Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Monday
May302011

GOP CONGRESS? A BLESSING FOR DEMOCRATS

(This article was the first on my blog, Leadings   It was published on October 26, 2010, a week before the midterm elections.)

Media focus on the current Congressional election blows the national situation out of proportion.  The best gift for the Democratic Party right now will be a Republican House and/or a Republican Senate.

Every professional politician knows that this 2010 off-year Congressional election is a side-show.  The 2012  Presidential election is the main event.  Just the way it’s been for over two centuries.

The electorate is frustrated and angry.  So?  The electorate has been frustrated and angry for most of the past 222 years.  Right now, they can blame the Washington mess on the Democrats.  If the GOP wins one or both houses of Congress, then in 2012 the Republicans will get a lot of the blame for the mess.

(Reality:  The Federal Government usually feels like a mess from where we live.  Only with the perspective of history can we see that the people we elect sometimes do a skilled job of governing.)

What will happen if the Republicans control Congress?

Gridlock.  But the Nation won’t perish.  The GOP won in ’94 and Bill Clinton seemed doomed to lose in ’96. Newt Gingrich gave the House strong leadership, so the President and Congress fought, negotiated, stonewalled, and compromised on legislation – sometimes in stormy fashion, but the Federal government kept functioning.  In fact, sometimes better than at present –

Congress has neither passed a budget for the current fiscal year, nor has it set tax rates for calendar year 2011.  They’ll try to do that in special session after the November election.  Congress’ failure to act has produced uncertainties, so reportedly some businesses have shelved expansion plans, thus further contributing to the recession.

If the Republicans win the House and/or Senate next week, strident GOP voices and votes in Congress will work to the Democrats’ advantage.  Even with Republican majorities in both Chambers, the GOP will be able to do little in overturning results of the Obama agenda.  The President can veto their legislation, and the Republicans are unlikely to get 2/3 of the Senate to override his vetoes.  The Republicans’ most effective tactic will be to underfund or defund Democratic programs.

Gridlock and wrangling will make the Washington mess feel even worse to voters.  Yet, in the meantime, President Obama can take the high road and focus on foreign affairs.  Every President has wide authority in foreign relations, so President Obama can grab headlines anytime he chooses to go abroad – where he’s a superstar.  Thus, he can make a GOP Congress look like a bunch of snarling bobcats, while he fills the role of a statesman.

By 2012, voters may again be looking for change – in Congress.

What if the Democrats win Congressional majorities again next week?

Bad for the Democrats.  Then, voters’ anger will continue to focus on the Democrats, and the Republicans will probably win both the Presidency and Congress in 2012.

If so, why are Democrats fighting so hard in the current campaign?

Each Democratic member of Congress wants to stay in office.  (Let others be the losers.)

So why are the President, his wife, and his Administration campaigning so vigorously in support of Democratic candidates?  First, the President heads the party.  It’s his job to campaign.  Second, he realizes that he may lose Congressional majorities, but some incumbents will win.  So, he maintains effective working relations with Democratic candidates by supporting them now, when they need help.  Third, he needs every Democratic vote he can get.

What are the prospects for 2012?

The weight of history runs against the Republicans.  While history does not determine elections, it does show prevailing patterns.  And we have a persistent pattern:  A vigorous president, with a vision for America and an activist agenda, gets re-elected.  And President Obama is raising the bar for presidential activity.

Fourteen activist presidents were re-elected, but four of them were expected to lose:  Lincoln, Wilson, Truman, and Clinton.  Exceptions to activists who didn’t win second terms were Polk, Cleveland, Hoover, and Carter. 

Polk – because he promised to be a one-term president.

Cleveland – because the third time was a charm.

Hoover and Carter – well, they were standing in avalanche chutes.

Also, consider that the Republicans’ best hopes and worst nightmares are the same scenario – that the US economy comes roaring back in the next two years. 

Supposing that the work of the President and Congress during the past two years pays off, and by November, 2012 –

+  Unemployment is close to 5%.

+  The Dow-Jones is back up to 14,000.

+  Housing starts exceed two million and sales of existing homes are over six million, and/or

+  The budget is well on the way to being balanced –

then President Obama will probably win re-election easily.

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Wisdom.  The best learning I received in law school:  If we differ, it doesn’t mean we’re enemies.

Quote:  Democracy is the worst possible form of government – except for all the others.  Winston Churchill

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Purpose of this blog is to compile a book for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright © 2010 by Jack Towe

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