In 2006 Al Gore gave us "The Inconvenient Truth," his film on what he saw as the environmental disaster. The "inconvenient truth" in 2016 is the moral disaster that there seems no presidential candidate you would trust with your daughter, your son, or your wallet.
Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, respectively, want us to hand over the nation to them.
The campaign itself has been a red-light district. Lately a porn star says Trump tried to lure her with money. More Bill Clinton past romps seem to be alleged daily if not hourly. Then there are suggestions about Hillary Clinton's lifestyle choices, and the possibility of trysts between the Clinton Foundation, Wall Street, sheikhs and anyone else who might add to the Clinton bounty.
The "inconvenient truth" about this election is that Christians with a passion for holiness have no candidate. Neither do other religious people and even secularists desiring a high moral tone in their national leader.
Many in the electorate are weary of people running for office who suddenly discover God and piety. It's amazing how individuals whose lives have shown little godliness suddenly come up with what Christians call a "testimony." For Christians, a "testimony" is supposed to be about how Jesus Christ is transforming their lives, and how the Holy Spirit stirs recognition of the need to turn away from sin and to Jesus' purity.
Most believers want to give the benefit of the doubt to those who say they have found God. The discerning, however, can see through the sham.
Jesus said it best: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them." (Matthew 7:15-20 NKVJ)
"Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones," goes an old saying. Since I worked in the "glass house" that was once the Nixon abode one might wonder what right I have to fret about political morality. But that experience is among the reasons for my concern.
After leaving Washington in 1973 I wrote "The White House Mystique," a little book about what it was like being a junior aide there. My perspective got clearer through time and distance, and I could see reality without what I called the "White House warp." I confessed my shame at being beguiled by the distortions. From the more accurate view, I lamented, among other things, that Nixon could preside over worship services in the East Room on Sunday and speak vileness in the Oval Office on Monday, as recorded on the Watergate tapes.
George Reedy penned a book after serving in the Johnson White House. In The Twilight of the Presidency, Reedy said that the White House "provides camouflage for all that is petty and nasty in human beings, and enables a clown or a knave to pose as Galahad and be treated with deference."
It's dizzying to speculate how the Oval Office might affect those grand poseurs Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Political morality ought to be a concern also because of the way a national leader both reflects and influences the people who put him or her into office. Henry Fairlie was writing about the morally challenged John F. Kennedy when he said, in The Kennedy Promise, that a president "is believed to represent the people" in "the most remarkable of ways, involving psychic waves, psychological projections, even the statistical proofs of scientoid professors who feel themselves immune from vulgar obsessions ..."
God gives weary Moses a blank ballot to choose leaders to relieve him from carrying the nation's burdens alone. Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, told him to select those "who fear God," are "of truth," and "who hate dishonest gain." (Exodus 18:21)
In the current election, the "inconvenient truth" seems to be that there is no presidential candidate meeting those qualifications.
However, there is a person on the ballot who does appear to at least approach the "Jethro standards" — Mike Pence. Thomas Kaine, Hillary Clinton's running mate, is likely a moral man, but his left-progressivism seems to have a greater influence on him than his Catholicism. Kaine's strong socialism, and past support for Marxist politicians in Latin America, as well as his current alignment with Hillary Clinton on abortion and sexual issues, disqualify him in the eyes of many evangelical and Catholic voters, as well as other moral conservatives.
"When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules, people groan," says Proverbs 29:2.
There might be much "groaning" under a Trump or Clinton presidency, but the prospects of Pence as vice president could give some cause for "rejoicing."
May his tribe increase. May Christians and others concerned about the restoration of high moral values never again have to face "the inconvenient truth" slamming us in this election.