Ranked Choice Voting and the Constitutionist

A great experiment is taking place in Alaska this election season. Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is being promoted as giving a greater voice to all political perspectives. All votes will count, they tell us, but the actual outcome will be no different than the traditional non-ranked voting. Principle will succumb to expediency, and the same fear that the enemy is going to win will determine the outcome.

Winston Churchill said, “You may take the most gallant sailor, the most intrepid airman or the most audacious soldier, put them at a table together – what do you get? The sum of their fears.” 

Elections in America are the same. Two party voters often make choices based on the sum of all their fears:  Republicans fear Democrats taking power, Democrats fear Republicans taking power. Each person self “ranks” his or her own choice in primary election by who they think has the best change of defeating “the enemy,” even if the candidate chosen does not share the same principles as the voter.

Alternative party or independent voters, tend to choose candidates based on principle, in spite of the fact that their chances of winning are greatly diminished by the Fear Factor of the two-party voters.

What is Ranked Choice Voting?

In traditional voting, the voter selects one candidate in each category and whichever candidate get the most votes is then elected to serve a particular office.

Ranked Choice Voting in Alaska provides primaries in which the top four vote getters move on to the general election. The voter ranks the candidates first, second, third, or fourth out of an unknown number of certified candidates. On the first round of voting, if no single candidate has achieved 50% plus one number of votes, then the least vote-getting candidate is eliminated and his or her votes go to the third choice of the individual voter. This creates the second round.  The process continues with the lowest vote getter being eliminated and re-distributed until one candidate eventually achieves a majority.  The hope is that this candidate will have been selected in such a way that will unify the majority of the electorate, as well as opening the door for segments of the population who often feel dis-enfranchised by the current system to feel that they had a voice in the election.

For the Constitutionist voter, however, RCV continues to subdue their voice because it does nothing to correct the unconstitutional two-party election system currently operating in America, nor the mindset of the average voter who has been conditioned to believe that this is how it has always been and will always be.

The Constitutionist Ranked Choice Voting System

Voters, like myself, who support a return to the original intent of the Constitution of the united States of America, have their own version of RCV.  We rank each individual candidate by the principles they espouse rather than party affiliation before we even get to the ballot box.

  1. Is the candidate legally qualified by federal and state law to hold the office in question?
  2. Does the candidate seem to know and understand the principles and guidelines found in the federal Constitution and in their respective state Constitution?
  3. Does the candidate appear to have integrity and honor in his or her personal and professional life?
  4. Does the candidate seem to have the knowledge of how governmental organizations operate? (Robert’s Rules of Order, the legislative process, etc.)
  5. Does the candidate understand that the Constitution restricts and limits the actions of lawmakers to specifically defined powers?
  6. Does the candidate understand that the Constitution protects the rights of the people, who hold all natural rights within their persons, and that the Constitution does not bestow rights because it does not have the power to create rights?
  7. Is the candidate committed to his or her oath of office, that is, to support the Constitution, and are they willing to be held accountable to that oath by their constituents?
  8. Is the candidate willing to defend the Constitutionally protected rights of his or her constituents against encroachment by other elected officers or through the legislative and regulatory processes?

Once these boxes in the Constitutionist’s personal Ranked Choice Voting test is done, then we can look at more specific issues for further refinement of our choice.  Each Constitutionist decides which items are of more importance to his or her conscience and ranks accordingly. The Constitutionist sees his or her vote as a sacred duty and stewardship to preserve liberty for future generations.

Finally, the Constitutionist will choose only the candidates who meet the criteria above. If that is only one per election, then one it is, for it is the principle that matters in the long term. Sometimes the Constitutionist might have to select “None of the Above”, if that is an option, or not cast a vote for any of the candidates. Voting for the lesser of two, or three, or four candidates, will only net the voter lesser candidates, not greater.

Tips

Whatever method you choose to vote or to rank the candidates, don’t forget to check out the official write in candidates, as you may find a great candidate among them.

