The political primaries are probably one of the two reasons that truly great and principled people do not run for high office. The second is the press. It seems that it is always open season to try to destroy people for the sake of political power.
To be sure, it is the job of the press to expose inconsistencies - if one thing is said in Boston and another in Kansas. Too many candidates morph their positions depending on the audience. However, much of the press is so selective in their coverage that it is about as embarrassing as press coverage behind the Iron Curtain a few decades ago. Then it was government controlled. Today it is agenda-controlled.
Gaffes by the favored son or daughter are ignored. Brilliant performances by the "enemy" are ignored. The net effect is the same. People are in the dark and vote based upon false information.
The Iron Curtain collapsed because it was impossible to keep hiding the fact that the Emperor's new clothes did not amount to a hill of beans. The Internet and other avenues of information have changed the expectations of people worldwide. It has been estimated that 70% of Iranians no longer support their government, part of President Bush's proclaimed axis of evil.
So why, might you ask, have Americans not risen up more than they have against the manipulation by the media and the dog-eat-dog primary battles? I believe it is because deep-seated prejudices and proclivities to sin actually fall in line with what is going on. People love gossip. They like to see people torn down. They watch with incredible loyalty the TV and movie trash produced by the same people who feed them their political agenda and follow the lives of debased celebrities whose shallow opinions are given the weight of Holy Writ.
Thanksgiving Day I heard a man denounce our President, stating that the gap between rich and poor was never wider and that the middle class was being destroyed. Well, I oppose the efforts of the credit card companies and others to press Americans into crushing debt by raising rates to unprecedented levels while the cost of money is extremely low. I oppose spiraling health care costs that are out of line with other professional services. But I also know that this same gentleman who is so vociferous and sees himself as "poor" eats out often at restaurants charging $100-$200 per couple, just bought a large LCD HDTV, and plans to spend thousands improving his home. He has bought into practically every lie there is because the people who press his buttons are VERY good at it.
I have also heard people on the right do their mantras of misinformation. They pass along rumors without substantiation, they support candidates who give lip--service to their issues without demonstrated performance, and they share the belief with the left that government can solve America's most pressing problems. They want the government to rule against abortion and restrict homosexual marriage just as the left wants the government to control health care and the environment. Each side wants the government's hands off what they are opposed to, but its hands on what they support.
Government really cannot change people. However, it can set a tone, and the symbolism of government pronouncements either lends legitimacy or disapproval to key issues of the day. That is why I really do not have a problem IN AN IDEAL SYSTEM with government taking positions as long as freedom is not compromised. The problem is that only those who take very strong positions are players in our LESS THAN IDEAL SYSTEM. The activists on the right and the left bombard congress and the President with calls, letters, and emails. Decisions made under pressure can just as easily be changed when opposing pressure comes. Hence the desire to memorialize by passing a law.
During this time of political manipulation, I encourage all to firmly research key issues and positions before lending support to anyone. Be slow to believe smears, and ask God for the gift of discernment so that you will not be misled as the candidates compete for your vote.
Likewise, if you are a Christian, take the same steps in choosing your fellowship and your belief system. There is much competition for your soul and your pocketbook, and many have thrown their lot with that which has been spun to manipulate your emotions and your prejudices, not that which has been eternally revealed in the Holy Bible. While political decisions can change the course of history, spiritual decisions will affect your eternal life - whether it will be a glorious time spent with the Lord or a torturous time spent with the prince of the this world in his appointed abode. Decide wisely, and always avoid political AND spiritual deception!