By: Paul Murano – November, 2014
Although political conservatives are feeling relief after this month’s election, it should not turn into satisfaction. The American people have not repudiated any party or philosophy on principle; it was rather the Republican’s turn for the pendulum to swing in their direction. This pendulum has continued its back and forth swing since the Nixon administration, perhaps because people are dissatisfied with their own lives and project that on to their political leaders. However, many seem to believe that a “change” in politicians will bring them “hope” for a happier life. This “hope & change” phenomenon of modern politics is worth pondering, for it is clear that what is yearned for could not possibly be attained through political means.
The hope for politicians to be saviors, to bring happiness to unfulfilled lives, is strange but not new. The messiah-politician has resonated periodically throughout history in certain charismatic dictators; however, in the United States there have been two particular characters of the past half century that have mesmerized the masses and made them instant disciples. By pretty speeches, a manufactured image, and a false narrative created by the media thy became larger than life. With John Fitzgerald Kennedy it was “Camelot”, and with Barak Hussein Obama it was the promise of a post-racial era. Both campaigned on “hope” and “change”, and both represented the breaking of a glass ceiling – for Catholics in JFK and for black people in BHO. The excitement and hysteria for each was both irrational and contagious.
Why this phenomenon? Why do so many people unreasonably place their hope in politicians with such a religious fervor and assume there is a political solution to their own dissatisfactions? Why do so many fall for rhetorical wizardry and charismatic appeal, as if political leaders can bring meaning and happiness to their lives? And particularly, why is there such an underlying and universal hope for a Savior that will bring hope and change to a struggling life seeking fulfillment?
It is no secret that many people are lonely today, confused, and dissatisfied with their jobs, careers, marriages, and lives. Many harbor dashed hopes, broken dreams, and live with broken hearts. The hope for a savior is human, but the dream that it be a politician leader is foolish The nation-wide feeling that this country is sinking indicates a reality that cannot be fixed by legislative bills, court decisions, or pretty political rhetoric. We collectively and intuitively yearn for a paradise lost, and although we consciously focus on economic stagnation, we know deep down the economy is only a symptom of a greater problem much more profound.
No nation can have economic prosperity without strong families, which is its foundation. There can be no strong families without personal virtue, which means sacrificing for the common good and not compromising with the evils of the day. And there will be no virtue as long as people put their faith in an American ‘Messiah’ that promises material gain. Those who were caught up in the hype of JFK or BHO were following a dream that would always leave them dissatisfied. Hope always quickly dissipates while seeking earthly fulfillment through an earthly kingdom. As the great C.S. Lewis once stated: “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”
Politicians cannot bring happiness because most human problems are not fixed by political solutions. When the pendulum swings back to favor the Democrats we must remind ourselves of this. The culture must be changed, and this means the need for individuals to courageously challenge the false presumptions and false narrative the media & academia form us in from our youth. It means a renewed respect for human nature and a rejection of the subjective relativism that has stolen so many young minds today. To effect such cultural change individuals must change, beginning with redirecting the heart toward what is good and true.
To quote another great Briton, in answering a reporter who had asked him to write a thorough account on what was wrong with the world today, author G.K. Chesterton responded back to him: “Dear Sir, I am.”