A family member, who would like to remain anonymous, recently got the flu. Her head and throat ached, she was badly congested, and her cough was horrific. She asked me to get her some cough drops among the other medications she needed to relieve her distress.
I virtually cleaned out the local CVS store, trying to find anything that might help, and I didn’t forget the cough drops. After researching the ingredients on the labels of several different brands, I found the highest-potency cough drops I could find.
When I returned with my bag of over-the-counter remedies, she was grateful for my efforts. But the cough drops weren’t the kind she had really wanted. Luden’s Wild Cherry Cough Drops were the ones she had in mind.
Of course, I was quite familiar with Luden’s Cough Drops. As a kid, they were my first choice whenever I got a cold or sore throat. And they tasted so good that I sometimes bought them simply as candy.
So I returned to CVS to buy the specified cough drops, and I noticed that their name has changed over the years. They’re no longer even called “cough drops,” but Luden’s now refers to them as “Great Tasting THROAT Drops.” Instead of ingredients to kill germs or open nasal passages, the only active ingredient in this classic product is pectin, the same component used to thicken jams and jellies. And, of course, the “great tasting” part comes from being mostly comprised of sugar and corn syrup.
My encounter with Luden’s Throat Drops is a great picture of why America’s fiscal and moral problems seem to never improve. You see, our tendency is to choose Luden’s Throat Drops—something that tastes good for a moment—over any kind of real cures. And we’re terribly prone to select national and local leaders who will give us candy instead of substantive solutions.
When our nation’s problems don’t get better, we express surprise that the Luden’s Throat Drops didn’t work. It turned out that they weren’t truly medicine at all. But at least they tasted good.
How bad will our national “flu” have to become before we’re ready for true solutions, no matter how unpleasant they may be? When will we cry out to God in national repentance and desperation, asking Him to apply the healing balm of the Gospel instead of the candy-coated solutions of the politicians?