October 2, 2006
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank


Dear Marketplace Friend,
      When they launched Survivor - one of the first of the new "reality" genre - America was only exposed to the brutal business of "every person for him/herself" one night each week. Their daytime battles - in a workplace that was "every person for him/herself" - gave them a point-of-reference for the prime-time fantasy. We may call it "dog-eat-dog," but dogs have far too much decorum to do what those folks do...
      Now, Survivor is 24/7, at least until early November. We're in the every-two-years Sweepstakes. It's not staged, but "real." It isn't entertainment; it's politics... and it's not all that entertaining.
      At least this one isn't a foregone conclusion. The competition for "control" is underway. Democrats and Republicans are mud-wrestling for those few crucial seats that could mean the sway in terms of the two-year majority. Will Bush have collaboration on "the Hill?" Or, will he be fighting two wars, on two fronts: vs. the Terrorists and vs. the Democrats? Stay tuned; the game may come down to the final seconds on November 7th...
      Mark Foley hasn't helped, at all. As one of 435 members of the House of Representatives, he was no high-ranking, high-visibility player. If you weren't in the 16th Congressional District of Florida, his name may have never come up in your conversation. That is, until last week... when he resigned from his seat in Congress. The reason?
      Used to be, you could run a red light and get away with it as long as there wasn't a black-and-white within sight. Especially when the roads had light traffic; after all, who's going to know? That is, until they put in those darn cameras.
      Now, you can have the road to yourself, punch it through the intersection on that well-aged yellow light and find an official envelope in your mail two weeks later. Private Industry is now in partnership with local governments: the companies who make the cameras put 'em in for “free” and settle for a percentage of the penalties extracted from the violators. The "city" doesn't have to pay; they just get "found money" from their cut on the citation. Big Brother? More like "Daddy Warbucks;" it isn't just government, it's your friendly local entrepreneur who wants to bust the bad guys.
      In Foley's case, it wasn't a red light: it was his red-light-district behavior. You've heard it already; I don't have to be explicit. He has a history of off-color comments and thinly-veiled solicitations toward young men who served Congress as "pages." Apparently, Congressman Foley wrote laws during the day, and then sought to break those laws in his "free time." Leaders from both parties are calling for the Attorney General to launch a full-scale inquiry into his behavior. Resignation may only be the start of his problems; criminal prosecution is not unlikely. Political. Criminal. Personal. It all blends into the same wretched stew...
      Cover-ups have been with us forever; investigations compete with cover-ups to find out the truth. Behavior that is out-of-bounds leads to consequences but not until it's discovered.
      Foley's busted. Some folks in Washington are going to relish his shame. The conclusion: if you don't want it in the headlines, don't put it in a text message. The bytes can bite, if you're not careful...
      Jesus presented this truth, which can be heard as a warning: "...There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs..." (Matthew 10:26-27). No cover-up will ever be complete, according to Jesus. At the end of the day, everything will come to light.
      If the cameras at the intersections changes the way we drive (and they do), the cameras in heaven should change the way we live. It also raises the value of a Divine Pardon... that erases the tape of every unrighteous act of life, through the already-paid stamp of Calvary, purchased with the death of the Lamb of God.
      In Washington, justice is wrapped in politics. In heaven, justice is wrapped in grace. Which do you prefer?

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