Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, October 11, 2020

Shavuah Tov,

Believers Could Decide Every Election for God’s Glory (Part 2)

by Dr. and Senator Raymond Finney

INTRODUCTION: George Washington, the first president of the United States,  exemplifies a leader dedicated to serve the nation, honor God, and preserve liberty for future generations.

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S LONG-FORGOTTEN PLEAS FOR AMERICA: In this brief RR series, I will comment on a very few issues relative to this year’s election. In today’s RR, I comment on George Washington’s Farewell Address to the United States. In this love letter to his newly formed country, the “Father of Our Country” made recommendations (advice or warnings) for the longevity and prosperity of the new nation so beloved by him. Washington’s advice has long been forgotten. You may be interested in some of President Washington’s forward-looking recommendations. In every election, an American Believer/ Christian should put the will of God foremost in his/ her decisions to cast votes.

A televangelist is now offering bumper stickers/ lapel pins which sum up our responsibilities before God. These products read: “Vote Your Faith.” Heed this advice. When you enter a polling booth, invite the Ruach HaKodesh to enter with you. When you cast your one vote, make that vote acceptable to Yeshua.

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S FAREWELL ADDRESS TO THE NATIONUNHEEDED WARNINGS! George Washington (1732-1799) accomplished the following, among other things:
• He was a planter at his beloved Mount Vernon, Virginia.
• He served with valor, if not always victoriously, in early (pre-Revolutionary War) military campaigns.
• He was elected as a delegate to the First Continental Congress.
• He served as commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), in which his ragtag troops, often living under desperate conditions, defeated the mightiest army of that time– the army of the Kingdom of Great Britain.
• He was elected (1789) as the first president of the United States, and served two four-year terms. He declined a third term, establishing the precedent that an American president should not serve more than two terms (until Franklin Delano Roosevelt broke this tradition in the twentieth century). His presidency was marked by reforms and fairness, and he was greatly beloved by his countrymen. He issued the Proclamation of Neutrality (1793), which served as the basis for avoidance of American entanglement in foreign conflicts. On the downside, arguably, he favored a strong central government, implemented a tax system, and established a national bank. He is one of America’s greatest presidents. His likeness is sculpted into Mount Rushmore. The state of Washington is named after him (he is the only American to have a state bear his name). And, the nation’s capitol– Washington, D.C. – is named for him.

In 1796, George Washington was nearing completion of his second presidential  term. He was weary from many years of service devoted to the young United States of America, and he was feeling the effects of age. He wrote a letter, called an “address,” although it was never delivered as a speech. The letter, addressed to the people of the United States– “friends and citizens” –  was first published on September 19, 1796 in the American Daily Advertiser. It was soon reprinted in other newspapers and pamphlets. Read the full text of his farewell address at: https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp .

● Washington’s pleas: In this address, Washington made pleas in three basic areas of concern:
** America should stay neutral;
** Good government is based on religion and morals; and
** Political parties are dangerous.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0, has summarized Washington’s address in a useful blog (© 2011). Read the blog at: http://blog.ganderson.us/articles/20-unheeded-warnings-by-george-washington/.

● Washington’s advice: Washington’s advice for Americans is summarized, following (relying heavily on the aforementioned blog). Washington’s advice, labeled G. WASHINGTON, is usually self-explanatory, but I may add a few comments, labeled MY COMMENT:

** (G. WASHINGTON): Be vigilant: people will seek to use the government for selfish ends.

(MY COMMENT): How much better would our country be, if we rebuffed and even prosecuted persons who use the government for selfish ends? A steady stream of lobbyists and others pass through the halls of Congress, seeking special legislation, tax breaks, and other favors. Middle Americans pay for the “gifts” to the legislators’ cronies. How many politicians, who earn only a relatively modest public servant’s income, retire as multimillionaires? Are these politicians uniquely blessed in being able to invest their salaries to reap huge retirement windfalls, or is something else in operation?

** (G. WASHINGTON): Avoid overgrown military establishments; they are hostile to liberty.

(MY COMMENT): National defense is the most important and essential activity of government, but there is tremendous waste in military expenditures. Why do we fund certain weapon systems that the Pentagon does not even want? Why is America paying for military protection of Germany some seventy-five years after the end of World War II? Why is America paying a disproportionate amount for NATO and other alliances? In 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allies’ forces in Europe during World War II and thirty-fourth president, delivered a speech in which he warned America against “the military-industrial complex.” This speech may be read at: http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html .

