It is obvious people today are looking for a change; at
least from the last seven years, but more likely from the last couple of decades. A couple of facts supporting this
assertion. First, 60% – 75% believe we
are on the wrong track; figures that have remained in this range since 2013. Second, this year’s presidential race has largely
been driven by outsiders – anti-establishment candidates – in both parties. Third, polls show that there is considerable
anger with the political establishment, especially on the right. So much so that the word betrayal is at times
used to voice what people are feeling.
The issues we face are serious, but I for one have been
appalled by the personal attacks and the carnival atmosphere of this year’s
election. This is not necessarily the
fault of the candidates, nor the media.
They are only providing what we the public are demanding. It often looks and sounds more like a Roman
spectacle rather than a serious exchange of ideas to address our problems. Both parties and the networks should be
embarrassed by many of the debates; I know that I am. The town halls have been somewhat better as
there has been a grownup exchange between the voters and the candidates rather
than the reality television type of school yard antics expressed in the debates.
The sentiment on one side is the federal government needs
broken up. I agree, it has become too
large and too powerful, and as a result has forgotten its place and no longer
serves its people. But breaking it up is
only a first step. Like going to war
with Iraq you may accomplish the first part (winning a military war), but you
won’t truly win unless you know what to do next. One approach would simply be to go home after
the job is done, but unlike Iraq, that approach won’t work in addressing our
We shouldn’t destroy what we have when breaking it up, but
rather we need an exterminator to clean out a rat’s nest, getting rid of the
bad and restoring the good. A restoration
could include an Article V convention of states to both restore the balance of
power within the federal government, and between that federal government and
the states and people it is sworn to serve.
Justice Scalia was an advocate of such a convention when government did
not fulfill its purpose. The current imbalance
has come about through the duplicity of those sent to govern and our benign
neglect. But for us to make meaningful
change, we first need to remember who we are supposed to be.
All government power is derived from us – the people. It assumes that we are a single people, with
only one set of mutually agreed upon rights and a shared commitment to the
common good. If those exist, we then
need core beliefs that are grounded in both morality and virtue. Otherwise, the common good will not be met,
nor will our agreed upon rights be recognized.
All we need to do is examine the government’s failed war on poverty to
see what happens when we relinquish one of our
responsibilities, yes ours, to government.
Truth and unity bring strength, growth, and prosperity to a
people. Deceit and divisiveness bring
weakness, turmoil, and uncertainty. It
is our choices as individuals
and collectively as a people that are reflected in the political leaders we
select. Those leaders generally do not take
us in a direction we do not wish to go, instead they are selected because most
people agree their idea, plan, or direction.
In that respect they do not lead us, but follow from us.
So what are some first principles that reflect who we are
supposed to be?
First, we have a Creator, and He has blessed us with certain
gifts – what we sometimes call rights.
It doesn’t matter whether you believe in Him or not, because you are
still His creation and He still loves you.
If you don’t believe that, get over it unless you can explain your
existence, knowledge, and morality without Him – but you cannot as no one ever
has. Among the gifts He has given to us
Nothing has ever been created that our Creator did not create.
· The freedom to make our own choices, which is
essential to our purpose. That purpose
is to become good – as He is good – to become like Him to the extent we are
able. We’ve all been given different
gifts, and all achieve that purpose differently, despite sharing the same
· The pursuit of happiness. This phrase means different things to
different people. According to Augustine
and Thomas Aquinas, happiness can only be found in something directing us toward
our Creator, and that is exactly what religious freedom is all about. However, some refer to the pursuit of
happiness as simply related to property or physical possessions. That can lead to a kind of happiness, I
guess, but one inferior to what our purpose provides.
· We all share in an equality of nature, but there
is never any certainty related to one’s outcome. This is an extension of the freedom noted
above, and a recognition of the common ancestry that we all share. As we all share an equal nature, we are all
due equal treatment under the law. That
is the essence of justice. No one gets
extra rights or privileges, and no one has any less. And along with those rights come
obligations. Obligations in the way we
use them, the actions we take, and when we choose not to exercise them.
Men are not angels, so government exists to serve its
people. Its primary purpose is to
protect our Creator instilled rights.
This revolves around human justice and rests on what we can observe; divine
justice is not ours to give, but belongs to our Creator alone as only He is
able to read another’s heart. Justice is
a moral virtue. Giving someone what they
are due. These go along with the virtues
of charity and mercy that are the giving to someone something that they are not
due – resulting in another virtue, forgiveness.
Granted there are also areas related to settling differences between
states and our country and others, but these should also stem from the same
concept of justice.
There is a relationship between charity, virtue, and our
purpose. All charity begins as an act of
faith, is voluntary, and ends in performing an action out of love for another
human being – a virtuous act out of love for both our Creator and one of his
creation, a fellow man. We are to give
out of our abundance, it is no one else’s responsibility. While we can abdicate that responsibility, we
cannot be relieved of it – it remains with us as charity directs us toward our
Creator. Ever wonder why performing an
act of charity makes you feel good? It
is because you are fulfilling your purpose.
This year’s choice is the most important in a generation. Today we have over $19 trillion in debt and
over $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, compared to only $3 and $4 trillion
respectively in 1989. Our Creator given
gifts are being replaced by an increasingly larger more powerful
government. The result is a greater tax
burden, more regulation, and fewer opportunities. We also face a darker more dangerous
world. How will we address these? Our present course is failing on both fronts.
I’ll close with a tweet Donald Trump issued yesterday, “It
is better to live for one year as a lion, than a 1,000 years as a sheep.” This quote comes from Benito Mussolini, a 20th
century fascist, but more importantly is it an indication of where we are headed? When you forget where you came from, you no
longer know where you should go. But the
choice is always ours to
make, and we can choose to change.