Voting your conscience will not only help you sleep better knowing you made the best choice you could, it will also lift you up out of the political street battles which rage on social media and television news programs.  You will be able to see the issues more clearly and see what the best solutions might be, when your sight is no longer blurred by the fog of political rhetoric.

Do your homework.  Researching candidates and issues has never been easier in the history of the world.  Take advantage of it.

Support your chosen candidate with a nice note or a contribution. Running for office is difficult and can be expensive.

Finally, remember Fear is not a Factor when Faith and Commitment prevail.


This Constitutionist’s Pre-Ranked Vote Choices for the 2022 Alaska Primaries:

U.S. Representative: Chris Bye, write-in (www.itstimealaska.com)

U.S. Senator: Karl Speights (https://karlspeights4alaskaussenate.com/)

Alaska State Senate, District N: Scott Clayton (https://www.claytonforaksenate.com/)

Alaska State Representative, District 27: David Eastman (https://davideastman.org/)

RING OUT WILD BELLS:  A Message For Our Day

 

Every first Sunday in January our church sings the hymn, “Ring Out Wild Bells”.  Its music is haunting, but the lyrics have always seemed strange to me, and as I discovered, we only sing three stanzas of the original poem.  I’ve often wondered what it means.  Recently, while researching the idea of Father Time and New Year celebrations in general, I came across the full lyrics of this poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Pondering his words, I found a deeper understanding, which seems eerily applicable to our world today.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (a Baron), lived from 1809 – 1892 in England.  He was poet laureate of the United Kingdom for most of Queen Victoria’s reign.  He is famous for several works, including “Charge of the Light Brigade”, “The Lady of Shalot”, and “In Memoriam”.   “Ring Out Wild Bells” is a section of “In Memoriam” which Tennyson wrote following the death of his close friend, Arthur Hallam.  Hallam was also engaged to Tennyson’s sister and died unexpectedly when he was 23 years old.  If you want to know more, a good biography of Tennyson can be found at internetpoem.com.

Wild Bells

In Britain, the ringing of church bells for special occasions has been a tradition since the early Christian priests rang a handbell to call the faithful to meetings, about 450 a.d.   Over time, bells became “tuned” and compositions written for bell ringers.  Wild bells (with no particular pattern) would be rung in times of danger or joy. 

According to Wikipedia: “It is an accepted English custom to ring English Full circle bells to ring out the old year and ring in the new year over midnight on New Year’s Eve. Sometimes the bells are rung half-muffled for the death of the old year, then the muffles are removed to ring without muffling to mark the birth of the new year.”

Father Time

I searched high and low for a good, comprehensive article about the concept of Father Time.  The best documented article can be found at Wikipedia, and I highly recommend it if you’d like to know more. 

Father Time seems to be an ancient symbol of Time, reaching back to the Greek male god of Chronos, or possibly a more ancient persona.  Tennyson’s use of the pronoun “he” when referring to the old year (“let him die”) reflects this connection.

Time is also a symbol of Truth.  Quote from the article: “Time (in his allegorical form) is often depicted revealing or unveiling the allegorical Truth, sometimes at the expense of a personification of Falsehood, Fraud, or Envy. This theme is related to the idea of veritas filia temporis (Time is the father of Truth).”

“Ring Out, Wild Bells”

In this poem, Tennyson touches upon obvious truths and offers solutions.  See if you can identify them for yourselves as you read each stanza below.  Listen to this beautiful rendition of the full song by the Croft Family.  The poem is so popular in Sweden that each year people gather to listen to readings of it as part of their New Year’s celebrations.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

My Personal Impressions

The first two stanzas seem to be about letting go of the past and freeing yourself to more fully experience the future.  Always good advice, and may reflect the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions, as well.

In the third stanza, Tennyson advises us to overcome our grief for those who have passed on, and to stop arguing over who is rich and who is poor.  His solution: seek redress for everyone who is grieving, rich or poor for grief is universal.  Redress means to set right or remedy a situation.  We have seen countless examples of grieving in 2021 and also countless acts of mercy by those attempting to ease the grief or pain of others, a timeless principle of compassionate outreach.  Jesus Christ said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40).

