Tag: iowa caucuses

The Great American Giveaway

Do any of you remember the now famous words spoken by a new president in his inaugural speech on January 20, 1961?

The new president was a young democrat by the name of John F. Kennedy. 

The phrase? Just this:

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

What ever happened to that kind of thinking? 

We’re just finishing up the first round of the election battle, the Iowa caucuses. With a record turnout, two immediate casualties, and a candidate who declared herself a winner even before all the votes were in (and she was in a virtual tie with her opponent), Iowa voters did their job well, and are now ready for a breather. 

But I’m really concerned about the expectations of many of today’s voters. Not the democratic voters or their counterparts, the republicans, but today’s American voters. 

What are they expecting from the government? 

Has the government become the sugar daddy of society? I hear one person promise free schooling, and another counters with something else. It’s kind of like a back room game of poker; “I see your bet, and I raise you $500.”

“Whatever you want, vote for me and I’ll get it for you.”

Is that what we elect a president for? 

I looked up the duties and responsibilities of the President of the United States, according to the US Constitution. Here is a condensed version found at jfklibrary.org.
The President’s Job According to the Constitution

The US Constitution contains the only official “job description” for the President of the United States. According to Article II, Sections 2 and 3, the President:

1) Is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States, and of each state’s militia when the nation has need of it

2) Has power to obtain information and opinions from heads of the executive departments

3) May grant pardons and reprieves for crimes against the United States

4) Makes treaties with other countries with the approval of the Senate

5) Appoints ambassadors, federal judges and heads of executive departments – all subject to the approval of the Senate; the President also has power to fill any vacancies that may happen while the Senate is in recess

6) Must report to Congress from time to time about the state of the union and recommend whatever measures he thinks are necessary

7) May call members of Congress together on extraordinary occasions, as well as adjourn their meetings when they cannot agree on their own about when to do this

8) Receives foreign ambassadors and other public officials

9) Is responsible for enforcing the nation’s laws

10) Issues commissions to all officers of the United States

Note, there isn’t one word about making sure the people are fat and happy. 

Nothing about free lunches.

Not a word about policing the world, either.

If JFK had campaigned in today’s Iowa, I don’t believe he would have gotten as many votes as O’Malley or Gilmore; especially if he’d made the remark about doing something for the country.

Yes, I’m pleased that “my guy” won the republican side of things. But I’m still very much concerned with the focus of so many voters. 

It’s why I am not optimistic about the November general election. 

In the eyes of many, the role of the president is that of God. “Provide for me, give me what I want, make me comfortable, solve all my problems without it costing me any time, money, or sweat equity.”

We’ve taken the Oval Office and turned it into the throne room of God, and relegated God to some sort of backup quarterback. IF we get into trouble, we’ll look for His number…

I may be wrong; it wouldn’t be the first time. And I sincerely hope I am. 

But so far, most of what I’m seeing and hearing isn’t very encouraging.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” (Psalm 33:12 ESV), and NOT anyone else. 

The Iowa Exams


Less than a week away, and the pollsters are going nuts. The telephones are ringing, questions are being hurled at those of us who call ourselves Iowans faster than we can answer. I received one such call last night. And when I tried to explain why I didn’t want to answer their questions, they kept on and on until I finally had to hang up on them. Even after warning them in advance! 

I told them I hadn’t made up my mind yet. I still haven’t. Have you?

What should the next president be like? What should we expect? I wish there was some sort of test we could give each candidate, you know, kind of like a PSAT or ACT test. The candidates would take the test, and receive a pass/fail grade, based on their specific answers. But, that wouldn’t work, because the government would never be able to decide which questions should be asked. 

I just think a test could simplify things a bit; especially with so many candidates vying for the position. 

Ah, but maybe there is a test. Yes, I believe there is. It’s not anything like a college entrance exam. In fact, there’s nothing quite like it in the world.

It’s called the Iowa Caucuses. A true test for a presidential wannabe.

But back to my question, “What should the next president be like?” Our nation’s first president was a general, so would someone with military experience be just the ticket? If so, there are only only 2 or 3 veterans in the bunch, on both sides, and none among the front runners. 

What about someone who has business experience? There’s a few of those. Career politicians? Oh, yeah, we’ve got plenty in that category. Doctor? Yep, one of those. 

