After an essay woodshedding the Republicans and cheering the Democrats on to pass health care reform without the stubborn opposition, the editors of The New Republic (October 7) sign off with this: "If Max Baucus's months of work achieved nothing else, he has unmasked the true nature of the contemporary GOP and, in the process, revealed just how broken our political system has become."
I doubt our system is as broken as all that. However, our practice of that system is more cynical, self-centered, power-grasping, and uncivil than it's ever been. The American republican form of government was born in a moral and social setting in which gentlemen still lived - lettered men who knew how to express themselves without rancor or vilification, and who argued the points of every issue with clear and compelling logic (think: Federalist Papers). Yes, of course, there were ploys and schemes and back-room deals, and no small amount of turf-marking; however, the Founders of this republic were, by and large, true statesmen, and they practiced the art of politics within a framework of civility and concern for the common weal that seems decidedly lacking in our day.
Our political system is fine, thank you. It's the practitioners who need some help. The state of governance in our country is what it is because the nation as a whole has drifted so far from the Biblical moorings to which it was originally anchored. This is not the nation's fault; it's the fault of the Church, which, for nearly 300 years, has failed to detect and then resist the changing temper of the times and has, instead, tried to shift its sails to catch every wayward breeze that seemed to promise more members, more attention, more money, and more power. If something in this country is broken, it's the Church and her leaders, who have fundamentally abandoned any sense of obligation to the teaching of Scripture in wide areas of Biblical Truth and are, instead, off exploring the mists of, first, modernity, and now, postmodernity, to see if there are any seeking souls to be swayed.
The Church, having swayed from its clear path, has failed to maintain the moral consensus and framework within which the Constitution was drafted. We are to blame, at least in the first place, for the irresponsible leaders who man our excellent system of government. The sooner we get back to our proper calling, the sooner we will be able to help Washington get back to its own.
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