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America's Deep Government Division

Can It Be Solved?

by John LaBissoniere Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Why is there such a great political divide in the United States and in other nations? What does this have to do with human rule in general and the future of government?

Photo illustration by Shaun Venish/Marian Vejcik/iStock/Thinkstock
Why is governing such a difficult challenge? Why does it so frequently bring contention and unsatisfactory, even disastrous, results? The fundamental problem involves our corrupted nature as human beings.

An important historical tradition typically follows each American presidential election. After the balloting results are tabulated and a winner declared, those who voted for the losing candidate, although disappointed, admit defeat and come together to support the new national leader.

Although opposition to every new chief executive inevitably arises, most citizens and even politicians of the opposing party willingly grant him a reasonable "honeymoon" period at the beginning of his administration so he can start enacting the agenda he ran on. However, that has certainly not been the case following the election of President Donald Trump. Congressional opponents have gone to unprecedented lengths to obstruct his efforts, and the media and political activists have waged an unceasing campaign to undermine his credibility and administration.

What's behind this unusual situation? The absence of a grace period in this instance is the result of several factors, including a highly contentious election campaign, a severely divided electorate and a biased "mainstream media" sympathetic to the political left.

These dynamics have contributed to a great deal of scorn, animosity, obstruction and accusations of fraud. Consider the following from the first hours of the new administration:

- Politicians and various mainstream media organizations denouncing the president's inaugural address as "dark" and "gloomy."

- On Inauguration Day a violent leftist demonstration against the president occurred in Washington, D.C., and additional protests took place in other U.S. cities.

- The day after the inauguration a "Women's March" in the capital drew more than 500,000 people protesting President Trump's election. This was accompanied by similar demonstrations the same day in other U.S. cities and in locations around the world, together involving more than 3 million people.

- The U.S. Senate, which is responsible for confirming the president's cabinet choices and other administration appointees, has been hindered by Senate Democrats who have greatly delayed the process. In some cases they went so far as to boycott hearings to prevent votes on appointments.

- Anonymous government insiders illegally leaked to the media transcripts of private conversations between the president and other administration officials and foreign leaders. Although the sources have yet to be determined, the Trump administration has postulated that they came from government agency employees loyal to the previous administration. Later someone else illegally leaked President Trump's 2005 income tax return to the media.

- Political opponents and media outlets have continued to accuse the president and his staff of collaborating with Russian authorities to manipulate the presidential election process, implying that this caused Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to lose. Although no evidence of collusion has been presented, major media venues continue clamoring to find perpetrators so as to delegitimize the election results.

Rebuffing some of these attacks and accusations, President Trump, during a Feb. 17 press conference, accused the mainstream media of speaking "not for the people but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system." He further accused the media of "dishonesty" and creating false, unsubstantiated narratives and inventing "fake news" to undermine his administration.

What's behind all the contention?

What is actually behind all the rancor and contention? Why such intense resistance? Why do the forces allied against the president appear so determined to defeat his administration before it can even get off the ground?

The fundamental reason is the great division between the political left and right in America. Under former President Barack Obama's administration, a significant number of liberal domestic and foreign policies were enacted, with government programs and staffing to carry them out. President Trump made plain throughout his election campaign his firm intention to roll back many of his predecessor's executive orders and legislative programs.

This distresses President Obama's former supporters, including many sympathetic devotees in the media. As a result, we are witnessing a huge power struggle to embarrass, obstruct and defeat President Trump and his governing agenda.

President Trump, meanwhile, campaigned on promises to reduce the influence that powerful lobbyists, financial donors and interest groups have had with federal government legislators and bureaucrats for many years, to scrap unfair international trade deals and to significantly reduce crushing corporate tax rates. In his view, these have injured businesses financially and exported jobs overseas at the expense of American workers.

In a portion of his inaugural address, President Trump summed up his view: "For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government, while the people have borne the cost ...

"The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs, and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes, starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment -- it belongs to you."

