Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse warned against false idols, political tribalism and an addiction to “24/7 news cycles” during a speech in Iowa tonight.
“Friends, there is no politician who’s going to save America,” Sasse said. “Friends, there is no election that’s going to transform your life to become so much better than it is right now and into all you want it to be.”
Sasse was the featured speaker at a fundraiser in Des Moines for The Family Leader, a Christian conservative organization. Sasse told the crowd elections can make the country “worse” or “incrementally better,” but Sasse suggested it was “almost a little bit un-American” to organize your life around two- and four-year election cycles.
“America is made up of a people who think in decades and in centuries, not in terms of political addiction and political consumption and short-term-election ways of thinking about the world,” Sasse said.
Sasse was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014. He has raised the hackles of Iowa Republican Party leaders and a formal reprimand from Nebraska Republicans for his critiques of President Trump. Sasse, never said Trump’s name during his remarks, described himself as a “temporary public official affiliated with the Republican Party” who is “a Christian first.”
“To be a good Christian, you’re obligated to be on guard against political idolatry ’cause politics isn’t the center of any our lives,” Sasse said. “Politics isn’t the pathway by which the kingdom comes and, oh by the way, it isn’t just as a Christian that you have this calling. It’s as an American that you have this calling.”
State Representative Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison, was impressed.
“It was absolutely amazing,” Holt said. “I’d never heard him speak before and I thought he did a fantastic job and a lot to think about.”
Norman Rozendaal of Monroe said he was “honored” to be in the room.
“I have never heard anybody as articulate as that man, off the cuff, saying exactly what has to be said in our American culture,” Rozendaal said. “I would give him A+++.”
Sasse told reporters after his speech that the country’s two major political parties have become — in his words — “crappy…brands” that have devolved into political tribes.
“Lots and lots of people differ on policy debates, they just don’t think policy defines the line between good and evil,” Sasse said. “…You can’t fix what’s broken in American politics with more politics.”
Bob Vander Plaats, the president of the group that hosted Sasse tonight, started the evening by telling the crowd cultural change won’t be accomplished at the ballot box.
“For too long, the church was hijacked for political gain. The church was hijacked to get this candidate to win. The church was hijacked so this party could win,” Vander Plaats said. “Ladies and gentlemen, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is much bigger than any candidate and much bigger than any political party and it should not be reduced to such.”
The crowd of 550 applauded.
AUDIO: Sen. Sasse’s speech [50 min.]
By O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa News Director & Learfield News National Political Editor