“Stay down, George.” As much as I wanted him to win the fight, I knew that it was over. His eyes were glazed as the referee counted him out, his facial expression providing Magnavoxian-proof that he probably did not even know where he was. Even if he somehow miraculously managed to get up off the canvas, it was certain by his posture and the glazed look in his eyes that he would simply go right back down again—probably before the 8th round was officially over.
I remember a lot of sporting events from when I was young, and can recall them in absolute vivid detail. (Sometimes it’s a blessing, while at others it’s a curse!) I do not remember the date as it was after the fight, but I was watching the replay on ABC’s Wide World of Sports back in late 1974 or early 1975. You remember the show, huh? Jim Mackay’s voiceover during the opening, “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport... the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat...” with skier Vinko Bogataj’s dreadful crash punctuating that last line. I was 12 at the time, and because there was no ESPN or Internet back then, I was not aware of who had won the fight. To me, a country boy living in a culturally-bypassed McNeill of the time, it was just as good as watching it live. I was pulling for George Foreman in his heavyweight boxing title defense against Muhammad Ali in the now-famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle' that took place in Zaire in October of 1974.
Remembering that look on George’s face reminds me a lot of our country these days, and I see this in the political climate available for my viewing pleasure on the nightly news, no matter where I choose to get it. We have an election coming up in a few months, and I’m beginning to wonder if it even matters anymore. On one side we are reminded that if we do not vote for the Republicans, a dark curtain will descend across America and we’ll fall as a nation; a victim of our debt and the increasing entitlements we have locked ourselves into paying. We’ll become a nation of illegal immigrants with violent ‘flash robs’ and riots occurring in all of our major cities. On the other hand, if we do not vote for the Democrats, Medicare and Social Security will cease to exist while thousands will starve in the streets, and we will find ourselves in a state of perpetual war—bleeding ourselves dry in foreign countries that do not actually like us anyway.
Either way, we as a people have our eyes glazed over and a lost look on our faces, wondering where to turn and which direction it will take to get us out of here. And if somehow we heroically manage to get up off the mat and find a way to re-enter the fight, well, there’s a good chance we’ll only go down again. In the process, we could risk permanent damage to whatever’s left inside of us.
Before he was knocked out, it’s reported that Foreman managed to land a crushing jab into Ali’s chest, a blow that would have normally ended the fight. As Ali covered, he whispered to George, “Is that all you got?” and George quietly replied, “Yeah. I guess it is”.
Saturday as I watched the Olympics, the athletic events were interrupted by news that the Republican Presidential challenger had finally chosen a running mate. The choice is a good man with bright ideas and a notable hard worker—I’m a Republican—I like him. But at the same token, as the weekend wore on, while looking at the sum of the pair I caught myself (more often than not) wondering, “Is this all we’ve got?”
Are the two choices I mentioned earlier, Republican or Democrat, really all that is left to us as a nation and as a people? What will be the final verdict and how will history remember us? Will the United States go out with a bang, or will it be only a silent, pleading whimper?
The way I see it, nothing will change. And that’s not just the Ides of Cynicism rearing their ugly head from within my keyboard this morning. The downward spiral of our nation did not start yesterday, this weekend, or even three or four years ago. It’s been in the works for a lot longer than that. Using a logic/reasoning that the Republicans abandoned long ago, and the Democrats only ridicule these days, it appears to be straightforward: America has turned her back on G_d. We can point our fingers at Roe vs. Wade, or the removal of prayer from our schools, yet these are merely symptoms of the sinful disease of secular humanism that branched out across our country in the aftermath of World War II. We no longer need G_d—we have our intellect, our technology, and our enlightened reasoning—plus we have our government, by George, and don’t you dare forget it!
Meanwhile the dark spiral continues ever downward with each day that passes… unabated.
I guess I’ll apologize for my bleak mood this morning, but I can’t help thinking that somewhere in the epochs of time, those Old Testament prophets are pointing their fingers at our un-masked indifference. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget G_d.”
Yeah. That’s all we got. We’ve pretty much chosen to own that verse these days. Our eyes are glazed over and we apparently no longer know where or even who we are anymore.
This is where I should cue the patriotic music and talk about the glimmer of hope that yet remains and cite an uplifting example or two. But the means justifies the end in our case. What we really need as a nation is a leader to take charge and solve all of our problems, thus putting us back on the correct paths of old. You know, the ones we used to follow and our nation was originally founded upon. There is a leader out there, and His time is close at hand, but in the meantime all of the signs point to us reaching out to the wrong leader, one who will be a mere caricature of the True Savior, and who is at this moment probably as well as prophetically ready to make his appearance on the world stage.
As Christians we need to be faithful. We need to be wise. But most of all, we need to be ready... it may just be that our redemption is drawing nigh!
Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Matthew 24:44-46