DEMOCRACYSolve the World’s Problems?
As we pause to celebrate the Fourth of July, we must reflect upon the things that made the United States of America the greatest nation in the history of the world. Flawed as it is, our system of democracy and capitalism has succeeded in producing a nation of freedoms and prosperity that is the envy of every other country on earth. As we look back on our history, it is apparent that the United States has had several advantages. The most obvious is that our founders believed in and showed deference toward a higher power and authority than the system of government they devised. Their writings invoke Almighty God, Divine Providence and the Creator often. Down through our history, a majority of American citizens have agreed with those precepts, and, if you believe in God, it’s hard to argue that He has not had a hand in blessing and preserving this nation over the past two hundred years as we’ve watched other great world powers crumble and fail.
Over recent decades, we’ve seen the intractable religious hatreds of the Middle East spill onto our shores. World energy supplies have been threatened. Terrorism is a constant worry in Europe and in the United States. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001 we’ve seen our domestic travel industry crippled. A major component of American life, that of hassle-free travel, has become a distant memory. Illegal immigration has been of concern over a long period of time, but now it’s more serious. We’ve been told that al-Quaeda plans to take advantage of our porous borders to infiltrate terrorists, and yet the border continues to be breached by streams of anonymous individuals. I know of no other country that takes a ho-hum attitude toward unlawful entry. And yet those who publicly call for our borders to be sealed are branded racists.
Democracy has been touted as a long-term solution to the repressive regimes in the Arab world, and there are still high hopes for success in Iraq. In Iran however, we’ve just witnessed the downside. In a close election run-off, one Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been elected Iran’s new president. Not that it mattered in the grand scheme of things. Iran’s un-elected fundamentalist Islamic mullahs wield supreme power there. But observers fear that there may now be a backlash against a sizable portion of the population who embrace Western modes of dress and culture, with the potential for violence in the streets. Now the new Iranian president has been identified as having been personally involved in holding American hostages during the Islamic revolution of 1979.
For years the U.S. has endeavored to help create a peaceful democratic Palestinian state alongside Israel. But what happens when the majority are brainwashed with anti-American/anti-Israel tirades in their mosques and in their media, and wants to see Israel obliterated? Will democracy necessarily bring peace?
With Syrian and Israeli military forces backing out of Lebanon, there are hopes that democracy can take hold. This leaves leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah as the main political contenders. What happens when organizations with their roots in terrorism become legitimately elected political entities? Will duly elected terrorists bring peace and prosperity?
America’s Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice recently received praise after returning from a tour of the Middle East where she scolded the governments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia for not moving rapidly enough toward democracy. But the same concerns apply in those nations. Can the majority be relied upon to vote for wise benevolent leaders who will work toward peace and prosperity? Elected leaders sometimes behave like tyrants.
And for that matter, what does democracy portend for the future of the United States? Is the majority always right? Do the results of opinion polls often leave you scratching your head? So far, this greatest political experiment in man’s history has survived in spite of its flaws, but there is no guarantee. There is a huge anti-American movement gradually gaining strength among our citizenry. A majority of the mainstream media seems sympathetic to it. A majority of university professors are on record as being disdainful of American sovereignty, teaching routinely that the U.S. should fall in line with “international law,” regard international public opinion on everything from “gay marriage” to euthanasia, get rid of all official deference to God, be sympathetic to terrorists and work to dissolve our national status as the world’s only true superpower. Those are precisely the views promoted by a great many celebrities and the views subtly promoted day in and day out in most of the nation’s premier media outlets. What happens to the great United States of America when the majority of the voting public buys into that line of logic? Could be we’ll find out in 2008.
Our system of democracy, coupled with the historic basic decency of the majority of people in the United States, and God’s grace, have built and sustained our great nation. But the dynamics are changing. From our schools and universities to the judicial system and throughout our culture, deference to God is being removed from the equation. We may yet find that the mechanism thought to be our greatest strength will ultimately change the country in ways the founders never envisioned. It’s a sobering thought as we prepare to enjoy the fireworks and day of leisure celebrating our independence. Have a great Fourth, and remember to say a prayer.
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