GIVE IT TO ME STRAIGHT

It’s political season isn’t it? It’s the season for exaggeration, for insinuations, for making your record look better than it really is while making your opponents record worse than it really is. During this season, lots of us long for someone who will shoot straight and tell it like it is. I hate propaganda. I’m not interested in whether the glass is half full or half empty, just tell me what is true. I can’t help but wonder what would happen in an election where some candidate just shot straight on everything they were for, against and what they planned to do if elected. Now I understand that circumstances can change and one may be pushed into choices that they never dreamed they would face when running for the office. Writing this on September 11th makes the point pretty much on its own. I don’t think there was any way George W. could have known what was going to happen on that morning. His presidency changed drastically from circumstances he could never have figured on. But the truth is most people who are elected actually don’t make any real attempt to do many of the things they campaign on when they are making speeches, developing ads and debating the issues.

What sickens me is the very picture of a candidate sitting around in a room full of people who have tested every word or idea that might be said to see how people will react to it and the decision is made on what to promise based on how many people will like it. The result of such meetings is a hypocritical set of values and a compromised set of ideals. The outcome of such a plan is a finely tuned set of lies. I want to know what they really believe and value not what they think they should say they believe or value to get another vote. I have no problem voting for someone with whom I disagree on some things if I believe they are honest and are doing the things they really believe are right. But in a culture that we have accepted as normal in present elections if one comes out clearly on some point, especially when speaker after speaker makes the same point, it means that they have decided either that they all believe in something to the degree they are even willing to lose rather than give up that point or that they believe most of the people who will vote will agree with them.

If that is true and I believe it is, think of the different conventions that we’ve seen in the last three weeks. From the Republican Convention it is clear that they believe in smaller government and private enterprise, while the Democratic Convention made it clear that they believe in big government and public support for a huge percentage of the people. One group believes that the best way to help people who are able to work is to make sure they can find a job and support their own selves and family, while the other believes the place of government is to provide government support for the old, the young, the disabled and the unemployed. I have no doubt that both groups believe they are the party of the people and each would like to paint the other as not really caring about ordinary people. The Republican Convention seemed to be completely focused on economic matters and how to change things like Medicare so as to keep it afloat. They were less focused on maintaining the morals and values that have been true in the country, keeping marriage as it is between a man and a woman and holding to the exceptional value of human life standing against abortion as a means of birth control or population control. The Democratic Convention seemed to go out of its way to offend those who believe in God and who stand for the value of human life at all stages. They wanted to press the idea of abortion as a freedom for women without any concern for any freedom for the child. And every speech seemed somehow to come back to the idea that marriage ought to be available for the homosexual couple the same as the man and woman who wants to be married.

It seems strange in circumstances as I’ve described them when people take stands based on what they think people wish to hear and will lead them to vote for them, that we would have actually come to the stage as a nation that a political party would feel so certain that a majority of people would at least not be turned away from them when they took such strong stands for abortion for any cause. I understand that the claim is that it has to do with women’s rights. But how many of the babies that are aborted are women as well? Is it just women who are old enough to have children we care for? I’m for women’s rights but one person’s rights never reaches so far as to destroy another person simply because we want to do so.

When a thing is wrong from the core, no amount of votes to the opposite will make it right. We don’t get a vote on what is moral or immoral. Perhaps that is the reason the Democratic Convention had such a hard time deciding whether to put God into their platform. The only way to get to decide for ourselves what is moral or not is to take God out of the equation.

About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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