Is there any such thing as a principled politician anymore?
In my lifetime, the closest thing to a constitutionally principled politician that I have ever met at the national level was 12-term Congressman Ron Paul. There were a small handful of others, of course: Steve Stockman, John Hostetler, Paul Broun, Helen Chenoweth-Hage, and Jesse Helms come to mind. Ron’s son Rand could also be put in this gallant group; I might also put Congressman Thomas Massie in the mix, but I have not personally met this gentleman. There are more, of course. But their number is VERY small and shrinking further all the time. And the number of truly principled politicians I have known on the State and local levels are equally sparse. Mind you, I’m talking about a span of over four decades.
Typically, as soon as a person is elected to public office, they start thinking about how far up the political ladder they can climb. If they are a county commissioner or city councilman, they are thinking about becoming a State legislator or senator. If they are a State legislator or senator, they are thinking about becoming a U.S. congressman or senator. And if they are a U.S. congressman or senator, they are thinking about becoming President or Vice President. The vast majority of decisions these self-absorbed politicians make, votes they cast, and friends they choose are all centered on one goal: obtaining higher office.
Congressional leaders and special interest lobbyists know that most politicians are unprincipled, and they prey on this weakness. That’s why in almost no time after being elected, most politicians become pawns in the hands of the establishment. Furthermore, party labels mean absolutely nothing in this regard. Politicians can talk all day about “fighting the liberals” (if they are Republicans), or “fighting the conservatives” (if they are Democrats), etc. It means nothing. What they are really fighting is anything or anyone they perceive as a stumbling block to their political futures. Most politicians have no moral or philosophical compass and are, therefore, mushy clay in the hands of Big Money potters and party strongmen.
Sadly, the same unprincipled, anything-to-get-ahead approach to life besieges many, if not most, preachers and businessmen as well. Preachers pander to contributors and businessmen pander to investors. And, again, “liberal” or “conservative” mean nothing. Both are driven by the same desires and motivations: success, money, notoriety, etc.
I am currently watching countless numbers of “conservative” and “patriot” radio talk show hosts, website writers, editors, and publishers, as well as newspaper and magazine writers, editors, and publishers pander to whatever they think will make them money. Truth, objectivity, and honesty mean absolutely NOTHING. There are exceptions, of course. But they are just that: exceptions.
Paid lobbyists transition in and out of government positions, and politicians and government employees transition in and out of lobbying positions. Oh, and don’t forget that the mainstream media is littered with former political office holders, staffers, and lobbyists. A bunch of former congressmen and senators are even on the payroll of foreign governments. Several televangelists are too. Mostly Israel’s, of course.
With the forty-fourth anniversary of Roe v Wade still fresh in our minds, think of the hundreds and thousands of “pro-life” congressmen, senators, mayors, State legislators and senators, county commissioners, city councilmen, sheriffs, etc., who have been elected to office over the past forty-four years. Think of the millions, maybe billions, of dollars that have been raised by “pro-life” organizations over the past forty-four years. Think of the hundreds and thousands of “pro-life” lobbyists that have been hired and have now retired over the past forty-four years. And we are no closer to overturning Roe v Wade than we were forty-four years ago. (If you really think that President Trump and the GOP in Washington, D.C., or Trump’s Supreme Court appointees will overturn Roe during the next four years–even though the GOP will control the entire federal government during that time–I have this bridge I would love to sell you.)
And how is it that during the past forty-four years we haven’t had ONE of the fifty sovereign states in this country go on record as defining an unborn baby as a real, live human being? This in spite of the fact that 45 states have laws on the books that demand murder charges for anyone who kills an unborn baby. Well, anyone except the mother and doctor, of course. (I’ve never been able to figure out how the worth of an unborn baby can be determined by who decides to kill him or her.) Please tell me how someone can be brought up on murder charges without the victim being defined as a human being. Of course, the reason for this contradiction is the attempt by states to comply with the Roe decision, while at the same time trying to enforce a moral code they KNOW to be true.
In the meantime, every election year, the “pro-life” politicians tell us how much we need to elect and reelect them because they are “pro-life.” Really? What difference has electing these “pro-life” legislators made to the sixty million unborn babies who have been killed during the past forty-four years?
