Feel the Burn

The boy stares fascinated as the black surface turns to red, then bright orange. Mom and dad both have told him many times to keep away. Don’t touch. It’s dangerous. It’ll hurt. But that beautiful orange glow…I mean, how bad could it be? Besides, the heat coming off of it doesn’t really seem all that hot. No worse than the spout of the bath after mom fills up the tub for him each night. He slowly reaches out his hand.

            Mom and dad run toward the scream. They find their son on the floor, crying and holding his hand. The tips of two fingers are red and already starting to blister – thankfully, not too badly. It must have been just a brief touch to the burner before he realized how foolish he had just been. The boy’s parents comfort him as they treat his wounds. There is communicated a firm, “Didn’t I tell you to never touch the stove?” But there is no punishment. Instead, dad sits his son down later and tells him how he had done the same dumb thing when he was his age. All it took was once and he had learned to never did it again. It seems every boy needs to touch the hot stove at least one time in his life.

            The problem arises if the boy goes back again, then again and again to that same hot stove – the same glowing burner. This, sadly, is what we are seeing today in certain segments of the American voting population.

            I don’t usually get political in this blog, but it’s Super Tuesday and there are some troubling trends afoot. As Christians, we should not only be aware of what is happening in our nation politically, we should be involved. For some, it’s participating in a campaign or running for office. For others, it’s letter writing or making calls to members of Congress. But for all, at a minimum, it should be to vote. I know today’s election is only a primary, but every opportunity we have to inject our prayerful input into the process should be taken. This is particularly true now when we see what is coming out of the far left of our nation.

George Santayana, a Spanish-American philosopher wrote, “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness….Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Historical memory is essential for cultural progress. Otherwise, the people of this world will continue to make the same dumb mistakes time after time after time.

I cannot help but think of Santayana’s quote as I watch the ascendency of the candidacy of Bernie Sanders for the Democrat nomination for President of the United States. Sanders is a man who in the past has had a vocal and pragmatic love for the philosophy and policies of communism – a political system which has never succeeded where implemented and has led to the deaths of tens of millions of people. If you asked him, Sanders would never come right out and call himself a Communist, and it’s true his policies do differ somewhat from what was propagated in the Soviet Union, China, and other failed totalitarian regimes.

Yet, despite his deeply invasive government ideology, he will also not tolerate being called a Socialist. “I’m a Democratic-Socialist,” he is quick to correct, as if putting a happy word next to a nasty word will somehow redeem it. To somewhat quote the Bard, “A Socialist by any other name would still smell like complete governmental control of business, production, health care, and cultural norms.” In other words, the “Democratic” dress does nothing to change the appearance of the “Socialist” pig.

“But what about Denmark?” Sanders’ supporters counter. Sanders, himself, evoked the Nordic model of socialism during his 2016 presidential run. “We should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people,” he said. This comparison caused the then-Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, to cry foul. “I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy,” he said in a speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. While Denmark definitely has greater governmental control than is currently found in the United States system, it is much closer to capitalism than it is to the vast Washington take-over that Sanders is proposing.

Great empires fall from within. If the voters of America ignore the historical ramifications of the excessive centralized power of Socialism which will do away with many of the individual freedoms granted to them in their Constitution, then it will not be long before this great nation follows the same downward slide of every other nation that has touched the burner of the communist/socialist stove. Any progress that’s been made recently in the areas of the protection of life and religious freedom will quickly be reversed. If you haven’t yet, exercise your right to vote in this primary, and commit yourself to repeat the process eight months from today on November 3. And let’s together pray that wisdom and common sense prevail in our nation, and that the political beliefs of Bernie Sanders and his Socialist ilk are once-and-for-all swept away into the dustbin of history.

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