I wonder sometimes if the real underlying, ever-present battle is one between hope & despair preceded by fear.
During President Obama’s first-term campaign, (or was it early on in his Presidency?) his ‘politics of division’ was often mentioned. I remember reading that he was deliberately seeking to create class warfare; this, to me, as a fairly novice embracer of things political ,was a confusing notion. Now, everything is suspect! – but then I was ignorant of the darker, devious motives that might be employed to achieve one’s political goals. In my naive, lala land, God-bless-America mentality, I just assumed that both God and Washington, D.C. were good. All the time.
I still don’t absolutely know if Barack Obama was working on the warfare thing, or if he still is, at times. I read this, I hear that, and I think I get it – then someone I respect presents a whole other viewpoint that makes perfect sense, and I am again befuddled.
The thing is, once an idea like promoting division through envy, and employing scare tactics in the process, gets in your head, it can be almost impossible to blot it out. There lingers a grain of suspicion. Add that to all the other grains of other suspicions…or bushels of them…one remains cautious. Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe but the truth is more important. Judge nothing before the time, and perhaps always retain some skepticism until you are absolutely sure.
Lately, I keep coming across the idea of the Obama adminstration (or President Obama himself) employing scare tactics as a means to their/his ends. Despite my slight change of heart towards the President (link) , I find that my earlier suspicions remain intact. Though I am trying not to be adversarial, in my view, he is still suspect – so I seriously consider this fear maneuver as being a reality.
Just 2 days ago, in her article ‘The Anti-Confidence Man ‘ (guess who that is?), Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal columnist, wrote: “Their whole approach is still stoke and scare—stoke resentment and scare the vulnerable…” “The White House is, as always, confident of its strategy: Scare people as much as possible and let the media take care of the rest”, she declared the week before. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal advises the President to “… stop sending out your cabinet secretaries to scare the American people.” “Then the Sequestration cuts won’t scare people like the current administration is trying to do.” (“The Politics of Fear and Sequestration” )
Fear is a powerful inhibitor.When I find myself in the grips of it, my ability to think is frozen. That is usually not a good thing. The opposition could easily manipulate and overtake. Our Founding Fathers knew that, given certain circumstances, fear might “trigger the temptation to surrender freedom to a demagogue promising strength and security in return.” (The Politics of Fear) Where fear fractures reason, hatred & division can be a problematic result. We might trust the wrong person, become aligned with the wrong kind of thinking, and make choices detrimental to our well-being. Personal choices become a national reality, as citizens and then as a nation we lose our sovereignty.
Is this what you really want?
As with just about everything, conflicts and dilemmas lead me back to God. God does not give a spirit of fear (2 Timothy:7). There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this, as far as I can see. The antidote to fear is love – perfect love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18) And since Scripture teaches us that God is love and God is perfect…He is the starting point for combatting fear.
How this works out for each of us, on an individual basis, is personal. I can’t say how you or anyone might need to employ these truths of the Word, or specifically how, going forward, these principles can & will – if we try & if we let them – work out in our national realities. But getting a handle on the the true nature of the Lord can only help.
I realize this is my third Peggy Noonan quote, but I respect her thinking and like her style, so here goes: “…I see an opening for a candidate down the road who does the opposite of what Washington is doing now. Washington now is like a suffering marathon. Which kind of suffering do you want the most, cuts, tax increases, FAA flight controllers leave, it’s all about suffering. Someone coming forward and saying, no, actually, it’s all about growth. We can get dynamism back in our country again…”
Isn’t that a grand and wonderful approach? Doesn’t it make your heartbeat quicken? There are people who actually do see things this way…folks, here is the real hope and change…