This is an awkward column to write. Facing my deadline and knowing you may read these words before or after the election presents a challenge. While I can explore the political choices before us, I have to remember this may all be old news after Nov. 6. I will attempt to create something that is still "current," no matter what.
I'm reminded of the age-old question from kids, "What did you do in the war, Daddy?" I didn't serve in the military, but have done everything possible to support the troops even to the point of visiting and broadcasting from the war zones in recent years.
What's the point of this? It's essential to determine how we should be involved. We've all been going through political wars during the past several months, whether we like it or not. Each side is in a battle for victory, motivated by many things. Increasing numbers of Americans also decide on another way: opting out, not voting and hoping all this will soon pass.
Some people see this war as a "game" to be won. Others believe it's a fight for our nation's survival. You'll find both views on both sides. There are also those who believe there are other things in life more important than who leads our land. Those folks are busy watching mindless television reality shows, embracing easy escapism. Bless their hearts.
But this is no game. Long after the dust settles we will continue to face choices, and after this election the to-do list is enormous.
No matter who is selected by voters to be our next president, the United States of America faces a dramatically risky economic situation, the onset of nationalized health care and spiking taxes, both federal and state, and continued worldwide instability.
Unless Congress does something soon, what's known as "Sequestration" will move into gear, forcing huge cuts referred to as "draconian," unlike anything we've seen. It could mean a gutting of our military and additional pain on families and local economies. We could become dramatically weaker as a nation on the global stage.
Still, the beat goes on in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. where the only constant is "change"… as in, "Have any spare change? Any we haven't squeezed from you, the taxpayers, yet? We'll take that, too, thank you." Of course they usually never say thanks.
Recent statistics show the national welfare rate has gone up more than 30 percent in the past four years. For every $7 taken in, the government spends $11. Let's all take a deep breath here and say the word: unsustainable. Millions remain unemployed or underemployed.
Elections have consequences. We face really big, important issues. Choices at any level should not be made on a whim or based on mood. Yet the media and various campaigns, which think it's all a game and not a battle for survival, try to deflect and distract us with the trivial.
Meanwhile four Americans were killed in Libya on Sept. 11, and too many unanswered questions remain. Tensions and terror threats have increased here at home and worldwide.
In the game of politics, too often it's all about winning at any cost.
Create diversions and make false accusations. Don't worry about the debris and rebuilding afterward. Someone else can take care of that.
So many Americans remain content to sit in their willful ignorance, knowing only what doesn't really matter. For example, viewers of the David Letterman Show may automatically think of the often-played (backward!) video of Governor Mitt Romney leading a rally crowd in singing "America the Beautiful" off-key. That was contrasted for months with the cool, on-key President Obama sounding like an Al Green musical clone, perfect and super cool.
This isn't American Idol… it's a battle for American way of life, and that's changing before our eyes. In 2008, the big push was "Let's elect the man who can give the best speech." This year it's been "Who can sing me the sweetest song?" And so it goes. 'Tis the season.
When the seasons changed and the promises disappear like vapors we plow into the Christmas season. More distractions, good and bad. But let's remember that after this election, no matter who wins, it's likely to be a very rough January and beyond. Fixing our problems is not going to be easy.
So what have we learned in the current political war? A lot of things, I hope. Words mean things, and choices have consequences. Giving up any bit of liberty for temporary "security" never ends well. Ignoring facts and reality doesn't make the bad things go away.
And it's not about "feelings." Watch how often people talking politics preface their comments with "I feel…" or "My feeling is…" Election strategists love to massage those feelings, trying to persuade voters with offers of warm promises and "free" insurance coverage and even cell phones.
The only thing I know that is truly free is life in Christ, accepting God's gift of His Son. That truth makes me want to stay suited up and mobilized in the Lord's army as our battle continues long after this election.
Before the election we must be informed and consider our actions and civic responsibilities. After the election, we must commit to pray for the president and our other elected leaders—now more than ever.
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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