Change in Washington: From Inside or Outside?

Well, the President finally admitted what was really true all along. Change in Washington will have to come from outside Washington. If there’s going to be change, then that change will have to come from inside. That probably sounds contradictory. So let me clear that up.  Continued….

The President tapped into something in 2008 — hope and change. Polls at the time showed that a majority of Americans thought that America was off-track. And based on Congressional approval ratings, it might have been fair to say we didn’t think that Washington even knew where the tracks were! We knew change was needed. So we did “hope” for “change.” Change is still needed, even as the President essentially conceded. But our hope for change was misplaced back then and if we’re not careful, we’ll do the same thing and be disappointed yet again.

You see, if we put our hope in a President, regardless of who that person is, then our hope is being misplaced. If we put our hope in a new Congressional leader, then our hope is misplaced. If we put our hope in a change of control by a political party in one or more of the chambers of Congress or in the Executive office, then our hope is misplaced.

Why? Because those we elect really do reflect who we are. If you ask me, we are a divided nation, with lots of angry factions. And Washington reflects that. We are a nation of divided worldviews. And Washington reflects that. We are a people who have no unified sense of what is needed much less how to achieve it. And Washington reflects that.

So, if Washington reflects who we are, then, indeed, the change is going to have to come from the outside. We need to change. To borrow an old phrase, we have met the enemy of our hopes, and the enemy is us.

But the change we need must be from within, inside ourselves. We’re going to have to be self-governed if we want to see our civil government work. As Edmund Burke, the great English statesman of the 18th Century, said:

Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.

One of our Founding Fathers, John Adams, said it this way:

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

But therein lies the rub. While the change must be within ourselves, that change won’t come without looking outside ourselves. We have turned our back on our Creator and the moral order of His universe. We have said that we know the way, but the way of man leads to death, in this case the death of a nation.

Like hikers without a compass or sailors without the North Star, we have lost our point of reference and accordingly, we have lost our way. So, we can continue to make ourselves our point of reference and remain “off track” or we can humble ourselves and look to God for direction. Only in Him who never changes is there reason to hope for change.