My writing project is underway. It’s going pretty well, but I have to confess that I’m having a harder time than I would like staying focused. I basically have the attention span of a tsetse fly and for that I blame Congress.

For the past five years, work has been synonymous with gulping from a fire hose and now I have to learn how to sip from a glass.

I’ve also had some technical hiccups. The blazing-fast internet service that was supposed to be up and running two days ago wasn’t – and as much as I love Starbucks and their free wifi, I was hoping to be working from home by now. Plus my cell phone broke a few days ago so I’ve been battling with that company’s customer service department to get them to attach my old number to the new allegedly smart phone I purchased, but to no avail. They were able to give it a new number, complete with the area code of a state I’ve never lived in, and now they seem perplexed that I’m not a fully satisfied customer.

I’m pretty sure this is all nothing more than a desperate and possibly conspiratorial attempt by the tech companies to keep me from browsing the results of the Iowa Caucus. Did I mention I’m having trouble staying on task?

Technical challenges notwithstanding, I see that Bachman is out, Rick Perry is reevaluating his campaign and my man Santorum is making his mark. I know I’m a little cranky because of the whole not being connected to the human race thing for the past week – still, I am confused how Rick Perry rose to become a serious contender in the first place. Gov. Perry says his comments alluding to secession were made in jest, but there are certain principles so fundamental to who we are as a nation that even the suggestion of violating them is distressing. I would put the preservation of our Union at the top of that list.

There are critical differences between a union and a confederacy and in the debate over states’ rights and a proper view of federalism, I feel like the distinctions are not articulated clearly enough.

A confederacy is a group of states held together by a contract. Wikipedia defines it as “an association of sovereign states.” If one state breaches the contract, the other states may not be thrilled, but the association can more or less happily go on.

A union is a covenant relationship that creates a new entity greater than its individual elements – like a marriage. If one state unilaterally walks out on the relationship, the entire union is dissolved and the nation as we know it is no more.

America is a union. We are not a confederacy.

Americans in 1864 understood the ramifications of secession. In his second Inaugural Address, a somber Lincoln reflected on the beginning of his turbulent presidency:

“On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it—all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.”

Why did the war come? If talk of secession is simply an expression of dissatisfaction with the workings of the federal government, why did we fight a four-year Civil War that scarred the soul of the nation and left 600,000 Americans dead? Why not just let South Carolina {or for that matter, Texas} go and forge a “new birth of freedom” with the remaining states?

Because we the people are in covenant with one another. For better or for worse.

The concept of a Union based on covenant is uniquely American and distinctly Judeo-Christian. Why so many believers would rally around Gov. Perry without seriously challenging his statements regarding secession is beyond me. I’m not questioning the sincerity of Perry’s faith or impugning his character. I’m just saying he has some explaining to do. And I wish the church demanded a bit more of our political {and other} leaders. That’s all.

As for the other Rick – I loved Santorum in the Senate and will never forget the day he cleaned Barbara Boxer’s moral compass during the debate on partial birth abortion. I still don’t understand why he didn’t get more traction earlier on in his campaign. I once asked some friends who understand politics way better than I do what they thought the problem was and they said Republicans are still upset that he lost his Senate seat back in 2006. And that is why I will never understand politics.

Also, Santorum speaks in complete sentences, which may explain why he hasn’t been as popular as other candidates who equate conservatism with lower taxes and leadership with take our country back.

With the Republican field thinning, it is time to weigh the remaining candidates carefully, looking past the gloss to pose the hard substantive questions. Justice and righteousness are the foundation of the King’s throne and were once the basis of our civil government. We should be insisting that candidates explain their views of justice – not just asking about whether they can ease our pain. Potential presidents should be held to a high standard of personal and public righteousness.  Times may have changed, but the standard hasn’t.

Campaign slogans may make for good bumper stickers, but they do nothing to resolve economic and geopolitical crises. “Anyone but Obama” will not do. In California we were so desperate to remove one former governor that the recall campaign mantra was effectively “Anyone but Gray Davis.” And look how well that turned out.

“We can succeed only by concert. It is not “can any of us imagine better?” but “can we all do better?” The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country.” {Abraham Lincoln’s Annual Message to Congress, 1862}

Now, back to my writing project…


One thought on “Update.

  1. Our nation has deeply sinned against God, opening the door for the mesmerizing spirit to control us. It matters little how many billions of dollars are raised and spent. At the end of the day, the devil has a huge legal right to filter what people see and hear so they don’t see and hear what they should.

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