If you want to find out how “pro-life” your State senator or legislator is, just ask him or her to sponsor a personhood bill in your State legislature. I’m serious. Try it, and see what these “pro-life” legislators do. Most of them will vote for it only after doing everything they can to keep it from even becoming a bill that they have to vote on. Truly, most “pro-life” legislators are hoping that they never have to vote on a personhood bill. Even then, some of them will vote against it, and guess what? The “pro-life” organizations like the “right to life” and “family” groups will not even record the legislator’s “Nay” votes on his or her “pro-life” voter guides. So, even after voting “Nay” on personhood, the legislator will be touted as “pro-life” by these phony pro-life organizations. That is the reality of what we are dealing with, folks.
If a State legislator or senator was truly pro-life, they wouldn’t have to be begged or browbeat into doing everything in their power to end the legal murders of babies in their states, or if a U.S. congressman or senator, in our country. If a man or woman doesn’t have a moral compass about killing babies, he or she doesn’t have a moral compass about ANYTHING.
And that’s the problem: most politicians don’t have a moral compass about much of anything. It’s all about their success; their career; their advancement; their wealth; their notoriety; etc. So, why do the American people keep electing these creeps? It seems that the more unprincipled, self-absorbed, and pathological a politician is, the higher up the ladder he or she climbs.
Someone said cream rises to the top, but so does scum!
But, as I said, the same self-centered motivation that consumes most politicians seems to consume most preachers as well. In many ways, the best (not meant as a compliment) politicians in this country are not in congress; they are in the pulpits of our churches.
It was the compromise of core principles that caused the Religious Right to crash and burn in the late eighties and early nineties. I was there. I saw it up close and personal. I was a young preacher at the time, and at first I didn’t understand what I was witnessing. I couldn’t imagine that my mentors and heroes could actually be motivated and controlled by money and political influence. I was wrong.
There was a time in this country–at least, it seemed that way by the way my father raised me–when men esteemed truth above treasure. And it didn’t seem to matter whether the man called himself a Christian or not. Today, many people who call themselves Christians are more corrupt and dishonest than people who don’t. In fact, the word “Christian” today is absolutely without meaning–especially when it comes to politicians.
I have said repeatedly that I would rather vote for an unbeliever who will preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution than for a believer who will NOT preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. And without the principles enshrined in our Declaration of Independence–especially the principle of the right to life–our Constitution protects nothing and stands for nothing. And politicians who claim Christianity while betraying the sacred principles contained in the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights deserve not the support of any American citizen, Christian, or otherwise.
I can honestly say that the people who have attacked me, defrauded me, stolen from me, lied against me, slandered me, attempted to ruin me, and even threatened to kill me have been almost exclusively professing Christians. And all I have ever tried to do was follow truth wherever it led me. As sincerely as I can say it, I’ve never had a personal agenda or been driven by a lust for personal gain in anything I’ve ever said or written. My quest has always been truth. Nothing more. Nothing less.
I preach more people OUT of my church or fellowship than most pastors take in. I’ve preached unpopular truths and taken unpopular positions at great personal and professional cost. Only God’s power, protection, and provision have sustained me. But the way I look at it is, if I need more than that, I’m not really God’s man to begin with. And to the dismay and chagrin of many, God has preserved me for these forty-plus years of labor.
I guess this column took on a life of its own. (Smiley face here)
Yes, Ron Paul (and a handful of others) was the closest thing to a constitutionally principled politician I ever met at the national level. I still wonder if Ron was America’s last chance for peace. His message was emphatically a message of peace, and his lifelong character was emphatically one of sterling honor and integrity. And it was mostly conservative Christians that rejected Ron Paul: his character and his message.
Should I be surprised, then, when what I mostly see from professing Christians today is a spirit of bitterness, hatred, and war? (You should read the mail and emails I receive from professing Christians.) The biggest cheerleaders for perpetual war are Christians. And without a doubt, this hatred and war fever is bringing us ever closer to a global nuclear conflict that could make the first two world wars look like boys playing army in the backyard. If that happens, the blame lies on the doorsteps of America’s churches and in the cloakrooms of America’s unprincipled politicians.
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