Well, our brief national nightmare appears to be over, as the most recent U.S. government shutdown has come to a close. A compromise has been reached in Washington, yet the roots of disagreement appear to be unmoved.
This most recent crisis only underlines the greater reality that we are divided, not only in Washington, but as a country on whole. We are at a crossroads, just as Ancient Rome was in the first century before the birth of Christ.
According to the late, great historian, J. Rufus Fears, “In 60 B.C., a crisis of almost unprecedented proportion had been reached (in Rome) over the lack of a budget and the national debt.” The Roman Republic, which had fallen from its glory days of a virtuous and patriotic citizenry, was troubled by other similar problems, including elections that were decided only by campaign contributions, an immigration crisis and wars in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, the Roman people of the time seemed to care more about Gladiator games than civic virtue and were unwilling to carry the awesome responsibility of self-government. By the year 59 B.C. the Roman Republic, which was divided into two major political parties much like our own, turned to the eventual dictatorship of Julius Caesar.
A national crisis, however, does not necessarily need to destroy a republic and create a dictator. In fact, American history shows the contrary. Our own Founders, in 1786, faced a debt crisis of epic proportions and emerged from it all the stronger. What separated those leaders, ones like George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, from today comes down to one ingredient: Patriotism.
Let’s pray for wisdom for our current leaders and that God would rise up more patriots like George Washington.