Billionaire Charles Koch projects a non-profit organization to “revitalize civil society.” Its initial efforts will focus on poverty and educational quality.
I know very little about the Koch brothers. I know they put a lot of money into Republican causes and candidates and they look like the source of all things evil to people on the Left. I don’t know enough about them to have an opinion. The headline reminded me of two others who used that kind of language. William Wilberforce dedicated his life to outlawing slavery. The other is John Wesley who had a two-pronged mission:
To spread scriptural holiness throughout the land, and to change the manners of the nation.
Wilberforce was a politician with access to the smoke-filled rooms and back hallways of England. Wesley’s preaching, teaching and small group skills impacted politics and almost every part of culture and society.
I wonder what the drunks and addicts and people at the legal edges thought when they heard the mission statements of Wilberforce, Wesley and their companions. Wesley’s peers in his own denomination didn’t invite him to preach in their pulpits.
I went to a Chris Christie town hall meeting yesterday. Every person running for President except Mr. Trump was in our city or within 50 miles. One of our tribe members had breakfast with Rick Perry. It sounds like Bernie had the largest crowd.
I like Christie. Liking him and voting for him may not be the same. He made us all (200-250 in a coffee shop) feel comfortable. He was funny and answered questions proficiently. He interacted with people with what appeared to be authenticity. As some of my friends would say, with politicians who can tell?
The lady standing next to me told me she is voting for Bernie. She had been to the morning Rubio event. She had been to several of the candidates’ events. I asked her as many questions as possible. Each answer came with a statement: “Under no circumstance would I vote for….” She said, “They all have a vision.”
I wonder what Bernie Sander’s vision is. He is a self-proclaimed socialist. Does he then, have a vision of no private enterprise? No private property? Collectives? There ain’t no free lunch and there will be no free college. Someone will pay. I want to hear his vision as it fits in our form of government and economic system. Socialism and capitalism are mutually exclusive. Can a socialist honestly say yes to the question asked on Inauguration Day? In this age of kick in the door and ‘em out, I have a clue why Bernie is appealing. But, his vision…?
Listening to the questions yesterday, most, if not all, were about Christie’s plan to maintain the status quo or what he would do to help my special interest group—most of them certainly worthy. I may have to read his book to capture his vision other than we’re going to be different than the past 7 years.
The debates are made of soundbytes and gotcha moments. I think both slates of candidates have effectively “disqualified” each other. Most people will vote the same ticket they have always voted and will pick candidates on the basis of their smile. I get it why my friends and family will caucus for and vote for their choices.
I’m in the undecided pile. I’m also in the group that is sick of the snarky cynicism and stupid attack ads. The lady next to me struggled a bit when I asked if she had heard “visions” in the gathering she attended. She finally said she had.
Which of the candidates would you trust to do what Wilberforce and Wesley set out to accomplish? Especially about improving the manners of society. Whose view of propriety is acceptable to you? No executive order will fix what is wrong with our society nor realign our culture. Whose vision?
The feeling that dominated yesterday’s event for me—and it was a feeling that “settled over me.” When I saw the TV up-link truck, the “suits” and guys talking into their cufflinks, I knew this was not just a coffee klatch. I was overwhelmed by the hugeness of what I was seeing. The guy who looked me in the eye and shook my hand is asking to be the one who will have that index finger on the red button—and sign the executive orders. My intent yesterday was to see the candidate and observe the crowd. Part of the “feeling” is the fear it won’t make much of a difference—without knowing the vision.
I want to help the new Pres to select his/her cabinet. I would select Rick Santorum for Secretary of Passion. I wanted to ask the candidate why he got into public service in the first place and if that passion still resides in his gut.
Stephen Mansfield, who has written bios of George W and President Obama, has a new book releasing in February. “Ask the Question: Why We Must Demand Religious Clarity from Our Presidential Candidates.”
Some of the news people are using the phrase, “Rubio is dropping the ‘J’ word frequently.” The “J word” is Jesus. One of the presidents handed his successor a file card of things he deals with each day and a sheet listing demanding problems that the new president will face “tomorrow.” The out-going president said, “(My successor’s) face turned ghostly white.”
I think the living presidents should call for a period of national prayer prior to the election. They alone know the severity of this election and what the incoming will face. I walked to the car after the meeting yesterday feeling sobered by the “hugeness.” I have not prayed enough for the 21st Century Wilberforce and Wesley who will “revitalize the civil society.”
©2016 D. Dean Benton—writer & wonderer