By now, you know that I try to steer clear of political commentary and opinion. I, like many Americans, are well aware that politics is a game; I don't have much faith in those who go to Washington D.C. in the name of the folks back home, then quickly forget us as they make shady deals in the back rooms of dark, smoky sanctuaries.
I'm not naive. I know that power has always corrupted mankind, and even at the beginning of our great nation, things weren't completely honorable. Even then, politicians struggled to establish a powerful and autocratic central government; and men were easily bought and paid for. Politics has not changed; but we as a people changed.
The values that pervaded the first half of our history began to erode in the last 100 years. Hard work, faith in God and a desire to make it on our own were the hallmarks of our ancestors. In recent years, we've become characterized as a nation that is lazy, looking for a handout, and thinks God is just a fairy tale. Our leaders .... in both parties .... have taken us down a road towards unimaginable and insurmountable debt, while they live their elitist lives and go unscathed from the economic fallout.
I have to admit that I only watched the Convention on a sporadic basis. I heard Paul Ryan's speech, Marco Rubio's, and the Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney. You may, or may not agree, but my impression was decidedly different than I had anticipated. I heard a more "down to earth" and real expression of what America means than I have heard in a long time.
Sure, there were the promises that all candidates make ... they can do a better job than the guy currently in office. But I heard something more. I heard old-fashioned American values expressed. I heard how exceptional America is. And I heard how this Presidential candidate wants to give us back our foundation and prosperity. There seemed to be a recognition, at least, that this Party's candidates know what we prize: the opportunity to provide for our families through a secure job; raising children in a loving, stable family; giving the next generation a chance to accomplish their dreams; and preserving our proud heritage and birthright. Granted, these are not flashy, pie-in-the-sky promises, but they are at the heart of what Americans value.
What I appreciated, from what I saw, was the lack of overt attacks on the opposition. This Convention and its speakers concentrated on what was good about America and how they personally had benefitted from the opportunities America offers. You heard positive stories; stories of the rewards of perseverance and hard work; stories of true hope for what America still can accomplish. It was a nice change of pace.
I know that I am an unapologetic sentimentalist. I love our history and I still hold on to the image of a revived and resurrected America. I may be old-fashioned, but I want my leaders to tear up when they talk about how much their parents' hard work and sacrifice is appreciated. I want my leaders to get emotional when they talk about how much they miss the years when their children crawled into bed with them. And I want my leaders to tell me that they still believe America is the best country in the history of the world.
The speech I heard on the last night of the Republican Convention was not flamboyant or highbrow. It was simple and understated, by political standards. But it was more authentic than any I've heard in a long time. I'm not gullible enough to think that these men and women are "just like me"; but I do have a sense that there was a change in the "political air". That maybe, just maybe, they are listening this time. That they might really try to give us what we want. We'll see. Ultimately, I know that God is in control, and He can use anyone to move forward His agenda. Dear God, we pray that our leaders seek Your will, not theirs.
Isaiah 1:26 "I will restore your leaders as in days of old, your rulers as at the beginning."