The year has flown by, and now it's already Christmastime again. Not a moment too soon, either, considering the year of non-stop elections, new challenges in all areas of life and plenty of fresh stress for all to share. I'm really ready to immerse myself into the joys of the season.
But first, a little "year-end clearance" is in order. I need to get all those random thoughts, ideas and irritations out of my head so they don't get in the way. I want to ensure that nothing impedes my full appreciation of the holidays. For example…
• When did this year's election really begin? About five minutes after the last election? Seems like it, and the 2014 and 2016 elections will be here before we know it, Lord willing. If there's one thing we can all agree on (in a bi-partisan manner) it's that time really does fly.
• In the seemingly endless months of campaigning, we learned a lot about what constitutes reality. Many of the country's best "experts" were just flat-out wrong in their predictions about the presidential sweepstakes, congressional races and California propositions. Turnout was under- or over-estimated. So was voter intimidation and fraud in some areas.
• Since Nov. 6 we've also had a steady stream of news that might have influenced the election, had the revelations not been held off until afterward.
• Something else we now know: We may be "over the cliff" as a nation. I'm not talking about the "fiscal cliff," but one that is a state of mind. For years, many (including the Founding Fathers) have warned that the time for America to worry was when citizens realized they can simply vote for free stuff. Huddled masses yearning to be freeloaders.
We're there. It's no longer a theory. I still stand amazed that so many of my fellow Americans ignored facts and voted for themselves first, country second… and probably not a close second either. In their quest for more absolute power, politicians have encouraged this, fanning flames of class envy and racial tensions and left us in this mindset.
As a friend noted, "We appear to have shifted from a nation of achievers to a nation of beggars." I pray that's not the case, but the evidence is mounting.
• On Election Day I was shocked to learn that one of the people working on my radio show had voted anything but "conservatively," despite having several months of duty in-studio with yours truly. We talk about the news, facts and history daily. We feature some of the country's best thinkers and leaders. But he still chose, in my opinion, poorly. Great guy, hard worker, yet determined not to face facts on current events.
The person in question is a fine 20-year-old community college student. He is also a product of our educational system, warts and all. When I suggested he read some specific books in class to help understand important truths he answered, "We don't use books at college.. we have iPhones!"
When I countered that I also have iPhones, iPads, you-Pads and still read books, it was as if I had spoken in a foreign language.
The school textbooks we do have are out of date or have been so larded up with political correctness that history and common sense have been edited out. Context? What context? What matters, apparently, is this moment and how we "feel" about everything. It's all filtered through "what's in it for me." In such an environment it becomes much easier to have selective memory or invent today's "truth." When it's an election year, voting for self is easier than ever. Such a view also makes a person vulnerable to being duped.
• My daughter shared the story of her friend who voted for President Obama only because "he gives me free contraception." Another young woman, out of work for two years, wanted re-election because the incumbent leader would "help with my student loans."
• Now, importance is gauged by our moods. It's not only the young, either. Increasing numbers of Americans of all ages have learned to focus only on their needs alone. Patriotism hasn't been held up as a virtue. Success is something to be demonized.
The economic crash of 2008 and continuing recessionary pressures have intensified this "all about me" view, and politicians have stirred it up to gain power or remain in power. A new generation assumes what we are experiencing and have experienced, in recent years, is the "new normal."
Here's their legacy: We are seeing a greater level of dependency in our land, and it's a record. People have grown to believe everyone except government is suspect, though they may have an exception for trial lawyers and unions bosses.
The common view is that one must rely on, to trust … to nearly worship … government over all. That's a very dangerous situation, and it will have lasting results long after the politicians who played the game are gone.
There is a hope
So, how do we put this "genie" back into the bottle? That may be impossible. I pray that we get back to our foundational basics, but again time is flying. Every moment brings us closer to Christ's return, and that brings us back to the wonder of Christmas.
Despite all of the messes we have managed to create in our world, nothing is too big for God. When Jesus Christ was born on that first Christmas, the world was already immersed in sin, needing salvation. The locations and costumes were different, but the nature of man was just like today, ripe for confession, repentance, forgiveness and renewal.
Only by embracing the joy of God's greatest gift can we truly rise above the world's problems and reach others … before it's too late.
Larson is a veteran Southern California radio/television personality and media consultant. His voice is heard on KPRZ 1210AM, and his weekday talkshow airs mornings 6-9 on KCBQ 1170AM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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