Saturday, May 9, 2015

The McKinley Mistake

Here's a question to ponder:  Who was the worst President our country has ever elected?  The answer as to who was the best President, is much easier to answer.  The list of the best has many candidates:  Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson are definitely right at the top.  But who was the worst?  Well, since I was a Political Science major in college (and forgive me for this little screed ahead of time) I have had some time to think about this question.  By many scholar's opinions, the worst President in the history of the United States, was a man by the name of William McKinley who served between 1897 and 1901, at the turn of the century.

Now, it's a boring conversation as to why McKinley was the worst President in US history, and it, of course, involves the usual elements: corruption, mismanagement, poor decision-making and lack of vision (to name but a few reasons).  The more interesting question is how McKinley got elected.  In the midst of much turmoil and transition in the country, McKinley was put in office by a hand-full of very wealthy oligarchs.  Known as the American "Robber Barons", a handful of some of the wealthiest people in the history of the world single-handedly and by insider maneuvering, placed McKinley in office.  Andrew Carnegie, Jay Gould, John D Rockefeller, and Andrew Mellon put McKinley in office in order to curb the Anti-Trust movement (breaking up large corporations that make money for a handful) from gaining further power.  Ironically, even the "Robber Barrons" regretted their decision in the end.

But why am I writing about this rather arcane and somewhat irrelevant American election in my blogpost this week?  Mainly because of this.  As we all observe the current American Presidential election unfold, it appears that the American Presidential election of 2016 will shape-up to be the most expensive and costly election in US history.  The last Presidential election between Romney and Obama totaled around $2 billion in campaign costs.  That's 2 BILLION with a "B" dollars.  It is estimated that the election between the two front runners alone, (likely Clinton and Bush) in the 2016 election will equal close to $4 to $6 billion.  Just to give you some context for how much money this is, the entire GDP of the country of Chile is around $4 billion.  Big money in politics does not equate to good leadership.  Let's not repeat the:

McKinley Mistake

Now, let me be clear, the super wealthy are often the key instruments that God uses to bring about incredible change and transformation in any community or group of people.  Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are helping millions of people around the world through their philanthropy and generosity.  Just today, the World Health Organization announced that the scourge of Ebola has now been eradicated from the country of Liberia, in no small part because of the largesse and the generosity of many very wealthy and generous Americans who have pitched in.  Remember that it was one of Herod's wives who helped to finance Jesus' ministry.  God uses all kinds of people to bring about the kingdom.

The main problem with the super wealthy, and the wealth disparity in decision making processes is that money tends to help some votes matter more than others.  An age old maxim of democracy is that, "A man's a man for all that," (Robert Burns), and that one vote equals one vote.  When it comes to making larger decisions and when big money enters the conversation, the room for the Holy Spirit to be able to work and interact and influence a decision making process diminishes.

One time, when Jesus was sitting in the temple after one of His sermons, He noticed an old woman make an anonymous donation to the temple coffers - a donation that would sway nobody's decision, and which would amount to her entire life savings, he said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these (Vanderblits, Carnegies, and Rockefellers), put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had."

We should do the same,

All For Now,


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