50 things I love about politics

The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will—Proverbs 21:1

Appears in Summer 2008 Issue: The desires of the heart
June 1 st 2008

When I was asked to set forth 50 things I love about the world of politics, my first thought was that I did not have 50 things I love about politics. However, on second thought, I realized that between things I love and things I love to hate, I had more than 50 things . . .

  1. The Sovereignty of God. God changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings—Daniel 2:21.

  2. My mother—thirty-nine years of public service as an elected local public official.

  3. The President of the United States. Without a doubt the most difficult, public, and fascinating job in the world—wouldn't want it for anything.

  4. The Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

  5. The American Civil War (or "The War of Southern Rebellion"). America at its worse and yet determined to be its best . . . An awful war for a great cause . . My favourite period of American history.

  6. Abraham Lincoln. The man met his moment, and no president ever met it better.

  7. Checks and Balances. Nothing proves the doctrine of total depravity as does the need for checks and balances. The framers of the U.S. Constitution were good theologians also.

  8. The United Nations. Never have so many people, with so much power, done so little.

  9. The Emancipation Proclamation. Under Lincoln's leadership, our nation was finally challenged to live up to its revolutionary and foundational creed, namely, "That all men are created equal."

  10. Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was the quintessential American, a revolutionary visionary who knew that the Revolution was not over until, like the rest of America, the slaves could celebrate their freedom.

  11. Colin Powell. Very few politicians impress us with their integrity, but Colin Powell is at the top of the list. We sure could use more like him.

  12. Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920). Both a capable politician and prime minister and a brilliant theologian and teacher. There once were giants in the land.

  13. Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia (1930-1974): That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained (Speech delivered to the United Nations, 1968).

  14. Republican National Convention. These are like senior pictures in high school. We always look better than we really are.

  15. Democratic National Convention. Ditto.

  16. Presidential Inaugurations. For all of the faults people find with America, one of the most promising aspects of our government is that we show the world how to hand over political power without violence or blood shed.

  17. Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. Arguably the greatest speech ever delivered by an American president. It is fitting that it would come from Lincoln.

  18. Presidential Debates. Some of the best in political comedy and empty promises.

  19. Former Presidents. Very few countries make use of former rulers. Former Presidents actually become better and often more beloved.

  20. The Competition. Sometimes it turns ugly, but it is never boring.

  21. "Super Tuesday." It is exciting to see how in one night presidential campaigns are made or broken in "the primaries" as the political parties choose their nominees.

  22. Presidential Primaries. Watching politicians work is intriguing. And when it comes to the primaries, these men and women have to work.

  23. Presidential Hopefuls. Most of these think more highly of themselves than they ought.

  24. The Moral Majority. It was not always moral, nor was it ever the majority.

  25. The Sovereignty of God (again). The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will—Proverbs 21:1.

  26. Bill and Hillary Clinton. Someone has to be the anti-statesman/woman.

  27. Fidel Castro. Love him or hate him, dictators are not supposed to last as long as he has. Inexplicable.

  28. Jesse Jackson. What he is standing for I am usually standing against.

  29. Al Sharpton. I am not sure what is more entertaining—what he says, what he does, or how he looks.

  30. The White House. This magnificent place speaks for itself.

  31. The West Wing. The TV show made it popular, but Teddy Roosevelt made it important.

  32. The White House Lawn. Football on the White House lawn—the Kennedys had this right.

  33. The Kennedy Family. A most intriguing clan. A royal family in a democracy?

  34. Air Force One. It must be the most impressive weapon in a President's political arsenal.

  35. Presidential Libraries. This tradition is worth maintaining.

  36. State of the Union Addresses. Most people find them nauseating. I like to watch the faces and expressions of the opposition party.

  37. Responses to the State of the Union Address. This arguably is the most useless and ignored planned public address of the year.

  38. Presidential Line of Succession. It is comforting to know that there is a line of leadership in the US. It is not comforting to know that Nancy Pelosi is 3rd in line.

  39. Camp David. Wouldn't you love to have such a place of your own?

  40. Congressional Black Caucus. I am not sure what they do, but it sure is entertaining knowing that they exist.

  41. Mid-term Elections. Watching and listening to professional politicians squirm is good theatre.

  42. White House Press Secretary. This may be the most thankless job in Washington. Yet it is always entertaining watching the Press Secretary defend the President from the media wolves.

  43. William Wilberforce. A vivid demonstration of how Christianity and politics righteously work together.

  44. Ross Perot. The source of some good ideas, but more comic relief.

  45. Jerry Falwell. A vivid demonstration of how Christianity and politics don't work together.

  46. The Supreme Court. Lifetime appointments may be too much, but it does guarantee that we hear honest opinions.

  47. Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings. There may not be a more politically charged gathering in all of Washington. Everyone's motives are suspect. This is high political entertainment.

  48. Laura Bush. A most elegant and likeable First Lady. Southern dignity at its best.

  49. Condoleezza Rice. I like the confidence with which she speaks.

  50. The Sovereignty of God (once more). The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men—Daniel 4:17.
 

Anthony Carter is the lead pastor of East Point Church, a new church plant in the metro Atlanta, GA area. He is the author or editor of several books including On Being Black and Reformed and Experiencing the Truth, and the soon to be released, Glory Road: The Journeys of 10 African-Americans into Reformed Christianity.

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