For quite a while political pundits have told us that all politicians are the same–that the Republicans are no different than the Democrats–so it really doesn’t matter whom we elect to office. This unqualified assertion is easy to believe if you haven’t done your homework or simply don’t give a rip.
But the verdict of the first eighteen months of the Obama administration has torn that argument to shreds and brought things soberly out into the light. We now know there are great differences between Republicans and Democrats.
There’s something else we now know: We’d better deeply care about the direction of the American nation we’ve known and loved or its future just might be in jeopardy.
First of all a personal disclaimer. I don’t generally think in political party terminology because parties can easily get off track and not represent people as individuals. They are useful for organizing various factions in a democratic Republic, but often their belief systems deteriorate over time so as to no longer reflect their origins. (The same phenomenon happens to individuals.)
I am not a died-in-the-wool Republican. For most of my life I considered myself an Independent who mostly voted Republican due to similar core values, but occasionally voted Democratic. I supported JFK over Richard Nixon due to his understanding of free markets and tax cuts. When I worked in Washington D.C. during the 1980s, one of my favorite Congressmen was Rep. Tony Hall of New York, a highly principled Democrat. When I ran for public office in 2006, I ran under the Republican banner because its platform best fit my views. I supported George W. Bush for his moral positions and tax policies, but disagreed with him on spending and the growth of government.
Now an historical disclaimer. Political parties change over time. The first “Republicans” in America were the followers of Thomas Jefferson for whom I would have voted. Though a complex spiritual man, Jefferson’s governance was clearly rooted in a Christian worldview that affirmed faith, liberty, limited government, free enterprise, and the importance of biblical morality for the sustaining of government institutions.
After Jefferson, the “Republicans” became the “Democratic Republicans” and eventually the “Democrats.” It was Abraham Lincoln with his strong Christian principles that gave rebirth to the Republican Party–and since the Civil War, the two parties have been dominant in our national culture.
Over the past fifty or sixty years, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that the Democratic Party has evolved into the party of secularism–or a man-centered view of life. Its progressive or liberal philosophy is more rooted in humanism than in biblical faith which means that it generally promotes freedom in morality (abortion, homosexual rights, cloning, euthanasia etc.) and restraints on business (government control, regulation, and Big Government spending and taxation). In the unspoken Democratic world, the state is God and should both provide for and protect its citizens.
The Republican view of government has stronger Christian roots. Because of their historical biblical foundations, Republicans believe there should be restraints on morality (pro-life, support of traditional marriage and opposition to homosexual unions etc.) and liberty in the economic realm (free enterprise, low taxes, less regulation etc.). Republicans believe that God is our ultimate Provider, that men are fallen (not perfectible), in individual freedom, accountiblity, limited government and God-given rights.
However, there are Republicans who sometimes lose their way on these issues (like President Nixon) and Democrats who have good values. During the last twenty years, the lines did seem to blur a bit on what was a true Republican and what was a true Democrat. George H.W. Bush was a man of respected character, but he was a moderate Republican who raised taxes and lost an election as the result. Bill Clinton came into office with a Democratic approach to issues (remember Hillarycare?), but was tempered by the Republican Revolution of 1994 and moderated to a conservative position on welfare while presiding over a balanced budget. He was a moderate Dem. As already mentioned, George W. Bush ran as a traditional Republican but embraced Big Government growth.
Which brings us to today. Through the election of Barack Obama, we now know, once again, what unrestrained Democrats really believe. Barack Obama, by definition, is a radical Democrat. He was the most liberal member of the Senate during his two year stint, and since he took office, with Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate, he has ruled as a radical Dem.
There are no shades of gray in Barack Obama. He is against traditional morality and is eroding it at every turn. He is against free enterprise and is taking control of it at an alarming pace. He genuinely believes that Big Government should be the Savior and Provider for the people.
Barack Obama, as the radical Democrat, gives us a clear picture of where the Democratic Party will lead us:
- The Federal Government will continue to explode–gobbling up wealth, liberty and free enterprise at every opportunity.
- The holocaust of abortion will now be fully funded by Obamacare–and increase in number.
- Traditional marriage and family will continue to decline and become a relic of the Christian past.
- The regulatory state will control our lives. Sixteen thousand new IRS agents will police our eventual conversion to state-run health care. Costs will soar, innovation will decline, and care will be rationed.
- Taxes will have to be raised to keep up with the voracious federal appetite–probably including a European-style VAT tax which will prolong and deepen the Great Recession.
- Under this “soft” tyranny, we will never emerge from double digit unemployment and will probably experience a collapse of the weakening and inflated dollar and US Government default on our soaring trillions of dollars of debt.
From now on, if you vote Democrat, this is your future. It is scary, problematic, and very un-American. When you follow the model of the former Soviet Union, you will reap its same consequences. Because there is a God, nations also “reap what they sow” (Galatians 6:7).
But there is another model for America. It re-surfaced in 1980 when a radical Republican named Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States. His electoral landslide was proceeded by much fasting and prayer and a national gathering that called the America nation to repentance (Washington for Jesus on April 29, 1980).
As a true and radical Republican, Ronald Reagan believed in:
- Faith and hope in God, a “rebirth of freedom” and America’s “Rendezvous with Destiny.”
- Strong marriages and families, traditional morality, and protection for the unborn.
- That free markets best regulated the affairs of business and men, spurring investment, encouraging efficiency and creativity, and producing hard-earned wealth and prosperity.
- Lower taxes were essential for creating wealth and motivating people to succeed.
- The role of government as a strong protector of liberty, both at home and around the world.
Ronald Reagan believed that America had been blessed by God to be a “city set upon a hill” (Matthew 5:14). His faith, optimism and principles brought the greatest growth period of economic growth in American history from 1982 to 2007. His belief in liberty and a strong defense helped bring down the Iron Curtain.
Ronald was a true/radical Republican.
Barack Obama is a true/radical Democrat.
Now we once again know the difference between the two parties. Republicans–radical Republicans–believe in liberty that is found in Christ. Radical Democrats believe in tyranny that is found in the State.
It’s true that sometimes moderate Republicans make decent leaders when the overall health of the nation is sound. John McCain would certainly not be taking over businesses and nationalizing one sixth of the American economy. It’s also true that moderate Democrats can be adequate leaders when there are other checks and balances (Bill Clinton with a Republican Congress).
But right now, we can’t afford either radical Democrats, moderate Democrats or half-hearted Republicans.
We need radical Republicans who will lead in the very meaning of the word “radical”: “to bring us back to our roots.”
In November and beyond, we need a radical Republican Revolution in the Jeffersonian, Lincoln-inspired or Reaganesque meaning of the words.
Let’s pray that own personal repentance and renewal will help to birth it from the grassroots up.