During his election campaign, Trump further pledged to end illegal immigration by enforcing the nation's immigration laws and building a wall along the country's southern border. He also promised to aggressively apprehend and deport violent criminal aliens. He also assured voters he would contend forcefully with the threat of Islamic terrorism, destroy the horrific Islamic State (ISIS) and its offshoots, rebuild the depleted U.S. armed forces and reassert American influence in the world.

Threats to a liberal legacy

President Trump further promised to support the coal and oil industry as well as to cut burdensome federal regulations -- many of which have been imposed without legislative authority by unelected government bureaucrats. He said he planned to repeal and replace the failing Obama-era healthcare law and downsize bloated government departments and agencies so they will become more fiscally responsible.

In addition he pledged to promote parental school choice, strongly support law-enforcement officials, launch a crackdown on violent crime and eliminate government subsidies funding abortion clinics.

These goals threaten many decades of liberal influence in generating expensive, highly regulatory "big-government" federal policies and programs. The president's plans also alarm entrenched government bureaucrats and outside special interest groups that have no desire to see changes that would affect their power, influence and financial interests. As a result, the forces of obstruction appear determined to use every means possible to undermine and halt the president's goals.

It's important to note that no previous administration ever had complete support from the entire electorate in executing its agenda. This is a natural and expected consequence of the two-party system. What is different this time around is the level of sheer venom, anger and obstructionism from political opponents and so many in the mainstream media no longer hiding their bias and outright contempt in their reporting (see "Is Fake News New? " and "Is Our Mass Media Leading Us Astray? ").

The bigger picture of human government

Yet, beyond the current state of affairs arising with the new president, let's take a look at the bigger picture of human government. Mankind's long and often painful history shows plainly that no humanly devised governing system has ever worked perfectly or even very well. Many governments have proved to be tyrannical, and others merely managed to keep some serious problems from growing worse.

Speaking in general about human rule, political philosopher Thomas Paine, a major influence in the American Revolution, wrote, "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."

The renowned former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill echoed the observation of others in stating that "democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

But why does this situation exist? Why is governing such a difficult challenge? Why does it so frequently bring contention and unsatisfactory, even disastrous, results?

The fundamental problem involves our corrupted nature as human beings. People have a capacity for some good and will sometimes seek and do right, but for the most part their hearts are deceitful and selfish, leading to evil. Is it any wonder, then, that our governments routinely turn out the same way?

The framers of the U.S. Constitution were wise enough to understand that people are fallible and can often be self-centered, corruptible and even despotic. Consequently these men set up a governing structure designed to restrain people's baser qualities through a system of "separation of powers." These "checks and balances" were intended to limit the power of the three major branches of the government (executive, legislative and judicial) so as to prevent, or at least limit, the misuse of power.

Mankind's most basic problem

But it's critical to note that no form of human government is capable of solving humanity's underlying problem, which is its aversion toward obeying divine law.

The apostle Paul explained this critical problem when he wrote: "The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so" (Romans 8:7, New International Version). Since this is true about God's commandments, it certainly applies to lesser, humanly instituted laws, rules and regulations.

A leading factor in this human predisposition toward lawlessness is the unseen, powerful influence of Satan the devil, whom Scripture labels as "the god of this age" (2 Corinthians 4:4). The Bible describes him as the "prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2, World English Bible).

Considering this biblical fact, it ought not to be a surprise that there has been, and continues to be, so much conflict in virtually every form of human government.

Human government can't solve mankind's basic problem

Is a resolution to this problem possible? Can divided, contentious government be replaced with something far better? The answer is yes -- but it cannot be found in improved human politics or a new generation of human leaders.

The only answer is one of which the vast majority of people have never heard. It is the Creator's direct involvement in human affairs through His perfect government -- the Kingdom of God here on earth! Coupled with that will be every person being given the opportunity to receive God's Spirit -- His divine nature and essence -- which will change them through godly love and willing obedience (Romans 5:5; Romans 8:4; Titus 3:5).

