Government Shutdown Day 9: How Did We Get Here?
A new poll shows that voters have a higher opinion of witches, hemorrhoids, and jury duty than they do of Congress. The good news? Voters' opinions on Congress are still higher than their opinions on Miley Cyrus, Lindsey Lohan and Anthony Weiner.
As the government shutdown continues, the "debt ceiling" debate is now escalating. The federal debt ceiling is currently set at $16.7 trillion. Since the government spends $30 billion more a month than it takes in, it needs permission to borrow more in order to keep paying its bills. If the debt ceiling is not raised by October 17, the Treasury says it will run short of cash.
How did we get here?
As I wrote last week, our culture no longer affirms an objective view of truth and accompanying moral consensus. Each party, or group within the parties, now legislates its own version of reality, using any political means at its disposal. Government is broken because the society that elects it is broken.
Commenting on this issue, Stratfor's George Friedman provides historical context. He notes that prior to the 1970s, the delegates who select presidential candidates at national conventions were themselves elected at state conventions which were controlled by party bosses. These bosses were more pragmatic than ideological, seeking primarily to enhance their party's power and security.
Then a reforming movement sought to return more power to the people, replacing state conventions with open primaries in which citizens elect those who represent them at national conventions. However, turnout for these elections has been so low that small groups motivated by ideological passions have been able to gain disproportionate power. (Think Tea Party or abortion rights advocates.) This process has empowered ideological groups in electing state and local officials as well. Those they elect must continue to advance their ideology if they wish to be reelected, making compromise more difficult than ever.
Dr. Friedman concludes: "I have no idea what I could do to help matters, but I am sure there is something." What do you believe that "something" to be? What should be done to resolve our legislative and ideological impasse? Please share your thoughts in our comments section.
And join me in praying that the God who redeems all he allows will use this crisis to draw us from self-reliance to Spirit-dependence. His promise is clear: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Are you trusting him with all your heart this morning?
Jim Denison, Ph.D., is a subject matter expert on cultural and contemporary issues. He founded the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, a nonsectarian "think tank" designed to engage contemporary issues with biblical truth in 2009 and is the author of seven books, including Radical Islam: What You Need to Know. For more information on the Denison Forum, visit www.denisonforum.org. To connect with Dr. Denison in social media, visit www.twitter.com/jimdenison or www.facebook.com/denisonforum.
Publication date: October 9, 2013