How did we get to this point? How did we sink so low as to look out and see the current political landscape now played out in front of us and wonder, “How did we get here?”
I think it’s because we set ourselves up for it. We actually have two of America’s highest achievers. Two of America’s very best and brightest. Two Americans that understand completely that the quest for happiness in the form of money, sex and power can actually be achieved. We have two Americans at the pinnacle of this quest and for some reason we are sickened? Just what is it that makes us sick?
It strikes me that what sickens us is that we expect our leaders to still have some sort of higher moral standard than the “average” American. These leaders are to seek higher ideals and a grander vision. We don’t want them on a quest for pleasing themselves and getting their own desires fulfilled. They are to be someone, we can look up to. We want role models and heroes seeking something more pure than…well, than what the rest of us want.
My wife, Katie, put it this way, “America is looking in the mirror and they don’t like what they see.” Our leaders have achieved what many of us think we want. However, when we actually see it in living color in front of us, we don’t like it. In fact, it sickens us.
But that begs the question, “If our quest for happiness (money, sex and power) actually sickens us when we see it achieved, are we on the right quest?” As the adage goes, we discover that our ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.
So what might we want to look for in a leader and develop in ourselves as well? What sort of quest would we want our leader to be on and to be on ourselves? How about this one that of my mentors, Ron Keysor, used to say, “We should not be in pursuit of happiness, but in pursuit of holiness”.
The Bible puts it this way as to what to pursue, “But you man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteous, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness” (I Timothy 6:11). One book later we find the same pursuit mentioned, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (II Timothy 2:22).
The pursuit of righteousness, rather than the pursuit of happiness? It sounds foreign. It sounds archaic. Frankly, it sounds foolish to the American voter. But somehow, somewhere in the recesses of the heart, it connects deeply with us. “Yeah, that’s exactly what I want in a leader. That’s exactly the sort of quest that is worthwhile in this life.” Will our political leaders seek righteous? I don’t know, I pray that they will. However, you and I can only control our own “person in the mirror”. What will you pursue?