Friday, January 29, 2010

How to Succeed in Politics

I’m coming closer to the reins of power. The girlfriend of a guy I know is the daughter of the probable next governor of our state. (I can’t wait to get my hands on my share of the loot!)

When I told the guy that I’d read of his impending connection to the governor’s mansion, it was all I could do not to tell him that I knew his gal’s dad’s secret for success. So I’m telling you instead, and inviting him to nod in agreement.

The guy’s friend’s father the candidate knows this, and now you do, too: if you want to win, you campaign on a platform of higher taxes and less freedom. It wins every time. Don’t believe me? Here’s a little history lesson.

The earliest election I know of just happens to be the most relevant for this blog: that in 1 Samuel 8. The Republican candidate there was the incumbent, godless anarchy with its endless wars, sexual perversion, and exploitation of the poor. The Democrat was “a king…such as all the other nations have.” Samuel tried to convince the people that there was a third party, godly anarchy, rule by the Torah, and he warned specifically that the Democrat would raise taxes and restrict freedom, but the people chose the Democrat in a landslide.

At the other end of the Bible is the beast of Revelation, an overwhelmingly popular politician whose claim to fame is restricted freedom (Re 13:17), but you can bet he needs taxes to feed the army that enforces his dictates. So at least parts of the Bible would back me up.

Ah, but this is America. We’re a righteous and peace-loving people, not like the sinners that inhabit the rest of the world. Right? Wrong. Look at our recent presidents.

Ronald Reagan might have won his first election by chiding Jimmy Carter’s spending (“I’d say Mr. Carter spends money like a drunken sailor, but that would be unfair to drunken sailors”), but once he was in power government spending (the true measure of taxation) really took off. And though he made some well-publicized deregulations, all in all his Department of Commerce prided itself on increasing regulation more than any previous administration had, and he ramped up the antifreedom War on Drugs and broke his campaign promise to end draft registration. Did any of this diminish his political clout? Ha! He won reelection in a landslide, and the first Bush got into office on his coattails. And in the glossary Rush Limbaugh put at the end of one of his books, the entry for Ronald Reagan reads, “My hero.” Miller Lite comes to politics: More taxes! Less freedom!

Even though the first Bush broke his famous “Read my lips: no new taxes” pledge, his party nominated him to run for reelection, but Bill Clinton promised even higher taxes and more restrictions, so beat both him and his Limbaugh-backed successor.

The second Bush promised “fiscal responsibility” and “a modest foreign policy” and lost the election to a big spender. (At any rate, he got into office under questionable circumstances—I think both sides were telling the truth when they accused each other of voter fraud.) He promptly raised taxes and restricted freedom, but those who had voted for him because of his original platform considered him a vicar of Christ on earth, a champion of freedom, and voted for him again.

And our current president was considered the son of god incarnate during his campaign precisely because he promised…you guessed it. QED.

Politics is always theft, murder, lies, and hypocrisy. Those who rise to the top are those who are the most adept at theft, murder, lies, and hypocrisy. “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” (Je 5:31). Our prophets are the propolitics media, our priests are our politicians, and the Bride of Christ in the US loves it this way. She is political to the core, as evidenced by her zeal for imperialist war, “faith-based charities,” government schools, and the War on Drugs. And we wonder why she is held in contempt.

How different from the city on a hill Jesus calls us to be. He is our Abraham, desiring to work outside the political system of theft, murder, lies, and hypocrisy to rescue us from the clutches of wicked politicians (Ge 14:14–16). Will we allow him to rescue us, or will we be like Lot, preferring the sin of Sodom to the freedom of Abraham’s pastures?