Hey, we even have a preacher in the bunch. 

But so what? What kind of person does America need at this time in her life? 

Each candidate is working hard to convince you and I THEY are what this country needs. Maybe so. Maybe so. 

In my opinion, what this nation needs can’t be found in any one individual. Oh, to be sure, as Iowans we’ll do our best to sort out the cream of the crop. We’ll package them up real nice and send them on to New Hampshire. 

But electing a new president will not fix America’s problems, in spite of all the rhetoric and polling data. It may help, but only God knows each candidate’s heart. And only God knows the future. 

But for America to be great, it’s going to take the combined effort of 300 plus million people. Everyone who can legally vote has a say in how great America is going to be. 

I won’t begin to try and talk you into voting for “my” candidate. For one thing, I don’t have one. And for another, well, you probably wouldn’t listen. 

But I have three things that I’m looking at. Three things I’m using as a way to move through the maze of candidates.

First, because the bible says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34 ESV), I am looking for the candidate who is the most honest. God fearing? Christian? It would be nice, but I’ll start with some good old-fashioned honesty. The President should be trustworthy. Period.

Second, how do they handle criticism? Can they keep their poise and maintain the dignity of their office, representing this great nation to the rest of the world, even when the media and other nations are filleting them with their words? Will they remain presidential when this nation is fighting for her life?

Finally, if they’re elected, what will the nation look like in four or eight years, providing they are able to keep all their campaign promises?

Next Monday, February 1, 2016, is going to be quite a day. The Iowa Caucuses. The Iowa Exams.

Watch closely, America. Iowa has something to say. 


Presidential Candidates: Iowans Will Remember Your Words


We Iowans have so appreciated the weeks and weeks you’ve spent in our wonderful state, allowing us to hear up close and personal all the wonderful things you will do for our nation, and our local communities, when you’re elected to the highest office in our beloved country. 

You tell us, over and over, just how wonderful you are, especially compared to the other candidates, and the sitting president. 

That’s nice. We’re all glad you feel that passionate about it, otherwise we wouldn’t give you more than a “candidate who?” shrug of our collective shoulders. 

But presidential candidate: just because we’re Iowans doesn’t mean we’re backwards, stupid, or forgetful. And though we don’t demand a lot of the things the west and east coast states might, we are very serious about one thing. 

Don’t lie to us.

Don’t give us your cheap rhetoric. You can bounce it all around the country, but it won’t buy you votes here. 

Say what you mean, mean what you say, and swear to your own hurt. If you said it, then do it, even if it’s impossible. If you think you may run into problems along the way, you best not make the cheap promises. If you forgot you said it, you’d better own up to it. 

Iowans don’t like liars; no matter what our political persuasion may be. We’re forgiving to a point, but don’t push us. We expect people to own their words, not just say them. 

So don’t even go there. 

In other words, don’t tell us what your opponent won’t do. Hearing how rotten they are doesn’t fix anything; even if what you say is true. 

Tell us what YOU will do, honestly and without a bunch of left over bull. What will YOU do, even if you have to do it all by yourself. What will YOU do if we trust you with our vote?

We’ve been lied to before and like I said, we don’t forget. A few years back there were some judges who thought the Iowa voters were stupid and forgetful. 

They’re no longer judges.

If you say you’re going to build a wall along the southern border of the country, and make Mexico pay for it, then have at it. 

But it’d better get done, if you’ve got to grab a hammer and some nails and build it yourself.

Those of you promising to take out ISIS, rebuild the military, and leap tall buildings in a single bound; cool. We’ll cheer you on! 

But again, you’d best get it done. 

Maybe you don’t know us very well, but we’re tired of the shoddy way politicians like to treat us in Iowa. You campaign here, but your heart is in other states with greater opportunities for support and electoral votes. At least that’s how it’s been far too often. 

Well, we understand it’s a great big country, and you have a lot to do in such a short time. We’ll cut you the necessary slack if you’ll do the one thing we ask. 

Uh, demand. 

Tell us the truth. Good, bad, or ugly. The truth. 

So please pay close attention to what’s flying out of your mouth, dear candidate. 

Because we are. And we won’t forget your words.

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