The fourth stanza appears to address political issues, something we have also had our fair share of in 2021.  I am weary of America’s corrupt political system.  We need to return to the higher road of moral political virtue in all areas of life.  Using the definitions found in the 1802 Webster’s Dictionary, both the Framers of America’s constitutional republic and Tennyson would have defined “moral” and “virtue” thus: Moral is “Relating to the practice, manners or conduct of men as social beings in relation to each other, and with reference to right and wrong. The word moral is applicable to actions that are good or evil, virtuous or vicious, and has reference to the law of God as the standard by which their character is to be determined. The word however may be applied to actions which affect only, or primarily and principally, a person’s own happiness;” and, Virtue is “Moral goodness; the practice of moral duties and the abstaining from vice, or a conformity of life and conversation to the moral law. In this sense, virtue may be, and in many instances must be, distinguished from religion”.  Yes, a return to moral and virtuous behavior in political life will lead to “purer laws”.   2022 is an election year.  Being moral and virtuous in our personal lives, and choosing moral and virtuous leaders, is the only path towards the restoration of a simpler, wiser, more peaceful America.

Tennyson mourns the lack of compassion humans show towards one another in the fifth stanza.  Daily news headlines in our time reflect this tendency, but there is hope.  Occasionally a story appears of how one individual saw a danger or a need and took action to help someone in distress.  The poet is asking us to shake off the negativity of the time and embrace the spirit of living life to its fulness, in spite of our trials and woes.  The role of a minstrel in ancient times was to uplift his audience with inspiring epic poetry and songs to liven the heart.  Psalm 100 says it best: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.  Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations”.

The sixth stanza seems to also be right out of the headlines, as Tennyson berates false nationalism and racial arrogance.  Instead, he asks us to seek the common ground of humanity based upon high principles of truth, justice, and compassion.  As Christ said, when asked what is the greatest commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets’” (Matthew 22: 37-40).  It is not your nationality or ethnicity which matter, it is how you treat one another within the bounds of moral and civil law, which has its root in the morality and virtue of the individual.

Wars and rumors of wars, global pandemic, and materialism are the subjects of the seventh stanza, -.  We seem to be a reactionary people, always rushing to put out this fire or that fire, with no real, logically thought out, principled plan of action.  We have forgotten what our common principles are.  Tennyson seeks for the peace of a thousand years, a millennial peace looked forward to by prophets both ancient and modern, but that peace must be based upon truth.  Mankind must understand self-governance in order to govern communities and nations.  Joseph Smith stated it best when asked why there was no crime in Nauvoo, the city built by the Latter-day Saints in Illinois.  He said, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.”

In A Nutshell: The Eighth Stanza

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

The New Year of 2022 is open to all possibilities, good and bad.  Ultimately, it is how we govern our own lives that will matter most.  To be valiant and free, to show compassion to those we may encounter, these are the basic principles that will “ring out the darkness” and ring in the Light of Christ.  Then we may experience the thousand years of peace, which Tennyson longed for in his lifetime.

A conversation between Frodo and Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings seems appropriate here. “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.  “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”  

What will you do with the time and circumstances that are given to you?

Happy New Year, One and All!  It’s going to be a great adventure!  

Is This Not How LIBERTY is Lost?

Crises come and Crises go, it is a law of Nature, as History shows.  Will we do this every time we face a crisis from now on?

With the passage of the $2 Trillion Corona Virus Relief Stimulus legislation, Congress is basically using the tax money paid in by the American People for many generations as collateral for giving the people back a portion of their own money (taken from them by the force of government) while driving the nation deeper and deeper into debt for the sake of very temporary security and safety.  Crises come and Crises go, it is a law of Nature, as History shows.  Will we do this every time we face a crisis from now on?

It is like parents taking out credit cards in their children’s names and charging them to the full extent of their credit, printing monopoly money on their home printer and using that to pay the debt with the understanding that the children and their grandchildren, and then their grandchildren, will earn enough to pay it all, given enough time and income.  Buy now and future generations will pay later.  I call that fraud, theft, and a reverse Ponzi scheme.  Congress calls it business as usual.

