As I write this, it has been exactly one month since Donald Trump was elected president. The leftists have been on the verge of hysteria from the outset. Despite the challenges to get his Cabinet nominees approved, President Trump is moving forward. As I consider the leftists’ resistance, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a gentleman a short while ago.
“It will never work,” he said. “No matter how much is spent, no matter which agency spends it, no matter how many billions of dollars we spend, it just won’t work. Without leadership to change our communities, we simply have church meetings.”
It suddenly dawned on me that, although we were discussing aid to Africa, his concepts and concerns could apply equally to America. While he was referring to pastors having “church services,” the end result was the same. What a concept: leadership dedicated to changing communities, not just having what amounts to meetings or rallies.
So, to draw a parallel, what is the purpose of government? Isn’t it to guide and serve individuals, families, neighborhoods, communities, the states and, ultimately, the nation?
I recall that the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was just in Washington conferring with President Trump. Israel is a prime example of a society that has been sustained by adherence to a few basic principles. The Jewish people are, statistically speaking, an insignificant minority; yet out of all proportion to their numbers, they impact world. The secret of their success is their adherence, in principle, to their Hebraic biblical roots.
There is another nation that, out of all proportion to its population, impacts the world and has, for the past six decades, been the bellwether of economic, social and spiritual change. That nation began as a statistically insignificant group of people searching for a means to express deeply held convictions. It was their position that they should not be told who, when, what, where and how they should worship. They came to what was a wilderness, fought the climate, wild animals, the land itself, their own fears and personal shortcomings and carved an empire out of nothing based on a set of principles. That nation? America.
The gentleman with whom I spoke, who happened to be a bishop of more than 900 churches in 12 countries, continued, “Until we have individuals in government of integrity, and people with the understanding that the ultimate responsibility for their well-being rests with themselves, no amount of assistance will suffice.”
He then asked me a question about his country, which could perhaps apply to the U.S.
“Why” he asked me, “should a continent, which is perhaps the richest or certainly one of the richest on earth, suffer brutal poverty and savagery?”
“What then,” I asked, “do you propose as the solution?”
His answer: “The ultimate success of the African continent and its many tribes would rest in adopting exactly the same principles that brought America to the forefront of nations.”
As we said goodbye, I recalled our frequent intense discourse on justice, fair play and integrity.
I ordered a cup of hot green tea and pondered the present condition of America as President Trump completes his first month in office. As I sipped my tea, I was reminded of the words of Alexis de Tocqueville as he visited and toured the relatively new republic in the 1830s.
He had this to say vis-a-vis this new experiment in nation building:
I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors … in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic congress and in her matchless Constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of America. … America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
President Trump says he wants to “Make America Great Again.” Could this be the secret?
“America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”