How could we have guessed that the Republican primaries could have ended up looking like the picture above. It all started with such hope—a cadre of good people, each bringing a special package of capabilities. It is true that we preferred some to others for various reasons, but all had inspiring resumes and much to offer.
I think back on the good old days when Rick Santorum provided us with a fine option for Chief Executive Officer—a man of character, wisdom, and experience. The same might have been said for Bobby Jindal.
Even those still in the running have much to offer, but the process has deteriorated so badly that it is difficult to see anything but mud.
Those depicted above might clean up quite nicely, but most young ladies looking for a date would bypass this crew in their present condition. I have concern that the American people are probably thinking the same regarding the Republican candidates.
The urgent question confronting us at this moment is whether any one of them can get himself cleaned up fast enough and well enough to effectively oppose Hillary or Bernie in the general election. One might have time to throw on a suit and tie, but that mud still caked in his hair is going to look less than presidential, making it difficult for the American voter to take seriously what he is saying.
It may be, then, that after eight horrendous years with Barack Obama that has incentivized the American people to lose hope and want change, the Republicans might be throwing away almost guaranteed victory by their down and dirty behavior during the primaries.
Elections have always included verbal assaults. Part of the process includes finding colorful ways to point out the weaknesses of one’s opponent. I recall Ronald Reagan’s well-honed line as he ran for his first term: “Recession is when your neighbor loses his job; depression is when you lose yours; and recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”
There is a difference, however, between clever and classless. The present process has degenerated into the latter. Though I believe Donald Trump brings many substantial capabilities to the table, I have been disappointed with the low level of his discourse—which unfortunately manifests itself regularly. For me hope faded when Mitt Romney, whom I always viewed to be the ultimate class act, resorted to the following reference to Donald Trump:
Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities. The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. You know, we have long referred to him as “The Donald.” He’s the only person in the entire country to whom we have added an article before his name, and it was not because he had attributes we admired.
One might argue regarding the validity of his assertions, but whether or not they have substance, my hope was that a man of Romney’s dignity would find a more dignified way to express his thoughts.
Now for the really bad news. With some possible exceptions, those who have engaged the least in such mudslinging diatribes seem to have done the worst in the primaries. In other words, it seems that the American people prefer the scene above to class, dignity, and substance. It is not just the candidates that gravitate toward a mud hole, or those running debates, or even the news media. It seems that our society in general has sunk to this level.
I believe that is where hope begins. It just may be that this process has become so disgusting that one day soon the American people will wake up, take a good look at themselves in a mirror, be shocked by their deplorable condition, and commit themselves to change.
James tells us that the Word of God is a mirror, the only mirror that will accurately portray our grimy societal condition. Therefore, hope will begin when the church commits itself to holding the mirror up in such a way that our society is forced to make an accurate self-analysis. Hope begins with Scripture, and it will do its work if the evangelical church in America aggressively pursues means of accurately exposing our society to its truth.