Devotionals for March 13

Dumbing Down Dubai and Other Dangerous Diddlings

A number of days ago, I wrote an entry criticizing the President for asking us to trust the government to always act in our best interests without checks, balances, and  oversight.  It wasn't about him - but IT, the government. It was a philosophical and constitutional concern. The context was the ballyhoo over the private company in Dubai with an American CEO contracting to operate ports in the United States.

I like the President. I appreciate his faith and courage. The problem in my opinion was the resistance to accountability and insistence on trust.

We can't offer unconditional trust a leader to operate in the dark just because we like him, agree with him, are affiliated with him by partisan membership or even through the same religious faith. When he steps into the role of civil leader, he gets a great deal of trust entrusted to him, but he can only be part of one branch of government at a time and there are three - each equal to the others, intricately designed so that trust can be limited and, as Ronald Reagan said, "verified."

Having said that, I am going to jump over the fence to the other side. The President is actually right about this Dubai thing. The homework has been done; the contracts were sound; the protections were in place. It is too bad that he does not have the trust capital he is insisting upon for people to believe that - because, in this case, he is right and we ought to be able to trust the process.

He did not lose trust by being a dishonest man. I think he is honest. It was not through any character flaws. It was as a result of blind unilateralism and unwarranted secrecy. Some secrecy is necessary, but this crowd has taken it to the extreme - and it did not start with this one. It has been progressive.

I can't stomach opportunism from the left or the right. In this case, it was the thorough reporting of the often maligned-by-the-right NPR on this Dubai matter that brought me back to the administration's stand on the issue and against most of the Democrats and Republicans who cater to the simplistic rants of a public that continues to be moved by sound bytes and shock jocks.

As the Corleones used to love to say, "It's just business."

And it is. It is no more a matter of national security what company operates these ports than what I eat for breakfast. They are regulated, inspected, and observed. Dubai as capital of the UAE is not only not a terrorist state, its values are antithetical to those of terrorists. It is the Delaware of the Middle East, existing as a tax-free zone for the proliferation of international business. It has bought into Western capitalism lock, stock, and barrel.

Sure, it would be best for American companies to operate our ports, but there are not enough and they are not bidding on them. Like most political grandstanding issues, this is much ado about nothing.

So, what is the administration's responsibility in this? It is creating the hyper-secretive, trust-me atmosphere that fuels the fires of suspicion - and in this case - over nothing.

And they are responding to our fear factor. Shame on those of us who follow the Way that we are more concerned with security and safety than faith and freedom. How much of who we are are we willing to sacrifice to stay alive? What shall it profit a man?

We are well into a dumbing down process. It happens before every election. It ought to humiliate our Harvard/Yale educated elected folks to participate in it, but they seem OK with it. There's is not a dime's worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to dumbed down sensationalism, propagation of half-truths, villainization of opponents, and appeals to visceral  ignorance in the quest for votes.

And Americans love it.

If we do not participate by thinking more deeply, asking more questions, and challenging the system, those of us who live in two kingdoms are not rendering unto Caesar because our taxation is primarily participation. We are Caesar and we are renderers and we need to start behaving that way. Let us commit to loving God with our minds at a higher level, rising above political partisanship, and slogan-ism to be the salt-light citizens we are called to be.

This is a rant. I have to do that sometimes. When it comes down to the it of it, I am not bothered with whether you agree or disagree with me on these points as much as that we are free to share our views and exercise that freedom along with others. If it is ever taken away, we shall remain free in Christ. At the bottom line of all things, that is the only thing that really matters and shall matter for eternity.