This year 2020, Americans will vote a long ballot, perhaps one of the most important elections of all time. You probably have already made up your mind about the President but there are many candidates and the father away you go from the top down, the farther away from the voter the individuals seem to be.
The differences between the parties are in stark relief this year. For the past 40 years or so American elections focused primarily on personality. This is now the center message of the Democrats. Hillary Clinton was to be the first woman president; Obama was the first black president. Bill Clinton was a popular person with both men and women. And the Republicans who won, such as Ronald Reagan, were charming and personable.
Public criticism would focus on hair styles, silly wording, and other social mistakes. President Bush Number One became a laughing stock when he became sick at a foreign dinner or stumbling on some steps – all personality issues. None of this had anything to do with running the country.
Policy is now King
But with the election of Donald Trump, elections are now all about policy. Trump is criticized for his personal activities, tweeting, taking on verbal enemies, and making no bones about what he thought. But his platform, and that of the Republicans on down the line is all about policy. And as a consequence much of the political reporting and advertising is bold faced lies. The lies are to minimize personality mistakes, and to maximize the policy errors, or to negate them. Learning the truth about any person or topic is becoming a wasteland.
Media as a propaganda machine
In the beginning, the general pubic was not aware that they were being lied to. Not direct forms of lies, but the omission of details which would show that what was said was not true. A simple example that many candidates of all parties are acquainted with is the news story about the legislator who voted for or against a certain bill. Not one word would be included to indicate to the reader what was wrong with the bill – or what was right about it.
The reader was left thinking this was a horrid bill because he voted for it, or it was a terrific piece of legislation because the poor legislator was too stupid to know otherwise. In 100% of these cases, the person being talked about was not allowed to express his own stand on the topic. And this kind of news article is the most common.
Major newspapers went belly up
It took a while, but the public finally caught wise – they were paying money to be lied to. Will these newspaper come back? Maybe and maybe not. But the public at least now knows that various media have been deliberately fudging on the whole story, telling only what parts they thought were true, or only those parts they wanted you to believe about a person on the ballot or the issues. This mismanagement of the news is probably the main reason we have such a deep division in the country.
A lie travels around the world before the truth gets on its shoes
Perhaps the bankrupt newspapers will learn. Meanwhile the same mis-reporting is a staple with cable news stations who are also watching their viewership reduce. Some TV conglomerates are supported by profits from other profit streams. This won’t last forever. For example, I watched CNN only ten times in 12 years – in an airport – being forced to. CNN tells its advertisers that they are the most watched news in the world. They count every person in every airport. It is a false number because so many people in airports don’t watch CNN or prefer to listen to another version of events.
Below is a brief review of the policy issues that separate these two major parties. The other small parties do not have enough numbers to generate any real results on the government and the way it is run, though they do impact, like the Green Party, certain pieces of legislation and regulation.
|reduce size of government||expand size of government|
|job creation via private business||job creation via government expense|
|strict adherence to the Constitution||the Constitution is a fluid document|
|reduction of welfare||expansion of welfare|
|climate change is phony science||climate change is the need of the future|
|national security (military) is job one||military takes too much money|
|secure, defined borders||no borders|
|lower taxes, lower regulation||more taxes, more regulation|
|no federal funds for abortion||unlimited abortion funding, possibly after birth|
|regulation on vaping||regulation on vaping|
|civil rights equal for all||special rights for certain groups|
|promote educational choice||promote public education|
|no sanctuary cities||sanctuary cities as a choice|
|access to healthcare for all||free healthcare for all|
|amnesty on a case-by-case basis||amnesty for all|
|lower taxes||higher taxes||.|
You can see how one’s understanding of God would be reflected in this graph. The Republicans think of government as a stable, predictable institution with gradual change based on common principles. Democrats go with the flow.
For Christians who believe the Bible is the word of God, you will find them on the Republican side because they believe God said what he meant and meant what He said. Fluid maybe, but not all the time.
Democrats are likely to think of the Bible as a guidebook where the individual selects what he believes and leaves the rest to others. I have been in both kinds of churches and this describes them very accurately. It may not reflect the home office or the denominational position but what I see in believers, not just in America but elsewhere as well.
In England for example, there are recent rebukes to Christians for their belief, even forbidding them to speak. In America Republicans in particular would be horrified if any religious position, even those they do not agree with, were told politely to shut up.
In Liverpool Franklin Graham is banned for saying homosexuality is a sin. That is what the Bible says, and for Christians who believe the Bible is the rule book, repeating is acceptable because it is the word of God. In much the same way, the Constitution is considered the stable document equitable for all men. So you do not change the document – you get people to change to fit the document. Finland has a recent case similar to this.
Christians should expect that persecution will continue because critics who get away with it once will do it again. This division is not going away any day soon.