Thursday, February 4, 2010

Remember the Promises

Remember the Promises

By Joel Hilliker

Or you’ll miss an important lesson.

It has been a rough year for America’s president. His efforts abroad have been marred by gaffes and failures. He’s abandoned allies, bowed to foreign leaders, and suffered humiliating snubs. Iraq and Afghanistan are slipping the leash. At home, big plans to reverse unemployment and revamp health care have tanked. High-profile domestic terror attacks have exposed flaws in intelligence and homeland security. The three by-elections that punished the president’s party—including the stunning Republican victory in Massachusetts—are a bellwether of his sagging popularity.

What in the world happened? Remember the campaign? The election? The inauguration? All the pomp, optimism and grandiosity—it seems like a distant dream. In the daily political grind of 2010, we’ve forgotten the divine promises of 2008.

It’s important to remember. Because in forgetting, we miss an earthshaking lesson.

By this point, we were supposed to be a quarter of the way to political and national utopia. Candidate Obama promised he would safeguard all nuclear material worldwide by 2012, stop new nuclear weapons from developing, finish the fight in Afghanistan, crack down on al Qaeda in Pakistan, end the Darfur genocide, and create a Palestinian state that exists with Israel “side by side in peace and security.” He said he would sit down with Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Palestinians, and other unsavory leaders, solve our differences, clear the air, and make the world respect America again.

Candidate Obama promised to cut the world’s extreme poverty in half and boost international aid while simultaneously revitalizing inner cities, overhauling immigration laws, outlawing discrimination against transsexuals and banning racial profiling. He promised to make the criminal justice system one that would inspire every American’s trust and confidence, and he said he would attract more doctors to rural areas. He pledged to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050 and reduce electricity demand even as the population increases. He said he would provide free college education for those who want to become teachers, supply health care and broadband Internet access for every American, save Social Security, rebuild aging infrastructure, and build a 21st-century Veterans Affairs hospital—all while slashing federal waste and cutting taxes for almost all working families. He would eradicate earmarks and lobbyists. He would throw open the closed-door meetings of Washington politicians. Washington was broken, he said, but he would fix it. No problem was too great for this man to issue a bold promise to solve it.

In thundering tones, candidate Obama proclaimed that he would “make sure our economy is working for everybody.” To do that, he would effect “nothing less than a complete transformation of our economy.” He would find a way to “end the age of oil” and “solve this energy crisis once and for all.” “I will cut taxes—cut taxes—for 95 percent of all working families.” “I can make a firm pledge, under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” “[W]hen I am president, [lobbyists] won’t find a job in my White House.”

He added literally hundreds more promises that are difficult to exaggerate.

This is how Barack Obama led, and millions of people followed. “[I]n this election, at this moment, you are standing up all across this country to say, not this time. Not this year. The stakes are too high and the challenges too great to play the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expect a different result. This time must be different.”

“[T]his fall we owe the American people a real choice. It’s change versus more of the same. It’s the future versus the past.”

“[T]onight I want to speak directly to all those Americans who have yet to join this movement but still hunger for change—we need you. We need you to stand with us, and work with us, and help us prove that together, ordinary people can still do extraordinary things.”

We can “remake this world as it should be.”

“We are the hope of the future ….”

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

“Because we know what we have seen and what we believe—that what began as a whisper has now swelled to a chorus that cannot be ignored; that will not be deterred; that will ring out across this land as a hymn that will heal this nation, repair this world, and make this time different than all the rest. Yes we can.”


Here is what we wrote the night Barack Obama was elected:

Oh, how all those promises inspire hope.

But soon, inevitably, reality will set in. Global crises will still occur. The financial meltdown will not go away—it will grow worse under the “fixes” that put the country deeper in debt. Cars will still need gas, and mortgages will still need to be paid. As we wrote recently, America’s next president will be in over his head.

When these rains of adversity descend, and the floods and winds beat vehemently against people’s hope, that hope will fall—because it is founded on sand. …

Soon it will be this new government trying desperately to keep the economy from tanking, grappling with international security concerns that exceed the military’s capabilities, being mistreated by foreign governments, sinking deeper into debt and so on. It will be this government letting the people down.

Bitterly, painfully true. It turns out the messiah-like candidate of 2008 was just another politician. No hope. No change. Only a deteriorating country.

How could we know?

Because of an eternal, universal truth—written in the broken promises of legions of leaders and the shattered hopes of numberless peoples—vividly proven, time after time, through all human history. Its veracity is indisputable, yet mankind almost universally refuses to believe it.

It was summarized starkly by the Prophet Jeremiah: “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man.”
Yes, cursed. So says God.

Yet, judging by the euphoria beginning to build over a Republican resurgence, it is clear that this nation has yet to recognize this lesson.

 The promises are bubbling up again. The hope that some new politician will bring a better tomorrow is reviving. The trust in man is as alive as ever.

All that is doomed to be dashed. What will it take before we accept God at His word?

But there is hope. It is in the God who sets up kingdoms and takes them down, the God who will soon establish His own government on Earth. That empire will deliver the safety, the wealth, the prosperity, the growth mankind so desperately needs.

Jeremiah’s statement of the curse in trusting man continues: “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord.”

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