Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

In Search of a Messiah

Posted by Adam Graham on January 31, 2004

Someday, God will send us a deliverer…

We will be free from the hands of our enemies…

He will lead us to the promised land…

Does this sound like the yearnings of ancient Israel? It could be. But, it’s also the yearning of modern day conservatives. Those who follow Conservative message boards will find that those who aren’t defeatists are dreaming of a deliverer, an American messiah.

Consider, these two quotes, one from an Internet poster, the first from a Constitution Party member and the second from Senator Zell Miller (D-GA):

“The good news for the party is that the number of Independent Conservatives is growing…sooner or later the right candidate will emerge and when he does, he’ll be elected. The two party stranglehold will be over. “

“One of these days, someone smarter and younger and more articulate than I is going to get through to the American people just how really messed up the federal government has become. And when that happens, the American people are going to rise up like that football crowd in Cleveland and run both teams off the field.”

You’ll find thousands of posts like this. Someday someone will come along and solve our problems. Someday someone will tell the world the truth. American Conservatism (and liberalism to a certain degree) are not looking for candidates or political leaders, they’re looking for a messiah.

The “Messiah” strategy is dangerous. The Bible and History are filled with stories of deliverance and deliverers and show us the strategy’s many pitfalls:

1) Deliverers don’t always agree with what you want.

Jesus unified Israel’s political/religious parties against him, because he refused to walk either party’s line or shape himself to their demands. He never did the easy thing and never compromised what he believed in order to gain followers.

The picture that everyone has of their political messiah is someone who agrees with everything they do but says it a thousand times better. If the man they have pegged as the “messiah” disagrees with them for some reason, they move on to someone else.

I’ve read posts by people who disavowed Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, and Alan Keyes over some small point. They were still waiting for that perfect person who saw everything their way.

2) Deliverers Don’t Always Win

Deliverers often have setbacks and defeats. Washington lost 70% of the battles he fought, Reagan lost in 1968 and ’76.

The fact is most Conservatives don’t have the discipline to stick with a candidate to the bitter end of a defeat in hope of a better day. When suddenly, it looks like our candidate will lose, we’ll abandon him to vote for the person we think will be the winner. This is true of supporters of both major and third parties. In the primaries, people left off supporting Alan Keyes and Steve Forbes, because after two states, it was determined that the race was Bush v. McCain.

Even Jesus’ followers abandoned Him at His most desperate and difficult hour.

3) We Crucify our Messiahs

This is an obvious, but important point. Christ was crucified with the support of a city that had cried, “Hosanna, blessed be He who comes in the name of the Lord,” upon his arrival a few days earlier. Moses would have been killed by the people he led out of Egypt, if not for miraculous intervention. The biblical judge Samson was handed over to the Philistines by his own people. One of Scotland’s greatest heroes, William Wallace, was betrayed to the English by other Scots.

I’ve seen many political leaders who were once seen as deliverers, attacked and maligned by the people who supported them. This year, we’ll have a rush of Dean supporters to drive the nails in, in the upcoming primaries. I saw the same thing happen with Alan Keyes in 2000, as well.

We turn on people so fast, it can make their head swim and we wonder why good, principled people don’t run for office. The problem is not in these people, it’s in ourselves.

Conclusion

As a Christian, I believe there is one Messiah, and there will never be another. As a student of American history, I know that the founders didn’t build a nation where we would elect a messiah as chief executive.

George Washington was perhaps the greatest political leader in world history, but the revolution wasn’t about him. It was about ordinary people from New Hampshire to Georgia, standing up for liberty and freedom.

People talk about Ronald Reagan and forget that Reagan didn’t make himself Governor or President. Conservative leaders who’d built a strong organization asked him to be their candidate for Governor and without the work of millions in California and across the nation, he would have achieved nothing.

George Washington said, “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.” It’s time for wise and honest Americans to stop waiting for the deliverer and start taking their country back, precinct by precinct, school district by school district, and legislative seat by legislative seat.

I believe the Presidency is important. But, unless we establish strong Conservative organizations in every state in the Union and get Conservative Republicans elected to Congress, the best Presidential candidate won’t have a prayer of even winning the nomination and if elected will be unable to govern effectively.

If you want a Conservative president, a strong Conservative presence is essential. And if you build that organization, a leader (not a Messiah) will come to represent the best interests of America. To quote Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.”

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