SIDELIGHT: Many Americans misunderstand the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms). There are two purposes. The first purpose is the right for self defense, which dates to centuries-old British Common Law. The second purpose is a defense of the citizenry against an out-of-control (tyrannical) government. This purpose is summed up in a quote from John Basil Barnhill (often incorrectly attributed to Thomas Jefferson): “Where the people fear the government, you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people, you have liberty.” Incidentally, more firearms are owned by American citizens than in any other nation. No one knows the exact number, but some estimate that in America (population, 331.5-million), there may be owned as many as 660-million firearms  and 12-trillion rounds of ammunition. Other estimates are lower. It is amusing to hear politicians speak of gun confiscation or buy-backs. I would not want the job of knocking on doors and saying, “Good morning, sir, I’m from the government and I’m here to collect your guns.” END sidelight (and the poor federal agent).

** (G. WASHINGTON): Prevent all obstructions to the execution of the laws. 

** (G. WASHINGTON): Control bureaucracies; make sure they all work together.

(MY COMMENT): The federal government is an expansive “patchwork quilt” of bureaucracies. Bureaucrats vie for power and even greater funding. Virtually every facet of personal and business life is controlled by bureaucracies. Bureaucracies strangle businesses (cost jobs) in the private sector, infringe upon personal liberties, and often hamper business expansion and entrepreneurship. Presidents control the regulatory agencies, and they can achieve through regulation what they cannot achieve through legislation.

** (G. WASHINGTON): Avoid political parties; they will cause divisive factions and unscrupulous men will use them to undermine the government.

** (G. WASHINGTON): Real patriots will resist intrigues, while dupes will surrender to interests.

** (G. WASHINGTON): Be suspicious of administrators; they may serve themselves rather than the people.

(MY COMMENT): Are you proud of the political process, as you have watched this year’s election? Is a protracted primary season, in which candidates insult each other (Washington’s “divisive factions”), and voters feel the results may be rigged (Washington’s “unscrupulous men undermining the government”), the best way to find a presidential candidate? There surely is a better political process. My goal this week: use “dupes” more often. Thanks, G.W.– great word!

** (G. WASHINGTON): Give allegiance to the Constitution; improve it as necessary.

** (G. WASHINGTON): Do not alter the Constitution lightly, or based on hypothesis; apply the experience construed to the document when it was created. 

(MY COMMENT): The Constitution is increasingly seen as a fluid “living document,” rather than a rock-solid fixed document. As a “living document,” some feel that each generation may re-interpret (effectively, re-write) it at will. The Constitution Framers provided for re-writing portions of this document by amendment. Amendment is the proper route to change the Constitution, not through executive order or chipping away through court decisions, reflecting political and judicial prejudices rather than sound principles of law. Politicians are already at work, seeking ways to eliminate the Electoral College, pack (expand) the Supreme Court, etc. Incidentally, we see the same fallacy in “religion,” as many Believers/ Christians/ Jews decide which parts of Scriptures to follow and which parts to ignore.

** (G. WASHINGTON): Watch for consolidation of power in any department of government.

** (G. WASHINGTON): Preserve existing checks and balances, and add more where power needs to be checked.

(MY COMMENT): Government was established as three equal but separate powers (co-equal Branches) – Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches. An effective system of checks and balances was established. When the federal government operates as intended, no better form of government has been devised. James Madison, the great thinker behind the Constitution, stated at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that he was shown these three Branches after reading Isaiah 33:22: For Adonai is our Judge, Adonai is our Lawgiver, Adonai is our King– He will save us! [“Judge” = Judicial Branch || “Lawgiver” = Legislative Branch || “King” = Executive Branch] In recent years, Branches have jostled for powers intended for other Branches. Our checks-and-balances system is endangered. Incidentally, a fourth branch of government was recognized and encouraged. This branch was the press (now called the media). It was intended that the press (media) would fairly and freely report politicians’ wrongdoings, and the offending politicians could be voted out of office. The media too often now serve as advocates for favored politicians/ political parties, not as watchdogs of governmental excess or malfeasance. That is, the media have mostly become lapdogs, rather than watchdogs. In a sentence, we can summarize the current status of our government: Men and women have completely ruined a tremendous form of government for their selfish desires.

** (G. WASHINGTON): Religion and morality are essential to create the virtue necessary to preserve the union.

(MY COMMENT): Readers of this RR should need no comments on the status of religion and morality in America today. I have observed marked deterioration in matters of faith and morality during my lifetime, and numerous opinion polls support my observations. Yeshua warned that the final generation (is that us?) would become apostate, even becoming like people in the time of Noah. The Apostle Paul warned that the final generation would be evil. (Among other Scriptures, see Matthew 24:10, 12, 37-39 || Luke 18:8b || 2 Timothy 4:3-4 || 2 Peter 3:3-9 || Revelation 3:14-16.)

