Friday, July 8, 2011

Why This College Educated Black Man Became a Republican Part II: What Do Democrats Really Stand For?

My odyssey to becoming a Republican has gone through many twists, turns and sleepless nights of intense introspection and reflection. As I stated in an earlier blog post, I have voted for Democrats for my entire life up to and including the historic 2008 election. My values haven't really changed much during my adult life but my knowledge and understanding have. Barack Obama was a magnetic figure during that election and his presence and persona actually inspired me to begin to take a much closer look at my politics. As you may imagine, I was quite surprised with what I discovered. Needless to say, these revelations compelled me to move my allegiance from the Democrats to the Republicans.

I understand what Republicans are supposed to stand for. Their ideals make since to me. I remember actually going to the GOP website and viewing their principles and stances regarding various issues. Here are a few principles from the GOP website of my county:

I BELIEVE . . . That the proper function of government is to do for the people those things that have to be done but cannot be done, or cannot be done as well, by individuals, and that the most effective government is government closest to the people.

I BELIEVE . . . That good government is based upon the individual and that each person’s ability, dignity, freedom, and responsibility must be honored and recognized.

I BELIEVE . . . That free enterprise and the encouragement of individual initiative and incentive have given this nation an economic system second to none.

I BELIEVE . . . That sound money management should be our goal.

I BELIEVE . . . In equal rights, equal justice, and equal opportunity for all regardless of race, creed, age, sex, or national origin.

I BELIEVE . . . We must retain those principles of the past worth retaining, yet always be receptive to new ideas with an outlook broad enough to accommodate thoughtful change and varying points of view.

I BELIEVE . . . That Americans value and should preserve their feeling of national strength and pride, and at the same time share with people everywhere a desire for peace and freedom and the extension of human rights throughout the world.

FINALLY, I BELIEVE . . . That the Republican Party is the best vehicle for translating these ideals into positive and successful principles of government. 

These make very clear since to me. They are concise and sound. I was further taken by the following "cannots" that I learned from the Republican Party of my county:

  • You cannot bring about prosperity discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
  • You cannot further brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative.
  • You cannot really help men by having the government tax them to do for them what they can and should do for themselves.
These ideas are short, sweet and to the point. They rang very true to me the first time I read them and I immediately knew that my political allegiances warranted further introspection. There was something spiritual that I felt as I learned the principles. They ring with the truth of God and an understanding of the fallen and imperfect mankind. The Republican way seems to at least tacitly acknowledge that God is the only one who can be trusted to be infallible. The Republican way seems to understand that mankind's vices can only be managed-- not eliminated. All of their policy seems to be built upon this foundation.

I began to search out the Democrat's guiding principles. I truly was trying to find a way to justify my being a Democrat in spite of many of my core beliefs. I found them elusive, verbose and vague. You can review some of them here:

Something struck me as I was on this journey. Democrats, as a movement seem to have an unreasonable faith in the benevolence and potential of man. They may acknowledge God, but the object of their faith is mankind. They seem to have an aversion to all things traditional and seem determined to prove that they can find a way to do things better than that which has been proven true and sound. Their foundation seems non-existent at worst and situational at best. It seems as though they must lick their finger, put it into the wind and try to determine what popular sentiment is before they jump out in front and try to lead.

It is impossible to explain what Democrats stand for in short simple sentences. If you try to describe their views in a concise way (Socialism, Pacifism, Globalism, Ecumenicism, Pluralism, Multi-Culturalism etc.) they will quickly denounce you as an ignorant, fundamentalist bigot. It's as if they think they are inherently smarter than you because it takes them a half hour to describe what they believe an economic system should look like. As stated before, the only thing that seems consistent in their views is that they believe man is capable of solving all of mankind's problems in of himself and his ingenuity and there are no moral absolutes. They have to hide their values in seemingly benign language-

-Woman's Health
-Comprehensive Immigration Reform
-Social Justice
-Equal Marriage Rights
-Investment in _______

Am I missing something? Perhaps you can help me? This is an honest question. Can anyone out there explain what Democrats stand for in a concise way? Republican principles are plain and simple and out there for all the world to see. (even if they don't always live up to them-exit RINOs enter Tea Party) They don't require a dissertation to declare them. It is because they are impregnated with the truths that the Bible and generations of human history have taught us. I believe that some of you can actually explain what Democrats stand for in a concise paragraph. Unfortunately, Democrats know that if they boil down what they stand for too much, the finished product would be unpalatable for the vast majority of Americans.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Goodness, Life and Principle

The other night during some quiet time I was reflecting on the permanence of God and the temporal nature of mankind and the Lord brought Isaiah 40:6-8 to my mind.

