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August 14, 2016

Statue of Molossian mastiff (so called “Jennings Dog” or “Dog of Alcibiades”), Author Marie-Lan Nguyen, Source British Museum (Accession No. GR 2001.10-10.1), (CC BY 2.5 Generic)

“Blood and destruction shall be so in use And dreadful objects so familiar That mothers shall but smile when they behold Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war… And Caesar’s spirit… Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war…”

–        Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (1601)

The Roman military used Molossian mastiffs much as the US military uses German shepherds today.  With time, the phrase “dogs of war” became a synonym for soldiers.  The term “havoc” originated as an order during the Middle Ages.  It was an instruction to sack and burn.

This presidential campaign has let loose the dogs of war.

Until recently, political animus was considered on the fringes of acceptable behavior.  However, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have together set forces in motion that are not likely to be easily corralled.

Neither respects the truth; neither respects the law.  As a result, causes, characters, and practices previously frowned on have come out of the shadows.

Despicable Causes and Characters

White nationalists have formed a PAC on behalf of Trump, and initiated robocalls.

Former KKK leader, David Duke, and Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin have openly praised the Republican candidate.  Trump has, in turn, praised Saddam Hussein and quoted Benito Mussolini.

Disgraced former congressman, Mark Foley, who sexually propositioned underage pages, attended a Trump rally.  The father of the Orlando shooter attended a Clinton rally.

Deplorable Practices

Hyperbole is the rule.  According to Trump, Pres. Barack Obama is the “founder” of ISIS, with Hillary Clinton the “co-founder”.  According to Clinton, Trump’s rhetoric is making him the “recruiting sergeant” for ISIS.  These may or may not have been sarcastic remarks.  Believe whatever you like.

Racial, ethnic, class, and religious warfare are seen as political tools.  Mexicans are rapists or so they say.  Muslim immigrants must be banned for our safety; a Muslim registry should be established.  A Muslim Gold Star family that presumes to take issue with this can be sharply criticized.

The integrity of the judiciary and electoral process have been called into question.  A judge of Mexican heritage, we are informed, cannot be objective.  The election will be “rigged” (no specifics necessary).

Violence threatens at political rallies.  Trump supporters chant “Lock her up” (something we fear may turn to “Hang her high”).  Anti-Trump protesters trash property, and brawl in the streets.

And assassination has been directly or indirectly encouraged.  We are told that “Second Amendment people” may be the only ones able to stop Hillary Clinton from taking away their weapons, and destroying the Constitution in the process.  This may or may not have been a bad joke.


The twin scandals of Benghazi and Clinton’s emails hang in the air like a foul odor.  The Clinton Foundation scandal looms.  Some of us even remember Whitewater.

We are not any more likely to see the text of those very expensive speeches Hillary Clinton gave Wall Street, than we are to see Donald Trump’s tax returns.  The chances of either candidate bringing Wall Street to heel are precisely nil.

The fraud claims against Trump University are a fitting, if pitiable, footnote.

Vacillating Policy Positions

Meanwhile, policy positions are taken and repudiated at will:

Either there will or will not be a wall.

Either Clinton will serve out Pres. Obama’s “third term” or she will – after more than 30 years in politics – become the “change” candidate capable of restoring functionality to Washington, DC [1].

Take your pick.

Good Government

This is an imperfect world.  Our civil and religious leaders will always have feet of clay.  We must, however, demand more of them than the cynical attitude and unprincipled conduct reflected here.

Good government requires the active participation of godly men and women – both as elected officials and electorate.  And it requires respect for those whose opinions (and party affiliation) differ from our own.

When Jesus was queried about whether it was lawful for the Jews to pay taxes to Rome, He asked to see a coin.

So they brought Him a denarius.  And He said to them, ‘Whose image and inscription is this?’   They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s’.  And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’ ” (Matt. 22: 19-21).

Lord Jesus, we are greatly troubled for our nation.  Year after year, our people have become more polarized.  Over and over, they have turned from You, relying on their own devices.  Now the nation seems about to tear, itself, in two.

Help us set a better course, Lord.  Draw hearts once again to You.  Or, if that is not to be, then help us to trust that You will direct our footsteps, just as you direct the destiny of nations.

We ask this in Your Holy Name.


[1]  Whether Clinton favors or opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (an agreement she once described as the “gold standard”) seems to depend on the number of Bernie Sanders supporters in the room at any given time.


  1. Jesus said we are to render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar but too many people seem to overlook the fact that one thing that belongs to him is the prayers of Christians.

    First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
    (1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV)

    I have often neglected to do this in the past and I suspect other Christians have too. This is probably the reason for the mess we are in today. Christians should vote for good candidates (if we can find any) but it is even more important that we pray for all who are in office, whether they are good or not.

  2. Excellent article Anna. I don’t think we need a particular type of leader, but certainly we need men and women that are guided by principles instead of being guided by open warfare. I don’t like either candidate – but I have to say Trump is completely unacceptable, the worst I have ever seen.

    • Thank you, Nicodemas. Though I am no fan of Clinton’s, I view Trump as unbalanced. Either way, I fear we will get the leader we deserve.

  3. tabitha59reachingout permalink

    I live in Canada and I am very concerned for our nation as well. I watch with dismay at the proceedings in the States too. We must pray regularly, passionately and specifically for our countries. Thanks for another meaningful post, Anna. 🙂

  4. I don’t know how to vote–am overwhelmed by confusion and discouragement; and sickened by every word the media offers on the spoiled and reeking banquet table of candidates. God help us all, lest we perish.

    • When the Jews were taken captive to Babylon, they felt hopeless. “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sad down and wept, when we remembered Zion” (Ps. 137: 1). Some 600 years later — when the Romans sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and enslaved the Jews — the future again looked very dark. But God preserved those who loved Him. In fact, the Jewish diaspora spread the word of God throughout the world. God is still at work. Do not lose heart. We may not know His purposes, but He will never abandon us.

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