We’re all familiar with this year’s election issues. They include: the economy, jobs, taxes, the
regulatory burden (all internal), and national security, the terrorism threat,
border integrity, and rebuilding our military (all external). While all these, and more, are valid issues;
there is something more fundamental at stake that supports all the above. The principles which underlie these issues.
I started thinking about this as we took a trip back home a
couple of weeks ago. We crossed most of
Ohio and northern Indiana. These are
areas that have done much better than most during the recent recession. However, we were stung by the number of empty
storefronts, the number of restaurants at peak meal times without a single car
in their parking lot, and the number of businesses closed altogether on the
weekend in the small towns we passed through.
We frequently hear about how good this recovery is, but that is hard to
square with the reality we saw on our trip.
(An earlier article regarding some fundamentals behind this recovery can
be read here.)
Of course if you live in the DC bubble, or Northern Virginia, I suppose things appear
to look great. Four of the five wealthiest
counties in the country are located around DC (Three in VA and one in MD). This
relative affluence too is an inequality that is hard to square up when
government is supposed to possess a service orientation.
This election offers two very distinct visions for the
future. Visions that not only effect the
direction we take, but the principles used to guide that direction. One alternative offers more of the same policies
that we’ve seen over the last twenty four years. Yes, twenty four years - and more. The other offers a small step toward
restoration, and away from the hopelessness generated by the present
administration’s transformation. This article looks at three important
principles that will likely be impacted by this election.
Equality Under the Law
First, will we have equality under the law? No carve-outs or exceptions to laws that are
made, nor laws made specifically benefiting individual groups, and laws being
applied equally to all. Creating groups
promotes division, jealousy, envy, and strife.
Why? Because it treats people differently. It incents us to turn toward
man for answers instead of our Creator, and in turn limits fulfilling our
purpose. To see the truth in this we need
look no further than the divisions existing among us today. Divisions that are growing, exacerbated by
the current administration’s actions and policies. It is sad to see.
It doesn’t matter whether the ideology is one of
fascism/nationalism as in the early 20th century, communism/socialism as in the
last half of the 20th century, or the progressivism/Islamism we face
today. They all come from the same root,
that people exist to serve their
government and control is exerted by creating division, which in turn generates
On the other hand being a single people, focused on our
Creator first, should promote unity, morality, charity, and self-sacrifice.
This founding principle is one critical to the long-term success of any
people. Why? Because we are led to something greater than
ourselves, and each one of us is recognized as having the same nature. We are
all equal in this respect. This approach also leads to independence. Does
this mean we are perfect at achieving it.
Of course not, but what matters is we are trying to head in the right
direction. Does this mean only
Christians can achieve this. Also
certainly not. It is the underlying
philosophy that matters. Whether you
believe or not, your Creator is always right beside you. However, I do think it will be somewhat
easier for believers as it is more likely they will be focused on their Creator
first, instead of man.
Government’s primary purpose under this principle is to administer
justice, as the government exists to
serve its people. Notice that
government only steps in when one person fails to recognize, or acts against,
another person’s rights to begin with. The
people are the primary source of justice, which can only happen if they have a
moral basis as both individuals and a people.
The Separation of
Church and State
The second item is the separation of church and state, but
not in the manner the media and pundits generally talk about today. Whatever separation was originally intended
was meant to protect the church from state corruption and influence—the
very opposite of what we usually hear and see today—but what our Founders observed
first-hand. While the church was to be
protected from the state, the church was to have an indirect influence on the
state through the morality it instilled in the people (see above). Religion is not to be integrated into the
state, but the principles underlying religion are to be a part of our society’s
foundations, and our Founders selected the principles found within
Judeo-Christian tenets for that moral basis.
Will the church remain separate from the state, or become subservient to
The third item is related to the previous one, will
religious liberty be protected? As noted
above, all forms of collectivism (communism, fascism, progressivism, etc.)
place their focus on man. Under any of
these ideologies, the belief in a Creator must be removed, or greatly limited,
as references to any after-life are considered a threat to the state’s
authority. Man’s arrogance in placing
himself above his Creator. The one
exception to this is Islam. Islam is not
just an ideology, but an ideology with a religious facet. Within this Ideology the state’s sole purpose
is to ensure that Islam’s requirements are carried out. A perfect melding of state and church into a
single entity. It, and the other collective
ideologies just mentioned, are all incompatible with and contrary to our founding
Our Founders chose Judeo-Christian principles and these
center on loving God and loving one’s fellow man. This is framed by their belief in Creator
given rights that included life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness which
all have their basis in love. Life is
existence, and life’s sole source is our Creator. Liberty is the gift from our Creator to make
our own decisions and be free from political tyranny. It is inherent in the gift of free will
necessary to fulfill our purpose. The
pursuit of happiness is the opportunity to know Him, which is why we were given
His image during our creation. I know
some will say this last item refers to material things, but it is clear from
the early church fathers that genuine happiness only occurs when we first have
a relationship with our Creator. Only then
do we become good stewards of the material and spiritual blessings we each receive.
Rights and Responsibilities
All citizens not only have the right to vote, they have a
duty to do so. All rights carry with
them responsibilities. One cannot focus
on one part and ignore the other without getting off track. This is one reason we’ve arrived at the place
we are today. We’ve focused on our rights and not accepted our responsibilities. This is taking the
easy path, that of allowing government to attempt carrying out things that are
our responsibility - and for which we will ultimately be held accountable. Government is a poor steward. Look at the mess we have today; a weak
economy, a significantly greater gap in wealth distribution, and unsustainable
amounts of debt. All created by its incompetence, and prolonged and worsened by
I believe principles do matter, just consider the revelations
occurring over the last several months.
The Clinton emails, the subsequent investigation, the planned
undermining of the Catholic and Evangelical churches, and the recent sexual
abuse charges against Donald Trump. This
is evidence of a society that is either losing or has lost its guiding
principles. We have two very flawed
candidates at the top of both tickets, but very clear and contrary platforms
that lay out each party’s agenda. This
video outlines the major
differences in less than three minutes, and is worth a look. I hope that you will vote, but also
understand what it is you are voting for.
That too is a part of your responsibility.