Roots in Ripon
8 February 2016
Hype and Hyperbole
Boy, are we in it now!
The primaries have begun and the candidates are ramping up the rhetoric and the personal attacks just like always. Nothing new here.
If I were to believe all the slanderous comments candidates declare about each other, I would have to conclude that there’s not one of them that isn’t the spawn of hell, totally inept, incompetent to the extreme, and in all other ways a despicable human being. And these are the Republican candidates attacking each other! They’re supposed to be on the same team! The Democrats are doing the same thing. It’s just that there aren’t nearly as many candidates on their side this go-around to vilify one another. But the intensity of attacks is certainly present.
I’ve been following presidential races since Kennedy/Nixon in 1960. The ugly side of politics raised its hideous head in that election race just as it has done in 2016. If you want a good laugh, go back and see what candidates said about each other in the times of Washington and Lincoln, iconic leaders of our nation, who were painted in the most unflattering terms during their day.
What needs to be remembered is that we are a fallen people, attacking each other for real or perceived flaws in character and belief. Now, I may not agree with any or all of those seeking higher office in this republic. I’d be shocked if I did. But I do look for those whose beliefs are closest to mine. In the 44 years since I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ as my Savior I have attempted to craft a strong biblical world view. The more I understand Holy Scripture, the more I understand the true nature of man. In so doing, I’m able to make a clearer choice.
In the months ahead we will be treated to more of this “hair on fire”, “doomsday” hysteria from candidates, the media, and talk shows.
A classic that has already made the headlines this week is none other than Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, scolding women who are not supporting Hillary Clinton’s candidacy by saying there’s a “special place in hell” for women who don’t support other women. Well, Ms. Albright, may I remind you that this is a free country, and as Americans we can vote for whoever we want. And stipulating gender as the reason to vote for a candidate is beneath the esteemed status you have garnered during your storied political career.
I’ve read that Ms. Albright has since apologized for her shameless rant in attempting to bully women into voting for a woman because the candidate is a woman. Then Hillary turns right around and defends Ms. Albright’s remarks. The Albright rant, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” was nothing new. Ms. Albright has used it at least since 2008, when she supported Ms. Clinton’s first run for president against Barack Obama. And feminist Gloria Steinem joined in, criticizing women who support Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders.
Time and space do not allow for a rundown of the various and sordid attacks Republicans are making about each other with the implications that anyone who votes for another candidate besides them is not very bright, not a true patriot, not being serious in their choices, and the list of veiled innuendoes is without end.
Though this quadrennial event of electing a president causes many American voters to yawn in apathy, or roll their eyes in disbelief, it is important to remember that “We the People” have the unique and awesome privilege of choosing our representatives in government by going to the polling place nearest our home and voting (or mailing Absentee, as is the choice of a growing number today). We may not like the outcome, but it is still the greatest system in the world, and is the envy of nations.
We are a scant nine months away from Election Day. Until then, we will be required to endure a seemingly endless array of primaries, each claiming to be the most important one in selecting the next President of the United States. Hang in there!
Cutting through all the hype and hyperbole of an election year, let me recommend that in making your choice you prayerfully consider the character of the candidate, and their past performance in whatever it is they have done with their lives.
And yes, I would say that God is very interested in how we choose our leaders. He blessed us with this nation. He wants to see what we will do with it.