- - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A Quinnipiac University survey recently found 57 percent of Americans agreed the country “has lost its identity,” 57 percent felt they were “falling further and further behind economically,” and 76 percent believed “public officials don’t care much what people like me think.”

Gallup reported in March, meanwhile, that 71 percent of Americans were dissatisfied with the “way things in the United States were going at this time,” the same number who responded to the identical poll question a month earlier.

What’s up with all the angst?

“Many American voters, especially Republicans, are dissatisfied with their own status and the status of the country, but by far the most dissatisfied are Donald Trump’s supporters, who strongly feel that they themselves and the country are under attack,” said Quinnipiac University poll director Douglas Schwartz, in a statement.

That is the theme of Mr. Trump’s campaign — “Make America great again” — and it’s one that’s resonating big time with voters across the country.

But expecting Mr. Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz — or, God forbid, the self-declared socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders — to solve what ails America is flawed thinking. First, Americans have been complaining about their country for years. In July 2015, Fortune blasted forth the headline: “12 Signs America is on the Decline.” In April 2014, Salon warned: “Global rankings study: America in warp-speed decline.” In October 2013, The New Yorker offered: “Measuring America’s Decline, in Three Charts.” In March 2012, the Atlantic posed: “The Decline of the West: Why America Must Prepare for the End of Dominance.” In 2011, it was the American Spectator, with the title, “Is America in Decline?”

The demise of America, it seems, has been a long-running go-to topic for the press, the pundits and the pollsters. So long, in fact, it leads one to wonder: Do elections really bring change?

Not so much. Not in any long-lasting, meaningful way, at least. Which brings up this second point: It’s not about the “R” versus “D.”

Looking for politicians to provide for the needs and concerns of America seems a cycle of insanity — a red herring, even. But a story from Raphael Cruz, a Christian pastor who spent his growing and formative years in Cuba under the watchful eyes of an oppressive regime? This story is the elephant in the room.

Jerry Newcombe wrote for the Christian Post: “Rafael Cruz tells a story where the soldiers of Castro would teach the children to not believe in God, but instead to believe in Fidel. Soldiers would come into a kindergarten class and tell the children, ‘Okay now, close your eyes and pray to God for some candy.’ The children would comply, but there was no candy. Then they would say, ‘Close your eyes and pray for candy to Fidel Castro.’ The children would close their eyes and pray accordingly, as the soldiers quietly placed candy on the desks.”

What a horrific example of leading children astray, and simultaneously, a tremendous warning of what is really rotting America: the turn from God as leader and toward government as provider.

Inserting fresh faces into the government, whether Mr. Trump, Mr. Cruz, Hillary Clinton or Candidate X, is a temporary fix, at best. America’s government is only a microcosm of America at-large. And there will be no single politician, or even group of politicians, who actually make America great. They can’t — the country’s greatness doesn’t flow that way.

America’s greatness comes from this: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

America’s greatness comes from the bold idea that rights stem from God, not government, that it’s the individual with the greatest worth rather than the collective. And until we win back a country where that sentiment is intuitively felt and instinctively enacted upon, where “in God we trust” is the lesson taught the coming generations instead of “on government we depend,” then the changing faces of politicians will be just that — a new look, a new message, but the same dissatisfying results.

Cheryl K. Chumley, a writer for WND.com, contributing columnist for the Blaze and former news writer with The Washington Times, is the author of “The Devil in DC: Winning Back the Country From the Beast in Washington.” (WND Books, 2016).

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