a society takes from its rich and gives to its poor two things happen, both of which are bad.  First, there is no longer any incentive to begin factories or to own shops or to advance oneself economically because your wealth is no longer your own, it belongs to someone else - in all likelihood the government.  Why should any entrepreneur invest "blood, sweat, toil, and tears" to increase his profit-margin when someone will take it away?  Second, just to give money to the poor without holding them accountable is simply instilling within them the mentality of entitlement; that they are owed.  If I am given money, why should I look for a job?  If I am given money, why should I seek to advance myself? 

Free college education - sounds great, but who is going to pay for it?  Are America's colleges and university faculty and staff suddenly going to work for nothing?  I hardly think so.  So, where does the money come to pay them?  Free medical care - sounds great, but who is going to pay for it?  Are America's physicians and hospitals suddenly going to work for nothing?  I hardly think so.  So, where does the money come to pay them?  It can't come from the poor because they have no money; therefore, it can only come from those who are creating wealth.  Socialism becomes a very slippery slope that ends within a gigantic puddle of mud. 

Friends, as strongly as I oppose any thought of socialism, I do believe it is on the horizon because the Scriptures state clearly that after the Church has been raptured away, there will be a one-world government, a one-world economy, a one-world system.  Yet, in the end this, too, will fail when the King of kings and Lord of lords arrives and creates a kingdom based upon the principles of God.  Oh what a day that will be!

No comments: