That Man From Michigan

During the past few weeks much talk and discussion has taken place in the national press concerning suitable candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in the election campaign of 1948.  The Republicans are in urgent need of a man who is acceptable to the majority of the voters and who has a good record to serve as basis for an electoral campaign.

The political strategy committee of the Republican party has apparently decided to give a lot of support to Sen. Arthur H. VandenBerg, who, in Washington circles, is commonly mentioned as “that man from Michigan”.  The Republicans are implementing their choice by conducting a big press campaign to acquaint the American public with the virtues and merits of Sen. VandenBerg.  Nationally accepted magazines such as Time, the Saturday Evening Post and others have featured extensive articles telling us about his background, personality, principles and his political record.

There is some biographical data in these press reports which is of interest to us because he, as his name implies, comes from the same Dutch ancestry as do most of our readers.  He therefore can be expected to have a generally conservative, phlegmatic personality, a trait so common in our own circles.  As is well known, he spent almost all of his early years in Grand Rapids and was subjected to the same environment as many of our readers and it is possible that at some time or other he was a neighbor of some of our older folks because he resided in the Dutch-settled southeast section of that city.

Concerning his religious background, we meet with disappointment for, although he has a family tradition of membership in the Reformed Church, particularly that branch of the Reformed Church which has its roots in the Dutch settlements of New York, we find nothing in his principles and position that can be called distinctively Reformed.  In that respect he has failed to distinguish himself.

The political record of Senator VandenBerg reveals a man who is an astute politician.  For years he was a rock-ribbed isolationist advocating “Nationalism—not ‘Internationalism’—as the indispensable bulwark of American independence”; with Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts he fought against the League of Nations and until the fateful day of Pearl Harbor, he led the fight on the maintenance of the Neutrality Act.  During the course of the war he did a complete about-face on matters pertaining to international policy.  Whether this was due to his political acumen whereby he discerned the current trend of the voter’s ideas, we do not profess to know, but it is plainly evident that his political situation has benefited enormously.

Whether or not you or I should support Sen. VandenBerg politically is, of course, a matter that is your personal choice.  I only wish to point out that he is not the indispensable man of the hour as some politicians would have us believe.  The spiritual Christian distinguishes himself from the worldling by the fact that he does not put his trust in men to solve the problems and crisis which abound in this modern world.  We who champion the Reformed faith recognize that the safety and wellbeing of the church of God in this world is not dependent upon the caprice of political leaders, but upon the never failing supply of the grace of God to His own.