Commentary by Michael VandenBurg
It’s been quite a year, 2016.
In February, in my home town of Kalamazoo, six people are killed and two more are injured by an Uber driver. March saw four people killed and a fifth wounded in Missouri by someone in the country illegally. April, five former New Orleans police officers plead guilty to shooting six unarmed people. June, 49 killed and 50 wounded by a gunman at an Orlando Night club. Also in June, an 800-page report on Benghazi concerning the killing of 4 diplomats is released. July, the shooting of citizens by police and even more police by citizens. Democrat and Republican nominees were selected. August, Alex Rodriquez, the New York Yankee slugger embroiled in a years-long steroid controversy, played his last game. September, a Seaside Park, N.J., neighborhood is torn about by explosions; in St. Cloud, Minn., a 22-year-old man stabs 10 people in a shopping mall, five people are killed in a Washington State mall, a 14-year-old shoots two students and a teacher in Greenville, S.C., and one dies days later. In October, the FBI reopens the Hillary Clinton email investigation by subpoenaing the computer of Anthony Weiner. November, two State officials in New Jersey are found guilty of their involvement in “Bridgegate”, Donald Trump, a billionaire and TV reality-show host is elected president, Donald Trump settles lawsuits worth 25 million, and at Ohio State, a student drives his car into a group of people and injures 11. December, 36 people die in an Oakland, Calif., nightclub fire, and two juveniles are charged in the wildfires that swept Gatlinburg, Tenn., that killed 14 and injured 175.
In this election year, the biggest news seemed to be Donald Trump winning as president. It was a celebration for some, but for many it lead to protests, marches, accusations and even threats to leave the country if he took office. I have heard commentators say that Trump will be the destruction of the United States. But will he? If you objectively look at the news of the past year and the history of the past four decades, you have to ask, will Donald Trump be the cause or our destruction or is he just the culmination (so far) of the journey of our country? It seems that at every juncture since the ’60s assassinations, Watergate, and the ever-deafening tide of failed leadership, demanding citizenship and failure to accept responsibility by all parties, we have seen a steep moral decline, loss of character and integrity and more and more decisions at all levels made on the basis of “what’s in it for me” as the bottom line.
God has repeatedly told us that with free will these are our choices, but if we want to succeed as a people and not just a nation we need to heed God’s voice and follow his directives. But all is not lost. When we stray, as we most definitely have, we can turn again, call on his name, repent (turn and go the other way), and he not only will hear us, but save us. (2 Chronicles 7:14) Maybe as 2017 enters, this might be the time to turn to God for leadership and not to politicians, police, pastors and pundits.