Posted by: Thomas Richard | March 1, 2016

A Presidential Election Like No Other

Not in my lifetime, anyway, has a presidential election been like this one – and not in my lifetime has the need been greater for a true statesman to hold the office, to lead this country. How America needs a statesman seeking the true good of the nation, with members of Congress to work with him – and not mere self-advancing careerists, politicians serving their own ambitions, seeking their own glory.

Augustine saw the difference among men so clearly! In his penetrating book The City of God he wrote of those whom we would call true statesmen, who seek to “serve one another in love,” who seek to “take thought for all,” who seek, in other words, the true good of their fellow men and women. Such is true servant-leadership: leading by serving, leading in order to serve others, serving according to the true good intended by God in His holy truth and love.

But then there are the lesser men of whom Augustine writes, who seek to rule for “the love of ruling.” They are dominated – they are driven – not by the love of others for the sake of God, but by “the love of self, even to the contempt of God.” They seek glory for themselves, glory that they draw from the men they dominate. They are not servants of others though they speak often of “serving their country”, but they are users – abusers, really – and manipulators of others in order to gain power over them.

I see and hear such a hard spirit of meanness, bitter hearts dripping with disdain for their enemies and rivals for the power they seek! So many politicians seeking to divide and thus conquer, seeking to set one voting block against another, seeking to guard their own power base, willing to insinuate what is false and to suggest so as to deceive. They are willing – so much do they lust for power – even to lie outright and to repeat the lie again and again until the undiscerning fall into believing the lie.

Thus the weakness of democracy: it depends upon the people! Thus the vulnerability of democracy to evil men, and their dark work of “dumbing-down” the electorate, keeping the poor poor and dependent upon their elected masters, keeping all ignorant of what is happening around them. These rulers, who rule for the love of ruling, hide the truth of the true God from public consciousness so as to bring ultimate impoverishment to the people, so as to bring ultimate hollow and false dependency on these evil masters who in fact care nothing for the people ruled by them.

But how they lie and manipulate, twist and dodge, evade and invent, and repeat the lies until they sound normal and right! And the people – have they come to love it that way? Has the lie become lovely to them? Have they come to disdain the truth – does truth demand too much of them – does the truth condemn their own wickedness, does the lie help them justify themselves, and help them hide from God in the roar of the crowds and the glory of the masses?

The Reading of today, for this morning’s Liturgy of the Hours, this day called “Super Tuesday” in the secular world, is a telling exhortation from the prophet Joel. He wrote, on behalf of God to His people,

Return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment. (Joel 2:12-13)

The following is a quote attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 -1859), a French political thinker, historian and writer. If he was not the first to express it this way, someone did. It is true.

“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Indeed, America has for some time now taken a path of intentional redefinition – distortion – of the good in preference for ideas of “goodness” of anything that seems pleasurable. Sexual excess and deviancy is not only common, but is declared “normal” and thus “good. Material things are sources for our human happiness. “Political correctness” – not the truth of God, not even the truth attested in human conscience – is becoming the standard, the foundation for morality, and even for federal law as interpreted by a so-called “Supreme Court”. The American Constitution, which once enabled America to be a nation of laws and not of the wishes of the powerful, is becoming a document of suggestions open to the whims of fickle men. “Might makes right” – the code of tyranny used by evil throughout human history – is becoming the operative code in our new “progressive” philosophy. Its fruit is death, in a culture of death; its future is darkness and great suffering for all.

Can America be made great again? Can she be made good again? If so, it will not be by making more clever deals and treaties, by making the middle class more affluent so as to spend more money in shallow self-gratification, so as to make “the economy” stronger. America, we need a renewed sense of value – we need to understand the economy of the spirit – we need to learn where happiness truly is found! We need to learn again what “truth” is! And “goodness”! And righteousness. We need to know that we do not have the power to define good and evil – God has that power – we need to recognize, to acknowledge, and to honor the true good, and to reject the evil no matter how tempting, “glamorous” and politically correct it is declared to be by a political elite, in the dark culture of death.

America, will you wake up before it is too late? Will you listen to your heart, to your conscience, to the better voices in and around you? Or will you grasp the lusts and the lies dangling before your eyes, in the shouting crowds, in the roaring din of noise that seeks to overwhelm the whispers of reason and truth, of goodness and beauty, of salvation and holy life? Your God is calling you:

Return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.


note: Augustine, City of God, Book XIV, Chapter 28: “Of the Nature of the Two Cities, the Earthly and the Heavenly”


  1. Dear Thomas,

    Thanks for your reflections on the current presidential race, in light of God’s wisdom expressed by St. Augustine and the Prophet Joel. Will America “awake” to her need for Truth? Has she forgotten so much of her history and for too long neglected her faith in God? Time will tell.

    By God’s grace, may we truly repent of all we have failed to do to keep America “good” as a nation under God. May the Immaculate Heart of Mary intercede for us, that we may commit ourselves anew to ongoing conversion, a daily return to Him with all our hearts..

    Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful.
    Mother of Mercy, pray for us.
    Jesus, we trust in You.

  2. Hey Thomas, I agree with you about the state of this presidential election. It scares me and makes me angry. So many lies and mean talk…..Where is christian brotherhood? Prayers need to multiply and rosaries, too. Thanks for your blog.

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