June 25, 2007
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend,

    Arizona Sen. John McCain is now the most popular presidential candidate among likely voters nationwide. If the election were held today, 58 percent of all likely voters would choose McCain and 36 percent would pick Gore. The number of likely voters with a favorable view of McCain has jumped 16 points, to 76 percent, the highest favorable rating of any presidential candidate nationwide. There was little or no change in the other candidates' favorable ratings during the same period.
    Whoa. How is that possible? Misprints? Bogus polls? Garbled reporting from misinformed sources? No way; that first paragraph is a direct quote, from a highly-respected news source - CNN, to be specific. There is one problem, however: it is from their web posting, dated February 7, 2000. As William Jefferson Clinton wrapped-up his final year of two terms in the Oval Office, America was preparing to replace him. As the old approach to presidential election was underway - launched in New Hampshire on February 1st, 2000... and finished (with a photo-finish that was Supreme Court confirmed) on November 7th of the same year! - the polls were already cookin'. Just six days after New Hampshire's starting gun fired, the race was on. Al Gore - the sitting Vice President - led the Democratic field, and Senator John McCain was the man-to-beat on the Republican side. As of the 7th of February, "if the election were held today" had John McCain headed for the title of 43rd President of the United States. 
    If the election were held today. That phrase has established the multimillion dollar polling industry as a key player in politics. You'd think that the folks who do the surveys had their own page in the US Constitution, granting them status as an unchallenged contributor to the national conversation. If the election were held today is a compelling notion; sounds like a "sure thing," doesn't it? Curious, however: the polling pros release their prognostications the day before our elections... and then watch - as we all do - as the results pour in. If they called it right, they preen. If they called it wrong, they postulate. The polls may - arguably - be accurate, but... they are essentially irrelevant if conducted on a day when the election is not scheduled. If the election were held today... but, it isn't! 
    Don't beat it to death, Shank. What's the point? We've got 497 days to go until the only poll that matters - the one you and I will enter to cast our ballots - will tell the real story. Until then, we can expect daily/weekly/monthly headlines reporting what would happen, if the election were held today... 
    The day I'm talking about isn't on our calendar, but it is on God's. It's the day when he is going to tell all of the folks we've elected to step aside, and make room for him to be revealed as the real Leader: "...But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. (2 Peter 3:10-14)" 
    Listen: if the election were held today, most people in our world think that we've got millions of years in front of us, and a hereafter that either doesn't exist, or favors "nice" people whose "good works" outweighed their "bad deeds." A lifetime version of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" is their strategy for eternal confidence. If the election were held today, the biblical prediction of what's going to happen in the future - call it "the day of the Lord" - would lose the popular vote. Does that really matter? 
    The June 2007 popular opinion polls won't put a man or woman in the White House in 2009; and, the June 2007 popular opinion polls won't put a man or woman in heaven in eternity, either. The election won't be held today... but there will be a Judgment held someday. The results of that poll will be eternally binding. Are you ready for that?

     Bob Shank


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