Spoiler alert – this is a deviation from my normal posts and is a political post. You have been warned.
The first time I ever heard the above title spoken, it was by a Major League Baseball player during the pre-game festivities of his first All-Star game. Having reached the pinnacle of his profession and upon being in the presence of the very heroes of the game that he had looked up to, his only response at the time was to look, listen and observe. I have always enjoyed that quote and have leaned on it often when dealing with emotional and overwhelming situations. Reflecting on the last few weeks has once again returned that quote to my mind:
“Eyes open, ears open, mouth shut.”
Now I am a huge fan of the West Wing, having watched the entire series on at least 4 separate occasions. One of the techniques that Aaron Sorkin and the writing staff regularly utilized when dealing with an emotional issue on the show was to have one of the main characters (usually President Josiah Bartlett) list statistics in quick succession to reinforce the magnitude of the problem. In homage to that show, I provide the statistics below:
16: The number of terror attacks in the last two months where more than 10 people were killed
786: Total number of people killed in those 16 attacks
10: The number of different countries where those attacks occurred (France, Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, Chad, Turkey, Iraq, Cameroon, Somalia)
Do those stats stun you? They are stunning to me. Not due to the magnitude, because there has been larger tragedies historically in terms of sheer numbers. But I am stunned due to the breadth of terror in such a short amount of time across 10 countries. And it mainly has been the work of two groups: ISIL and Boko Haram. Please, please, please educate yourself on these two terror groups. Look…listen…learn. And when you have finished with that, you will realize that the time has now come to speak.
I have been a student of politics for many years. I enjoy it from a strategic standpoint and a policy standpoint. I have enjoyed many debates with my friends and family over the years and plan on continuing to do so. I even ran for office once in 2004 (losing pretty easily) which opened my eyes even more to the political game. I can game plan for you how a certain candidate can best position themselves to win the election via a ‘SEC primary’ strategy or how another can be the establishment darling. I can even plot out how the Republican candidate could be decided by a brokered convention which would bring the biggest reality show ratings of all time. That is fun. That is amusing.
That is not what I’m addressing in this post.
This post is meant to be a course correction. Because some have either knowingly or unknowingly allowed themselves to be pulled so far off course, they may not realize they can even come back. And reading this may even offend you. But given the horrific attacks of the past two months, including at a place I was fortunate enough to visit for the first time less than a month ago, and given the conflicts that our country will face for many years to come, I feel compelled to explain some conclusions I’ve reached regarding those that would like to help decide our next Commander-in-Chief:
- It is not intellectually honest to claim that you love the United States of America and care for it as a country and then support/defend a candidate
who is unfit or unqualified for the office of President. And yes, being unfit or unqualified for office includes being willfully ill-informed, ill-prepared, ignorant, a racist, a misogynist and/or a liar. If you care for the country, then one must respect the Office. And those that want to earn that honored place, must respect it as well. And if you think I’m talking about your preferred candidate, then doesn’t that say everything you need to know about them as a candidate?
- The only logical and intellectually feasible rationale for supporting an unfit or unqualified person for President is simply an unquenched desire to see the entire institution and system burnt to the ground out of anger and vengeance. They have a word for that – it’s called anarchy.
- If you are adhere to a Christian worldview and place a high value on Scriptural authority, please remember that pursuing the previous path as explained above is explicitly NOT what we are commanded to do in relation to a governing authority. And please recall that when those commands were
written, their governing authorities were people like Nero and Domitian.
In summary, being a citizen of the United States should make us feel fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to live in such freedom. And we should seek every possible way to provide that same hope and opportunity to all within our country. That is a serious and sober pursuit. May we approach our tasks as citizens in just such a way.
(And P.S. – this also includes embracing those that would like to join our country, under the law, in pursuit of life, liberty and happiness – similar to the very people upon which this country was built. But further discussion of that point is for another time…)