** (G. WASHINGTON): Promote widespread education; democracy requires literate citizens that understand the system of governance and take responsibility for themselves.

(MY COMMENT): America spends huge sums on education. Local taxes in most districts are largely spent on public education; tuition of colleges/ universities rises rapidly; and many college/ university graduates are saddled with enormous student loans (but cannot find employment that should flow from their education). Many of today’s graduates have little knowledge of proper grammar, civics, and other educational skills (but, they are well versed in political correctness and are brimming with misplaced self-confidence). Many employers cannot find workers capable of basic mathematical and scientific/ technical skills to learn their factory job requirements. There is a disturbing disconnect with the amount of money being funneled into public education and the results of that education. Public education facilities are more indoctrination centers than education centers. American manufacturing will suffer, as American graduates enter the workplace to compete with, say, Chinese workers who are better educated, will work harder, and covet American jobs. But, American graduates feel great about themselves, have more social media contacts, and are ready to join any protest march.

** (G. WASHINGTON): Avoid debt; and immediately discharge any debt created by war.

** (G. WASHINGTON): Taxes are unpleasant; government spending should be candidly conducted.

(MY COMMENT): The United States’ government is bankrupt, but will not admit it because it has the luxury of dealing in fiat money. “Fiat” is an arbitrary decree by a government that something has value, even though nothing tangible backs up the value. The American dollar is fiat currency. Why? There is no precious metal, (gold, for example), establishing value (only faith in the government). The federal government decrees the dollar has value (fiat value), and citizens and other nations accept that decree. When the government runs out of financial steam, more dollars are “printed.” Magically, then: POOF,  there is no more problem. If you cannot pay your mortgage this month, can you go into your basement and print more money to cover the payment? No, but the government can cover its debts like this. America admits to nearly twenty-seven trillion dollars ($27,000,000,000,000) in national debt. (Watch the national debt accumulate at: www.usdebtclock.org/ .) Our debt is far greater than this, though, when all obligations– Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. – are considered. Nations are conspiring to bring America’s debt to a crisis. Some socialists in this country seek to utilize the Cloward-Piven strategy to bring America to her knees and raise their form of Utopia from America’s ashes. (To know about the socialists’ Cloward-Piven strategy; see: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloward%E2%80%93Piven_strategy , etc.)  As a nation, we have disregarded Proverbs 22:7: The rich rule over the poor, the borrower is a slave to the lender. 

** (G. WASHINGTON): Cultivate peace and justice toward all nations. 

** (G. WASHINGTON): Avoid alliances and maintain neutrality among nations.

** (G. WASHINGTON): Avoid dependency; a weak state that allies with a stronger state will become its servant. 

** (G. WASHINGTON): In trade, give no nation a favored nation status.

(MY COMMENT): America has granted most favored nation (MFN) status to virtually all countries in the world. Such treaties proliferated after World War II, with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) treaty. America has entered into numerous trade agreements with various nations. “Free trade” is typically abused by America’s trading partners. Have these agreements helped America’s trade imbalance and created jobs for American workers? Or, have the opposite effects occurred?

** (G. WASHINGTON): Be guided by principles, not interests.

(MY COMMENT): Washington’s advice that an office holder should be guided by principles, not interests, is a somewhat novel idea in present-day politics. Many  politicians seem to be narcissistic, egocentric, selfish, “me-me” persons, looking only to their next re-election. There are ways that would reduce the selfish attitude of politicians (such as, term limits, limitation of origin/ amount of funds that can be expended in a campaign, public funding of campaigning, and Draconian penalties– prison sentences and heavy fines– for accepting anything that increases personal wealth), but such reforms will never be enacted.

Questions: Has the United States completely ignored the warnings of President George Washington? Would America be a far greater nation, if we had heeded– and still heeded– Washington’s warnings? Would Americans even allow themselves now to live in the moral, fiscally responsible society envisioned by Washington? Could America’s greatest presidents (examples: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln) even be elected today? Would a gawky man with a shrill voice (Abraham Lincoln) be a plausible candidate in our television debate age, or would he be laughed out of politics by snarky comedians and “talking heads?” Would politicians of the caliber of the Founding Fathers be completely dismissed, when they talked openly and freely about God? Why is any nation resembling the United States so difficult to identify in end-time prophecies? How would you answer a frequently asked poll question: “Do you think America is headed in the right direction or the wrong direction?”

Summary: George Washington bade farewell to his beloved nation in a 1796 letter. After suffering much, he thought at length about what the United States should become. America has ignored much of his advice. I feel America is a much poorer nation because we have chosen a different path from the one Washington envisioned.

Until next Sunday, Shalom and Maranatha.