J.C. Derrick: Where our hope lies

NICK EICHER: Today is Tuesday, March 19th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Managing Editor J.C. Derrick has some thoughts on where our hope lies—and where it doesn’t.

J.C. DERRICK, MANAGING EDITOR: Robert Francis O’Rourke is running for president, and the mainstream media is already on a first-name basis with him. A Politico newsletter quickly devoted a section to the “Beto beat.”

And O’Rourke’s campaign launched last week with a fawning profile in Vanity Fair.

Quoting now—“Beto O’Rourke seems, in this moment, like a cliff diver trying to psych himself into the jump,” reporter Joe Hagan wrote. “And after playing coy all afternoon about whether he’ll run, he finally can’t deny the pull of his own gifts.”

Now that’s some hard-hitting journalism right there. Poor Beto is just a victim of his own talent.

Never mind that only four months ago he promised Texas voters he wouldn’t run for president:

REPORTER: Congressman, can you say definitively that, no matter what happens tomorrow, you will not be a candidate for president in 2020?
O’ROURKE: I will not be a candidate for president in 2020.

Some Republicans might be tempted to scoff at the notion that O’Rourke could win the presidency. After all, he’s a former city councilman who served three nondescript terms in the U.S. House. Then he ran for the Senate and lost.

History is littered with much more accomplished candidates whose presidential ambitions fell flat. But more recent history tells a different story.

First-term senators and candidates without any governing experience are all the rage these days. And it goes for both parties. In the 2016 election cycle, Republican primary voters culled the accomplished governors first.

It seems the candidates just can’t get young enough and inexperienced enough for us to love them.

And I think there’s a reason for that. No one needs to tell us the problems with the people in charge now. We can see their warts, their flaws. We know we can’t pin our hopes on them.

So we like a clean slate on which to paint our mental pictures of political bliss. We want someone who can inspire us to forget our cultural problems. Or better yet, deceive us into thinking there are simple, common-sense solutions just waiting to be implemented en masse by this latest, greatest candidate.

I say “we” not only because politics is downstream of culture. I say it because the allure of charisma is not limited to politics.

How many of us would prefer the youngish, funny pastor who is oh-so-entertaining to the one with decades of experience—who might be a little drab? How many of us have migrated to exactly such a church?

No, we cannot cast stones at the political arena. Like the rest of the culture, too often we look to earthly leaders to solve problems only God can handle.

Jesus faced a similar dynamic in first century Israel. His disciples—even up to the eve of his crucifixion—were sure he would bring political deliverance.

But Jesus didn’t do that. He proved once and for all that our hope is not in politics—it’s not in government. And no matter how well spoken, no candidate will ever change that.

For WORLD Radio, I’m J.C. Derrick.

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Buttons for former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke sit on display during a stop at the Central Park Coffee Company, Friday, March 15, 2019, in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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