To help grasp why this is so critical, it's important to understand that God has, over the centuries, allowed people and nations to form and experience every conceivable governmental and economic system. This lengthy process has demonstrated, time after time, that all humanly designed governments, including our modern democracies, are utterly incapable of equitably guiding and serving their citizens (Jeremiah 10:23; Jeremiah 17:9).

When people govern themselves without God's direction, failure has always been the result (Romans 3:10-18). We see proof of this throughout history in the incessant evil, anguish, poverty and warfare that has always afflicted humanity.

Our Creator wants everyone to finally grasp that without His spiritual instruction and leadership, our way of life -- deciding for ourselves what is right and wrong -- leads only to suffering, inequity and injustice (Matthew 7:13). As Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25 explain, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."

God's perfect government is coming

So when and how will God set up His government on the earth? Prophetic passages in the Bible explain that relations between nations will worsen severely near the end of man's rule, with "wars and rumors of wars" dominating the news (Matthew 24:6). The situation will reach a final, critical moment when world events will become so horrifyingly dangerous that unless something miraculous transpires, all life on earth will be completely wiped out (Matthew 24:9; Matthew 24:21-22).

However, just as mankind stands on the brink of annihilation, Jesus Christ will return to earth in overwhelming power to prevent that from happening (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 19:11-16). He will do so out of total love for all people and because His loyal, obedient disciples will be living through that frightful period (Matthew 24:22).

Not only will Christ save humanity from total destruction, but He will also set up God's perfect rule throughout the world (Matthew 6:10). It will be perfect because He will take over the reins of government from human beings and will rule in righteousness as King of Kings with the assistance of His resurrected followers (Revelation 19:16; 1 Thessalonians 3:13).

At the same time, Satan the devil and his demonic cohorts will be imprisoned in "the blackness of darkness" so they can no longer corrupt humanity (Revelation 20:1-2; Jude 13). Then, at last, the world will be freed from its long enslavement to ignorance, violence and misgovernment influenced by the devil (Romans 8:21).

This will also be the precise time when God's glorious spiritual family begins its wonderful work in God's overall plan. Again, Christ's followers from this age, those who are alive when Christ returns or are resurrected from the dead at that time, will be transformed into glorious spirit beings (1 Corinthians 15:50-54; Revelation 3:5). They will govern on the earth as kings and priests under Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 20:6).

With the world at large being offered God's Holy Spirit then, all people will finally be able to have their selfish human thoughts and attitudes replaced with a sincere willingness to love and obey God and genuinely care for others (Romans 8:5-8; 2 Peter 1:4). Also at that wonderful coming time, Jesus and God's now-transformed family of divine spirit beings will bring magnificent changes to the world.

The earth's wildernesses areas will be fully transformed into gorgeous, productive lands (Isaiah 41:18; Isaiah 51:3; Amos 9:13). The nature of wild animals will be altered so they become fully tame (this is meant literally but also represents peace among nations) (Isaiah 11:6-9). People will experience God's loving compassion through miraculous healings (Isaiah 35:5-6). Humanity will no longer suffer the cruelty and devastation of war (Micah 4:3). Hurt and destruction will cease as the knowledge of God fills the entire world (Isaiah 11:9). Can you visualize this breathtaking future age?

God's government of perfect peace and righteousness will produce blessings forever (Isaiah 9:7). God is not only showing what His perfect future government will bring, but He is offering you the opportunity to be a part of it as a member of His very own divine family!

Beginning at Jesus Christ's second coming, mankind will no longer endure human government with its monumental inadequacies, corruption and inevitable disappointments. This is because He will set up the ideal government -- which is God's very own!

In the end, the future of government on earth is indeed bright! But it won't be by human effort. The solution to divided, contentious government is coming! Will you choose to be a part of what God has planned for you and all humanity?

©1995-2019 United Church of God, an International Association

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