I readily admit that I have become a cynic when it comes to nation-state politics. First of all, I'm a real Anabaptist (some would use the term "hyper") when it comes to politics, so I distrust earthly nations more than I trust them. I believe power corrupts more often than not. Secondly, the last presidential election truly discouraged me. I am well aware that the first casualty in politics is the truth, and has been so since the beginning of our democracy, but with the advent of various fact-checking organizations in the last few years, it seemed we had a way to keep politicians fairly honest. But with the revelations in the last presidential election that both the Obama and Romney campaigns took a "screw the fact-checkers" strategy and continued to offer willful untruths, even though the fact-checking police were saying otherwise, it really was the last straw for me. Reasonable people can disagree on the effects of tax cuts or tax increases, for example, but when one decides to willingly continue the lies as both campaigns did, it was more than I could handle. If there is one thing Christians should not tolerate is the willful expression of what is false. And the fact that Christians on both sides of the political aisle were willing to tolerate the falsehoods perpetrated by their own candidates and campaigns was more than I could handle.
Because of this I have posted very little on politics since the last election and when I have, I have been very cynical in my comments. But yesterday, with the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and in listening to the speeches of President Obama, former President George W. Bush, and all the former presidents, I was reminded that there are transcendent moments that go beyond the unsavory aspects of democracy in a free society.
So, I have posted all the speeches of the presidents below in the hope that we will all be reminded that there are good things that come, even from empires. Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not, but even Caesar can do some good every now and then. Maybe my cynicism will be somewhat tempered.
Please listen to all the speeches. They are all good.
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)