Benjamin Franklin once said, “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”
The Democratic Party has two candidates who are falling all over themselves trying to outdo the other in making people “easy” or comfortable in their poverty. Candidates Sen. Bernard Sanders and Hillary Clinton both want to prove that they are the one willing to give away more free stuff:
- free college,
- free rent,
- free phones,
- free abortions,
- free birth control,
- free healthcare,
- free food.
You don’t need to work or even try to become successful. The government will take care of you. The only thing that neither wants free is the American people or their speech.
That being said, the GOP race evidences another aspect of Franklin’s quote. Americans are not just comfortable in their monetary poverty, they are also equally comfortable in their spiritual poverty. On Good Friday, the National Enquire ran a story ‘claiming’ candidate Sen. Ted Cruz allegedly had affairs with five women. Anyone bothering to read the article realized it was written as a defense lawyer’s dream. It was filled with “allegedly”, “claimed”, “supposedly” and other such words that mean, “You can’t sue us because we didn’t actually accuse anybody of anything.” It is essentially a page out of CBS News’ National Guard story against George W. Bush that was completely based on fake documents, but that didn’t matter. The story itself was too important.
However, it’s not the fact that a hit piece was used. Such things are expected in elections. What’s troubling is the public’s reaction to it. The best example is Michelle Collins of “The View,” who giddily admitted she hoped this scandal was true, because Cruz lives by a “crazy moral code.” She wants to see a man like that fall.
Another co-host, Candace Cameron Bure, a devout, unapologetic Christian, called Collins out on her statement, rightfully pointing out that Ted Cruz ’s so-called “crazy moral code” is actually a biblical lifestyle. Though Collins relented to that fact, she continued to ramble on about wanting to see him fail because “he’s not a good guy.”
Why does she think he’s not a good guy? Because he believes life begins at conception and that he doesn’t think taxpayer money should fund the abortion clinics known as Planned Parenthood? Or is it because he believes in traditional marriage and Christian business owners shouldn’t be forced to participate in a same-sex wedding? Maybe it’s just because he believes in the Constitution and that States have more rights than the federal government. Trump has said many times he would stop such attacks on Christians. If that is the case, this attack on Christian values should offend his supporters even if they dislike Cruz. In a similar fashion, the Black Lives Matters protesters at Trump rallies who intentionally attempt to paint him and his supporters in a bad light should equally offend non-Trump supporters.
We have gone from a people who rightly looked up to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin, not because they were perfect men, but because they tried to be honorable, virtuous men. They sacrificed everything for liberty and freedom for all posterity. But America is now so incredibly comfortable in our spiritual poverty that people are actually delighting in the fact that Cruz could be destroyed by what appears to be a completely false story because it damages a faithful Christian. Are we so morally void of any decency that, as many have said, they actually don’t care whether it’s true as long as it destroys Cruz while completely dismissing what it does to Heidi Cruz, her girls, the five suspected women and their families?
Since the time of Woodrow Wilson and the progressive war on America started discrediting Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Franklin, we have crushed our moral compass and discarded our national role models. Resulting is our comfort in our ethical poverty including coveting, greed, pre-marital sex, abortion, divorce, open affairs, lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, gossiping, and bearing false witness. In our enlightened world, we can openly violate the Ten Commandments as long as it gets us ahead. We have become so comfortable and lazy in our spiritual poverty we jump on Twitter to call people “bitch”, “whore”, “slut”, “stupid”, threaten and delight in the thought of a gang rape. We are becoming morally bankrupt towards others simply because they hold a difference of opinion or support another candidate.
2016 Americans name-calling and election-time mudslinging is nothing new in American politics. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had just as nasty of a campaign as we are seeing today. But there was one big difference. The insults of the 1800 election were hurled through articles written by Adams and Jefferson themselves with a few willing newspaper participants. Today we are barraged with a 24-7 news cycle, talk radio, “The View,” podcasts and Twitter. Rather than watching the back and forth of two candidates trying to out maneuver the other, we as a population are throwing verbal assaults at each other and refusing to find common ground.
For a population that has felt crushed under the foot of Obama and political correctness, Trump has given people the feeling of freedom to say whatever they want. At the same time, the anonymity of the Internet has given us the protection to attack anyone with a differing opinion. It is liberating. But in a civil society we need to function under our own personal moral compass or we fall under the weight of our own depravity. As it says in 1 Corinthians 10:23: “Everything is permissible,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything is edifying.
Adams supporters and Jefferson supporters were able to come together after the election because the insults lobbed were between the two candidates, not the common man. How are we as a people going to unite after a year of personal insults, personal attacks, and personal threats against each other? Some hurling those insults openly profess they don’t want to unite, often saying, “We don’t need you anyway,” and “Get out of the way or get run over.” America, we are in real trouble and unless we enrich ourselves spiritually, or at least morally, it doesn’t matter who becomes president, Clinton, Cruz, Sanders or Trump, we are done as a free republic. We will require a dictator because we will become so uncivilized that society will demand someone come in and put a boot on the neck of those who can’t control themselves.
As Franklin warned, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
Is it possible for Trump and Cruz supporters to be civil with each other when we both claim we want to disrupt the establishment, stop ISIS, end illegal immigration, stop refugees, strengthen the economy, and limit the reach of the government? We share common wants and beliefs. Why can’t we share common civility? If we can’t, we will share a common poverty, both in spirit and in the wallet, under Commandant Clinton or Bernard Sanders .