Bearing witness is an essential component of being a citizen, whether a citizen of a religious society or a citizen of a country or a nation. Every aspect of life relies upon either the testimony of others or the testimony of our own observations and experiences.
It’s that time of year again, Election Season, time when everyone seems to lose their minds. Vote for me, I’ll keep the world safe with war – war on drugs, war on the climate, war against anything or anyone you don’t like. No, No, vote for me and I’ll make sure you have anything you want; we’ll just print more money and tax anyone who have more than you until no one has more than anyone else, a true utopian society. But wait, wait, wait, vote for me and I will set you free – get out of jail free (no matter what your crime), free from accountability when you run amok in the streets rioting and looting, free of all those people with pesky opinions you don’t like, we’ll lock them up instead! Honesty and Integrity become a rarity, Propaganda overtakes reason and fills the airwaves instead of hard facts and accurate reporting. Calgon, take me away!
(Cut away from the chaos of the modern world to my quiet office overlooking the woods somewhere in rural Alaska…)
There is one thing that brings peace to an election troubled mind – – knowledge that is a better way, if we just open our minds to the idea that virtue and principles matter in America’s Constitutional Republic. John Adams, second president of these united States of America, said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” He has a lot to say on the matter. You can read more of his quotes here.
What is morality? In Noah Webster’s 1812 American Dictionary of the English Language, morality is defined thus, “The doctrine or system of moral duties, or the duties of men in their social character; ethics.” Ethics is defined as, “The doctrines of morality or social manners; the science of moral philosophy, which teaches men their duty and the reasons of it.” Finally, religious can be defined in many ways, but in applying it to America’s constitutional republic, I believe it means “Exact; strict; such as religion requires” in upholding the moral and ethical foundations of that republic. One of the basic moral foundation stones is the concept of Rights and Duties.
Rights and Duties
For a few years, I was blessed to teach the basics of the Constitution to elementary school-age children during the annual Constitution Week, as required by education laws in Washington State. One of the most important interactions occurred when I had three or four children come up and hold some signs with the name of a “Right” on one side and the corresponding “Duty” on the other. Most of the children clearly understood about Rights, as children do – “I have the right to my room”, “I have the right to my toys”, “I have the right to eat”, etc., but Duties are harder — “I have the duty to keep my room clean, “I have the duty to take care of my toys”, I have the duty to help prepare meals or to wash the dishes.” In regard to the Constitution, we would talk about the Right to a Jury Trial, for example, and the subsequent Duty to Serve as a Juror. If you expect a good, intelligent jury to judge a case you might be involved in, then you have the Duty to be such a juror for someone else. Or perhaps, you want the Right to worship God according to your own conscience, then you have the Duty to allow others the same privilege. And so on . . .
The Right to Vote is no different. It also has an attached Duty.
Voting is a Sacred Duty
As Americans who are used to a lot of free speech and complaining about this or that all the time, we tend to forget that free speech and the ability to actually have a voice in our republic are blessings which most of humanity throughout history has not had the privilege of experiencing. Indeed, many peoples in the world today do not have that privilege. It is a Duty that we, as Citizens of the American Constitutional Republic should exercise wisely.
Most politics these days is gamesmanship, seeing who can win or lose at all costs, telling whatever lies and deceptions are necessary to win over the “enemy”. It is all about the game and very little about what is moral or ethical. The lie is perpetuated that the government will give you this right or that right, or this benefit or that benefit, without considering any facts or any consequences. Fear and hatred of the opposition becomes the motivating factor and the spiral downward to lesser and lesser moral and ethical choices has let us to the chaotic, warlike rhetoric and behavior seen in the current Election Season. It’s time for a real change. It’s time to return to a sense of Duty based upon principle rather than personality. It’s time to learn that voting is really a Sacred Duty to ourselves, and our posterity for generations to come.
Voting is a form of “Bearing Witness” and a “Testimony”
Because I feel I have a Sacred Duty to vote, I feel I must do my due diligence to make sure that the candidate in question meets the moral and ethical standard required to serve his or her constituents in the American Constitutional Republic. You will probably have your own dream list for a candidate, but here are some of the things I look for:
- Do they understand the concept of a constitutional republic and are they committed to it? Do they understand the Law of Sovereign Liberty and are willing to defend it?
- Do they have a record of keeping oaths and covenants, that is, have they shown integrity in their business and personal life? No legal entanglements or history of criminal behavior? Keeping their marriage vows? Have they served in the military or volunteered to serve others, either personally or in an organization?
- Are their core principles in line with the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights? Are their core principles in line with their state constitution?
- Have they shown fiscal responsibility in their personal life? Are their proposals for change fiscally responsible?
- Do they believe that people are first self-governing, and that the state and federal governments support the people in their efforts to provide for themselves rather that regulate him or her out of business with overbearing rules and policies?
- Do they believe that the proper role of government is to protect rights and that government has no power to either bestow rights or prevent the free exercise of rights unless those rights are used to harm others or to commit a crime?
- Recognizing that no one is perfect, does the candidate show an ability to learn from mistakes and move forward once an error is pointed out?
- Does the candidate have experience with organizational or business budgeting and financial decisions? Do they know how to be fiscally responsible?
- Do they care about serving the people in their district or do they only care about serving themselves and their future ambitions?
Once these questions are answered, I am ready to fill in the circles on my ballot. When I do, I am bearing my witness that the candidate I have chosen meets most of my criteria and that I feel confident they will do their best to serve wisely. I am also testifying to my children and grandchildren that I have lived up to my Duty as a Citizen to delegate a limited portion of the sovereign authority invested in by virtue of my birth on this planet, trusting that that candidate, when elected, will work to preserve and maintain their future liberty, as well. If not, I will work to remove them from office at the next election or by a call for his or her resignation, showing just cause for doing so.
Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide
As I child, my first understanding of following my conscience came from the song sung by the character of Jiminy Cricket in Disney’s animated classic “Pinocchio”. The Blue Fairy give the wooden puppet Pinocchio a conscience and Jiminy Cricket is always there to remind him to do so.
Ranked Choice Voting is not a conscientious option for me. In my mind, the best possible choice is still the best possible choice. Diluting the best possible by spreading votes over lesser qualified candidates will only result in a continuation of the downward spiral, and the dumbing down of the American Constitutional Republic. All candidates are not equal in terms of their qualifications or commitment to protect the Rights of the People against the government they wish to be a part of. Nevertheless, I believe God gave us the freedom to choose in the Garden of Eden. What each of us may choose to do with that choice is ultimately between He and Me or He and Thee.
What Do I Do if No Candidate Meets My Criteria
In the event that my conscience will not allow me to vote for any candidate listed, I choose to write in the name of some one I do trust, or I write “none of the above”, or I simply leave it blank.
John Adams also said, “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.”
May you be blessed with a clear mind as you make your own decisions this year and always let your conscience be your guide.