Last night we discovered, again, that a room full of highly motivated people---including news people intent on making their own professional mark, creates an environment of much disagreement.
Yet, there was agreement that America is on the wrong track.
That is also reflected outside the debate hall. On Main Street.
Recent polls show Americans have lost respect for our institutions, including military, churches, the presidency, public education, banks and congress. And politicians.
Polls also show we deeply disagree on the solution to our problems.
So how do we feel now, after the debate?
Did America see emerging leadership? Or merely more frustration?
Some thoughts on the Great Debate.
Breitbart News published an overview of comments from last nights debate. They also published a headline suggesting that the Fox News moderators attempted to "take Trump out" of the presidential campaign.
The Hill, a more middle to left news organization published this headline: "Trump Dominates Rowdy Debate."
The moderators definitely went after Trump. I personally felt the Fox moderators were sometimes playing to their progressive left colleagues from other news organizations whom they knew were watching.
I felt Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz did very well and will likely see their support increase.
The "Great Debate" will be the dominate news item today. The ratings, which will be published later today, will likely be a record for viewership of a political primary debate.
In a number of ways, it was a "great debate" in that the political fortunes were bettered for some and reduced for others. But it was only that. There will be more debates, more polls, and more predictions over the next year and a half.
But the debate reflected a greater debate---the true "Great Debate" that has divided America more deeply than at any time since the Civil War.
Over the last generation we've largely destroyed our uniquely American culture, created an activist government that pursues its own agenda, with little to no thought of actually serving the people, or sustaining the greatness and exceptionalism of America---much less protecting our religious freedoms.
I believe a number of those on the stage last night, if elected, would help restore America to the strength of its roots.
The Constitution has been ignored and undermined. Religion, particularly Christianity, is now scorned and targeted---people are punished for living out their biblical faith in public.
Present leadership in America has attempted to make the family something it never was and marriage something it never can be.
With news channels broadcasting "news" 24/7--365, it can be overwhelming and depressing.
Sometimes Christian's escape mechanism is to remain silent and not speak out on the issues.
Sometimes we revert to claiming exemption from responsibility because "Jesus is coming" and it doesn't really matter.
Some people of faith tell themselves that what is going on now was prophesied thousands of years ago, are decreed by God and are completely beyond any human control.
I don't agree. I believe God is sovereign, but has called each of His people to participate in His sovereign will.
David Barton, America's foremost Christian historian and George Barna, America's foremost Christian researcher, wrote a book together titled, "U-Turn: Restoring America to the Strength of its Roots."
I strongly recommend it.
In the book they address the questions: "Is America's fate really predetermined?"---"Is a solution beyond our reach?"
They believe the answer is "no." I agree with them.
Lets look at the American Revolution. When we read about it today, we know we won the struggle against Great Britain, and we assume that there was widespread public support for independence and liberty. Not so.
Historians say that only one-third of Americans supported independence; one-fourth opposed it; and the rest of the people really didn't care---they just wanted to be on the winning side, whichever side that turned out to be.
Only 9% of Americans actually participated in securing liberty for the nation.
It doesn't take a majority to win, it only takes a dedicated minority core group.
Another lesson from the American Revolution is seen in the early battles. When British troops approached Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill, Williamsburg, and elsewhere, Americans didn't send a messenger to George Washington to ask what should be done. Instead, they simply stood up in their own local community to face down the enemy that was closest to them.
As the presidential campaign rolls along during the coming months, people will be talking about it. Use the opportunity to discuss the true solution to our nation's problems.
Also consider becoming involved in your own community. Pay attention to what is happening. Monitor what is being taught in your public government school. Run for a school board position, a position in your city or county. Begin building a sphere of influence.
Be informed. Vote. Advocate for righteousness.
Barton and Barna write, "And for those in the faith community, our destiny is still in our hands. Most credible prophecy experts agree that America doesn't appear in end-time prophecies. The fates of nations such as Gog, Magog, Israel, Egypt and others may be, but America's is not. We still get to choose our destiny. So, Americans of faith shouldn't use eschatology as an excuse to retreat into a shell of non-activity, but instead obey Jesus' direct command to His servants to 'Occupy until I come' (Luke 19:13). We must adopt the attitude voiced in 2 Kings 7:3, when a handful of individuals looked at what was going wrong around them and asked the simple question, 'Why should we just sit here, waiting to die?' They got moving and their seemingly inconsequential actions brought profound results."
This is not the time to back out of the battle. Instead it is a time to move forward.
But don't be overwhelmed by it all. Remember, "God removes kings and raises up kings" ( Daniel 2:21), and He has chosen His people to work with Him.
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.