 6The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
 7The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
 8The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

The grass is an illustration of the temporary and perishable nature of mankind. What is interesting to me is the phrase "all the goodliness thereof." Goodliness is the Hebrew word checed. Here it describes the goodness, kindness and faithfulness of man. Isn't it interesting that the Lord tells us that while our flesh is indeed temporal in nature, our goodness, kindness and faithfulness is even more fleeting! Flowers though very pleasing to all the senses are beautiful but for a relative moment. The same is true of our good works and the best of our intentions only last a moment. Far more pervasive is our penchant for sin, decay, destruction, corruption and evil. The Bible teaches that there is none righteous. (Romans 3:10) This is why we need the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ!

The other part of this that encouraged me this week is the reminder that the Word of God stands forever. My pastor said something Sunday that made an impression on me. He asked something to the effect of, "If you don't believe in God, then how do you explain the mess we are in?" The smarter we get and the more we evolve, it seems we are only capable of creating bigger messes and more strife. We are incapable of fixing our own problems in our own strength, much less the ailments of the world. As our culture strays further from God's word it deteriorates more and more.

God's word and principles are tried and true. They cannot be displaced or replaced no matter how hard man may try. I encourage you to stand firm on the promises and the principles of God's word in your life. The world doesn't need us to do more of what they are already doing. We will impact the world by being the salt and the light that Jesus calls us to be. Let's get salty!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Color Blind? Culture Blind?

I just had to share a quick thought…

I truly love the fact that racism seems to be on the decline in our great nation. There is not much that warms my heart more than to see people of diverse skin colors working and flourishing together absent of animosity and antipathy. It seems to be all the rage to be colorblind these days. In fact I often hear people who I greatly admire declare that they are colorblind and race simply doesn’t matter. I too believe that colorblindness is a noble ideal. The color of one’s skin has absolutely nothing to do with the content of one’s character. But stealthily hidden within attempts at colorblindness is a blind spot of culture-blindness.

While it is true that color is not an indicator of the content of character of a group of people, culture often is. There are cultures that live among us that have very distinct values and characteristics. These characteristics often define and influence behavior patterns among these groups of people. These characteristics often indicate patterns of consumption and production. There are characteristics of cultures that have been beneficial and detrimental to various socio-ethnic groups. Surely it cannot be bigoted to recognize, analyze and plan based on this knowledge?

I find culture-blindness particularly debilitating to ministry. I pause just a little bit when I hear people say, “It shouldn’t matter what color you are. You should be able to come in here (church) and worship God.” This is indeed a true statement but I find that many of those who say things like this are in an environment in which they are very comfortable and perhaps a little unaware of their culture-blindness due to their noble penchant for colorblindness. Color doesn’t make a difference but culture surely does.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Naturally, Collectivism Doesn't Work

Collectivism doesn’t work for the same reasons that collectivists say we need it. Collectivists say that their aim is to protect the “people” from those evil people that would take advantage of and subjugate them. The reason it won’t work is that you can’t eliminate the most basic impulses of humans. That is the impulse to act in accordance to one’s self interests. We can keep that impulse in check and subdue it in an effort to help others and promote the greater good, but it cannot be totally eliminated. 

I believe the unrest we are seeing in this country and what is being displayed in other places around the world is a groundswell of collectivist thought. When you listen to President Obama speak of the “people,” he speaks as if deep down inside all people really want the same thing. He and others that think like him really believe that deep down inside everyone wants peace, justice and equality. Collectivists are trying to make connections between unrest in many of the countries in the Middle East and the public labor disputes in the US. In all of these cases, they say it is the “people” who are rising up and demanding their “rights.”

Collectivists think that if anyone doesn’t feel this way, they can be coaxed into ameliorating their ways through discussion and enlightenment. Because the “people” want this or that, the powerful ought to acquiesce to their demands. I am not excusing excesses and abuses by the powerful. I am highlighting the fact that the only thing that the people uniformly want is exactly that—they want what they want. People want things. Whether it is a multi-millionaire tycoon or a union firefighter, people have interests. Deference is not the natural inclination of man. By default, all people are inclined to act in their own interests.

It is because of this there will always be powerful and the not so powerful. There will always be the influential and those who wield less influence. Unfortunately, there will also always be people who are rich, poor and all points in between. This is because there will always be those who are very skilled at fulfilling their interests. There will also always be those who do a really poor job of working in a way that promotes their interests. This is an unfortunate fact of life.

So, who will be the powerful, influential and wealthy?  Collectivists think they can really divvy up everything among the “people” and everyone will be happy. What they often fail to see is that their precious equality is not a naturally occurring phenomenon. Even if they achieve it, someone or something with some amount of power, influence and wealth will have to maintain it. Who is capable of wielding that type of power without ultimately acting in a way that is advantageous to their self interests? 

We needn’t single out the powerful. Members of a collective will act in their own self interests just as consistently as individuals. A group of individuals collectively acting in their own self interests without the counterbalance of negative consequences is just as dangerous as a malevolent, oppressive and greedy individual. I am reminded of the words of Thomas Sowell—“liberals would hold us collectively responsible for everything and individually responsible for nothing.” Collectivism, quite naturally, doesn’t work.