Perusing the headlines this morning, the presidents unprecedented power grab last night was a yawner. There is the appropriate outrage from the usual conservative sources, but even that is well-tempered in order not to give Obama the political advantage he seeks with this stunt. Very, very few dare laud this terrible misbalancing of the constitution; therefore, it is treated as a matter or course and little consequence. As far as the general public goes, this is almost a non-event. That would be stunning were it not for two very important facts; a) the MSM remains deeply devoted to this president, facts not withstanding and b) the general public is not well enough read, sufficiently educated, nor deeply thoughtful enough to understand the subtle yet massive shift of power the president is trying to pull off here.
There is a temptation to cast this as a matter purely of political optics. The president is messaging to the feelings of the American populace to overcome an intellectual and legal hurdle to achieve his goals. In doing so he casts his opposition as mere political opportunists, hungry for power, while he simply wants to solve the problem. This appeals to the pragmatic nature of most Americans, even if this messaging attempts to mask a power grab on a level far beyond the imagination of his opponents and destroys the opportunities to exercise the pragmatism that makes the nation work.
This is terrible and destructive legally and its is, at best, propagandist politically – though I am far more inclined to declare it a lie. It is tempting to want to analyze the president and try to understand what drives a man to do things like this. And yet, history is replete with individuals that have sought, and in many cases gained, absolute or near absolute power. It is a story as old as time itself and the motivations of each are highly varied and yet fundamentally consistent – an undying belief in their own rightness. In the end it is not worth trying to analyze beyond trying to figure out how to defeat it.
The pragmatic nature of the American public has seen that what this president attempts does not work. Hence the results of the last election. That is a good reason not to get too exercised about this – this will fail like everything else he has tried. But as Obamacare before it, this will create a trail of destruction on its path to failure that will leave the nation irrevocably altered, and quite possibly worsened. It will require remarkable will, energy, thought and morality on the part of the American populace to recover from this impending failure and be as before.
What we have on our hands is, quite simply, a crisis of leadership. Instead of a leader that leads us to be better people, we have a leader that cows us by offering “bread and circuses” in the form of apparently compassionate policies and promises of grossly expensive free healthcare. (Yes, I wrote that totally oxymoronic phrase on purpose.) The troubling question in all this is how the populace has come to the point where they lack the innate desire for self-improvement that would normally see through this blatant pandering. The troubling thing about the last election is that while it did seek to “throw the bums out,” one does sense that it was looking for different bums, not for the bums to get out of the way.
Before politics will produce a leader that calls us to be a better people we have to want to be a better people. That is not something politics can produce.
So, the root question in all of this is: How can an American church, which in its most numerous and populated expressions seeks not to call the congregant to improvement, but to reassure them of their salvation, move us to the point where we desire a leader of the type that the nation now so desperately needs? Maybe churches ought be asking themselves that question.