In my last post, I mentioned that I was a political junky. I also mentioned that I am that way because I see this country coming apart at the seams and I believe we are at a moment in history when our choices as a nation will make or break the “Great American Experiment”. Having a full life (family, job, church, partying, whatever…) is NOT an excuse to forgo once’s civic duty to stay informed about the state of the nation. Let’s be real here…Many of us vote each year (at least I hope so…hold it…maybe I hope you don’t…) but I wonder how many of you give any real thought to WHY you vote for the people you vote for. It seems like a valid question. It’s a question I have asked myself before and it has completely changed my perspective. So, why do you vote for the people you vote for?
- Is it one particular issue, like their stance on abortion or taxes.
- Is it because of something you may have heard on CNN, Fox News, or Comedy Central (God help us all!).
- Is it because of something someone told you?
- Is it because your family has always voted that way and you just follow tradition?
- Is is because you are affiliated with a certain party and just vote that way?
Well, I have to tell you that if these are your reasons for voting, then you have some work to do my friends. No matter what you might think, the above reasons ARE NOT good reasons to vote for someone. I am not saying they cannot influence your choices a bit, but they should not be the PRIMARY reason you vote for anyone. In reality, the primary reasons you vote for someone should always be CHARACTER and PRINCIPLES. So what does this mean? It means that we should be electing people that share the character and principles that we have as individuals. You have to know what makes you “you” and then you’ll know what kind of person you should vote for.
The Founding Fathers gave us a gift in the way our country’s government was established (I believe it was Divinely inspired). The idea of “self-government” was a radically new concept when they created it and today it is still a radical concept around the world. I plan to develop this idea in future posts but suffice it to say that America was, and is, unique among all the countries that have come before it and all the countries in existent today. Americans are no better than anyone else, but for 150 years or so, we were unique in our idea that we, as a free people can govern ourselves, without the need for anyone person or group telling is what to think or say or do. I’ll delve into this idea in another post but it’s important to know that the principles that are inherent in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are the principles that created America, sustained America for 150 years and will return America to what it was always meant to be: The last, best place for freedom on planet Earth (a paraphrase of Reagan).
I truly believe most Americans still feel the founding principles (Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness) should be our guiding principles but we have become distracted by our lives. We have forgotten what the Founders gave us, what so many fought and died to create and protect over this countries history. We have forgotten a fundamental idea that stems from these principles: WE are in charge. We have forgotten that we ELECT (i.e. choose) the very people that run our local, state, and federal governments. We, the people, give these people their jobs and with that, our trust that they will do what’s best for us by defending life, liberty and our pursuit of happiness. That being said, how many of us really know anything about the people we are hiring? How many of us take the time to look into, as best we can, the people we are putting in charge of making decisions for US? Think of it another way; Would you hire someone like the person(s) you vote for to work for you or work with you at you job or in your business?
I think the fundamental problem we have in America is we have forgotten our civic duty. We have forgotten that we need to properly vet the people we elect to public office. We need to invest time in checking these people out as best we can. More importantly, we MUST hold them accountable when they act inappropriately by voting them out. If they break the law, we must demand that they be held criminally accountable. If they lie they must go, if they cheat they must go. There is no character in most of the people we elect to public office any more. There is no virtue or moral compass. Let me state it another way…would you be willing to let your son or daughter date any of the people you vote for? Would you choose them as friends based on their character or behavior? You see, we elect people that we know very little about, put them in charge of our money, our safety and our laws, then get confused and upset when things go wrong. Shame on US for not paying attention.
So what’s the point? I think we need to redefine the political landscape of this country. We need to stop looking at things in terms of party or issues and start looking at things from a different approach. We need to start looking at things in terms of virtue and morality. We need to start looking at things from the view of the very people that built this country and gave us the unique system of government we have. We need to really take a look at the people we elect to see if they are worth our trust. Because that’s what it is about, TRUST. Many of them are telling us we need a radical change in the way this country works. Many say that tradition does not matter, the Founders are old and out-dated and those old ideas are no longer useful in a modern world. I completely disagree. Have you ever asked yourself why? Have you ever even stopped to wonder what they are telling you? Ask yourself if you find tradition in your family useless? Do you find every “old idea” you’ve every encounter out-dated and irrelevant? Should we really pervert or throw out the founding principles. Who are these people that are telling us this and why?
I know this is a lot of questions. However, I am trying to make the point that in order to turn things around in this country, we ALL have to stop taking everything we hear, see, read and start doing our homework. We need to rekindle our civic duty which is this: We need to start paying attention to who we elect, what their motives are, why are we electing them in the first place, and are they worthy of the role we have given them. If not they need to go.
Rest assured, there is much more to come on what I have started here, so stay tuned. Your homework…figure out why you voted for who you do and determine if they deserved your vote…
Until next time,