taking the words of Jesus seriously

The other day, I took the time to listen to Fox News. I couldn’t believe it when it was announced that Fox News was fair and balanced. All I heard was how terribly Barack Obama has served this country and how wonderful the Republicans are. They held up Obama’s low ratings with the public, pointing out that only 42 percent of the American people believe that he is exercising good leadership. Of course, what they did not bring to anyone’s attention as they scoured Obama was that the same survey indicated that only 13 percent of the American people believed that the Republicans in the Congress and in the Senate were exercising good leadership. In short, Obama may not be the greatest president that has come down the pike, but when it comes to leadership he is at least three-and-a-half times better than the leadership we presently have serving in the Congress.

I am very disappointed in Obama for a variety of reasons. Just recently, he caved in to the right wing of the Republican Party by removing restraints that would have protected the environment. The ozone level of our atmosphere has been destroyed by carbons and as a sop to the Republicans Obama gave in and ended many of the regulations that were protecting the American public by restraining the level of carbon emissions.

I am also disappointed in his absence of strong rhetoric. When he lets his opposition call Social Security an entitlement program as though it is some kind of benefit that the American taxpayers are providing for elderly people. I become very sour when I hear his responses.  People who are receiving Social Security have paid into that fund all of their lives. I, personally, have put thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars into this fund, marking off a significant amount of money each year on my income tax. What has happened is that both parties have used the Social Security funds for other purposes.  In other words, Congress has stolen from elderly people trillions of dollars to be used for programs that serve their pork belly interests. They have financed two gulf wars on Social Security funds, and then they turn around and have the audacity to say, “We have to stop giving high benefits to elderly people.” I am not asking for any favors. I am only asking to enjoy the benefits of a retirement fund I paid to create. The same can be said for millions of other Americans. I don’t hear any of the candidates on either side of the political aisle yelling and screaming and saying, “We dare not turn our backs on elderly people after we stole the trillions of dollars from them that we did as we demolished the Social Security fund in order to provide for our own projects that served our self interests and the interests of our constituency that would re-elect us!”

I can’t believe that Obama caved in to the Republicans and continued the tax policies of the Bush Administration. When President Bush took office, there was a $385 billion surplus, but his fiscal policies changed all of that.  He cut taxes which is another way of saying that he cut the income that the government needed and it certainly did need an increased income given the fact that shortly after taking office, he led us into two very ill-advised wars. The government of George W. Bush has not paid for those wars. Who ever heard of a nation going into major wars without asking its citizens to pay the costs of those wars? Given that our income went down because taxes were cut, and our spending went up because wars were declared—wars that are accomplishing very little that benefits the American people—we are facing one of the greatest fiscal crises that our nation has ever faced. The solution of the people in Congress is to continue the tax policies that created the mess.

Obama bothers me in other ways. The primary one being that in his last State of the Union Address, he spoke to the debt crisis by saying that he wanted Congress to cut all government programs except spending on the military. About 40 percent of our federal budget is spent on the military, and to make that sacrosanct and cut funding for poor people, elderly people, education, and for medical care is unconscionable. In other words, we have this bloated military budget financed on the backs of the poorest people of our society.

If you think that I am disappointed in Obama, you are right, but it’s nothing compared to the disappointment I have in the Republicans. When the Republican leader of the Senate openly states that the primary concern of the Republicans in Congress is to make sure that Obama doesn’t get elected next time, I feel like calling him unconscionable. Our country is in dire straits. Unemployment is over 9 percent. Among the seventeen industrialized nations, our educational system registers the poorest levels of performance.  Medical bills of the American people are out of sight. We are experiencing a negative attitude among our citizens unparalleled in the history of this country, and all that the leader of the Republican Party can say is that he and his fellow members of Congress are primarily interested in spending the next two years to ensure that Obama doesn’t get elected? Do any of these people in Congress begin to say, “My country comes above my party interests?”

The American people are disgusted. I am disgusted. You are disgusted. But I hope we don’t believe Fox News which tries to tell us that all the problems of America are Obama’s fault. He didn’t create the mess we are in, and they have given him two years to get us out of it. It’s almost ludicrous to remember that it took eight years to create the disaster that we presently face economically, and that he is expected to solve the problem in two years. Well, enough said. This blog is just a good opportunity to voice my frustrations. I think, as a Christian, I expect more from the President, I expect more from Congress, I expect both the Congress and the President to do what is best for those citizens whom Jesus referred to as “the least of the brothers and sisters.”



About The Author

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https://www.redletterchristians.org

Tony Campolo is Professor of Sociology at Eastern University, and was formerly on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. For 40 years, he founded and led the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, and organization that created and supported programs serving needy communities in the Third World as well as in “at risk” neighborhoods across North America. More recently, Dr. Campolo has provided leadership for the Red Letter Christians movement. He blogs regularly at his own website. Tony and his wife Peggy live near Philadelphia, and have two children and four grandchildren.

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