Robert McDonnell and The Blood Sport of Politics

Bob McDonnell, Maureen McDonnell

 Bob McDonnell, Maureen McDonnell

I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
1 Corinthians 9:26-27, KJV

Politics is a blood sport.  That politics is a “blood sport” is nothing new and is no new news.  But the news of a former right wing, conservative, “family values” politician throwing his own wife of 38 years under the bus to save his own neck is.  His legal defense in his corruption trial is that his wife is to blame for receiving the gifts and garb and the goodies given to them. The sad part is that in this “sport” we seem to have reached a new record low and set a new all-time high for sinister and satanic ways to win.

Sports is a give-it-all-you’ve got, last man standing, winner take all endeavor that we love and enjoy.  But when it becomes gory and gruesome, brutal and bloody, we shake our heads, turn our heads, and scratch our heads in wonder of how far and how low one will go just to get a “W.” Such is the case in the 2014 corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell.

Politics to some is “sport.” It’s the hunt they enjoy.  It’s the kill that is the thrill. The modern idiom we use to describe this blood sport is to “play politics.”  To play politics means “to engage in political intrigue, take advantage of a political situation or issue, resort to partisan politics, and to exploit a political system or political relationships.”  To play politics means “to deal with people in an opportunistic, manipulative, or devious way, as for job advancement.”  After Watergate and Iran Contra-Gate and all of the other political scandals we’ve seen over the years, this sounds all too familiar.  Surely, Machiavelli was right: “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Playing politics is not like playing patty-cake or shooting marbles.  When you are dealing with people’s lives, and the life of those closest to you, namely the life of your wife whom you know and presumably love, that’s something else altogether.

Lest we become overly disparaging, we must remember that what has happened to Governor McDonnell could happen to any one of us.  Just ask the apple of God’s eye.

David was, among many things, a politician.  He got in over his head, went too far with Bathsheba and stopped to short by not acknowledging his sin, and the rest is, well, history.  The political scandal that McDonnell is embroiled in is nothing new. He is simply repeating the repertoire of unrighteous rigors that we all can and seem to find ourselves in.

Sports are supposed to be clean and fun and pure and natural. But there’s nothing pure or clean or fun about the McDonnell mess. And it’s only “natural” because we are all born in sin and shaped in iniquity. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. And His name is Jesus.

So let’s learn some lessons here. What McDonnell did was not for the public good, nor for the greater good; it was all for his own good and now it’s all about saving his own neck.  Instead of coming clean and repenting, he’s blaming his wife for his transgressions, and painting her and putting her in a terrible light.

And one more lesson needs to be learned: let’s not judge; let’s forgive, but let’s not forget the high price and the soaring cost of playing dirty and living loosely and the ill effect it has on us and on the “game.”

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