Every day, the level of political discourse in our country seems to hit a new low. As much as Secretary Clinton likes to quote Michelle Obama’s dictum, “when they go low, we go high,” both candidates have shown themselves to be comfortable fighting in the gutter (this was the premise of the second debate’s final question).
Had the first two presidential debates been actual political debates, it would have been perfectly appropriate to have someone like Lester Holt, Anderson Cooper, or Martha Raddatz moderate. Instead, we got a couple of mud wrestling contests. Someone with the skill set of Jerry Springer or Howard Stern would no doubt have been a more apt referee.
For President Obama, Mr. Trump and the Republican party serve as a convenient scapegoat for this state of affairs. Interestingly, Secretary Clinton has painted Mr. Trump as an outlier: not a true Republican, but part of a radical fringe which is threatening to overtake the GOP.
While both candidates are certainly contributing to the problem, neither has created it. As a country, we’ve come a long way from any sense of decency and morality. While our founding fathers were careful to avoid framing America as a Christian nation, they shared the conviction that some sort of religious belief was an essential mooring for the stability of any nation. Had the Declaration of Independence been written today, you can be certain it wouldn’t contain any talk of “nature’s God” or being “endowed by [the] Creator with certain unalienable rights.”
We’ve come a long way since 1776. There can be little doubt that the rampant secularism of modern society is fundamentally incompatible with the values upon which our nation was founded. This is why we have arrived at a point where we speak of “women’s health” rather than the murder of the unborn and the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage was met with cheers of “love wins” rather than the normalization of sexual perversion.
It’s also why reprehensible toys like Matchbox’s Stinky the Garbage Truck have become so popular for children. Billed as your “bestest buddy ever,” Stinky burps, farts, barks out demands for food, and proudly announces, “Dump time!” prior to “defecating.”
As a society, we have become unhinged from any sense of decency and morality. This pervades every aspect of our life, including our laws and politics; our music, media, and television, and even our children’s toys. It’s time we acknowledge that the things we want aren’t always good for us.
Thank God a seven-year-old child knows right from wrong, even if we, by our unrighteousness, have suppressed the truth (Romans 1:18). But if we keep catechizing our children with toys like Stinky, we have little reason for optimism about our future even if it doesn’t end in nuclear warfare.
We live in a dark time, and the nomination of two “deeply flawed” candidates should come as no surprise. We live in a deeply flawed society, where conscience and natural law are becoming increasingly dismissed in favor of allowing everyone to do what is right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25). Far from receiving their nominations by accident, Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton are the political incarnation of everything America holds dear.
Rather than look for scapegoats, we ought to look in the mirror. While Christians may not advocate a secular agenda, we have contributed to the problem by staying quiet, going with the flow, and regarding one’s religion and morality as an essentially private, personal affair. Whatever the outcome of the election, we can be certain of one thing: God will give our nation exactly what it deserves.