This week the Navy announced that it was designing a new kind of ship to replace the existing class of amphibious vessels that are nearing the end of their useful life. As I read the article, I couldn’t help but wonder if our “existing class” of political leaders” isn’t “nearing the end of their useful life” as well.
What prompted this thought was a military official’s statement that the amphibious vessels we use today won’t meet the coming need “due to the concept of operations we are under today.” In other words, what worked before isn’t going to continue to work now, because the nature of warfare and the landscape of the battlefield have changed.
And the same is true of our political landscape. It’s changed from what it was in 1776 and even as recently as the 1950s. Those who don’t understand that will wonder what happened when they get run over. But the change is not just a result of technology and political methodologies, which is what most political parties, politicians, and political organizations think. It’s more than that. The whole nature of the political “conflict” has changed.
In the past, American politics operated more or less on the basis of a shared set of fundamental beliefs. The political conflict or divide rested in how to apply those beliefs to a particular problem. Today conflict over application still exists, but the nature of the conflict or divide is different because the conflict manifests at the level of a core fundamental belief.
By “fundamental” I’m not referring to something as superficial as a belief in whether a strong economy is a “good” thing. And by what “divides” I’m not referring to a belief that more government or less government regulation or taxation is what will bring about a strong economy. I’m taking about something even more fundamental than that.
The dividing line today—the new “battleground,” if you will—is our view of the universe itself, namely, is there a God who intervenes in time and space to hold men and the governments accountable for righteousness and justice according to immutable standards of the same? That is the dividing line.
There are some politicians today who would give lip service to that belief, but many of them betray themselves by the way in which they govern. For example, many of those politicians, Democrat and Republican, believe that the “right” tax and regulatory policies by civil government will produce a strong economy, even if on the cultural front we flaunt God’s design for marriage rooted in His very nature, kill our children in the womb, and worship the creation rather than the Creator.
Too many of today’s politicians either embrace these cultural views or run away from talking about them like they were running away from a devil who has set their hair on fire.
For those who believe that this “kind” of politician is fundamentally wrong and not up to the task that lies ahead, we have to ask ourselves: are we going to do what we have to do to train up a new kind of politician, one who is prepared to challenge the prevailing God-is-dead-or-irrelevant view of the universe and who will talk about the issues the current crop won’t talk about?
If we’re not ready to do that, then like warships no longer fit for battle, our ship of state may be sunk.
David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.