I  personally think we should hold China accountable for their withholding of vital information about the virus by withholding interest payment on all the US Treasury Bonds and other financial instruments China may hold, confiscating all their assets on United States soil, sell those assets, and use that money as a direct payment of the debt we are racking up.  If China retaliates by flooding the market with US bonds, then We the People sell our shares in Chinese companies, buy those bonds and invest in our own country.

If we don’t find a way to reduce our debt and stop printing fiat money that has no gold or silver reserves to back it up, we are in for far more trouble than we face with this current crisis.

I must ask you… is this not how LIBERTY is lost?

Do What is Right, Let the Consequence Follow

4399655f9862fe2e7bf227af7c43a87eThe battle for liberty and freedom is a constant struggle against the forces of tyranny and coercion. The Grand Yin/Yang of the universe. It permeates everything in our lives. We push forward towards understanding and promoting liberty, and tyranny pushes back. All we can do in our limited lifetime is seek to understand the truth of all things, take a stand, be immovable, and face the consequences of our actions, good or bad.  The cumulative actions of all of us, acting individually, swings the pendulum towards one pole or another at any given time in history.  What direction are you pushing?

Do What is Right, Let the Consequence Follow

It has become my custom to sing a hymn each morning to start my day. Not only to I get to learn the music but I also get to learn the lyrics, and ponder them. Last week it was an old hymn called, “Do What is Right”.

One morning the thought occurred to me that the song seemed to be talking about slavery and I wondered if it had been written during the time of the American Civil War. Looking at the bottom of the music, I noticed that it had been included in a collection of hymns called The Psalms of Life, published in Boston in 1857. This sparked an interest and the hunt was on.

I found a really great blogsite called Latter-Day Saint Hymnology. The author presents a wonderful history of the hymn. He says, “Recent scholarship, however, indicates the text was first published on October 17, 1850, in The National Era, an abolitionist newspaper published at Washington, D.C.” A review of the footnotes shows that The National Era is “the newspaper in which Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin debuted in serial form in 1851, before it was published as a book.” Uncle Tom’s Cabin is one of my favorite books.

As I pondered the lyrics in a new light, it seemed to me that they apply to us today as well as to a specific time in American history. They apply to our spiritual struggle for an inner liberty, as well as our political struggles in society at large.

Do what is right; the day-dawn is breaking,
Hailing a future of freedom and light.
Angels above us are silent notes taking
Of ev’ry action; then do what is right.

[Don’t we often feel we are on the cusp of something but can’t quite reach it? On as side note, as a child the concept of angels keeping track of my actions was both frightening and unrealistic. However, with today’s surveillance state, the reality of imperfect humans keeping track of my every action is far scarier.]

Do what is right; the shackles are falling.
Chains of the bondsmen no longer are bright;
Lightened by hope, soon they’ll cease to be galling.                                                             Truth goeth onward; then do what is right.

[There are many types of shackles – physical chains, addictions, debt, some of the philosophies of Mankind, etc. As we seek Truth and put that truth into action in our lives, we experience more and more freedom, which blesses not only ourselves but others, as we become free to give to those in need, helping them move to remove their shackles.]

Do what is right, be faithful and fearless.
Onward, press onward, the goal is in sight.
Eyes that are wet now ere long will be tearless.
Blessings await you in doing what’s right.

[During the seven years I served as National Communications Director for the Constitution Party, I would often get emails or phone calls from people thanking us for taking a constitutional stance on this issue, or that issue, and not backing down. They felt that there is light at the end of the dark political tunnel. It made them feel that there is hope for America’s future.]

Do what is right, let the consequence follow.
Battle for freedom in spirit and might;
And with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow.
God will protect you; then do what is right.

Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1995-2008), wrote a book entitled, “Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes” In it he said, “It is not enough just to be good. We must be good for something. We must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for our presence. And the good that is in us must be spread to others. This is the measure of our civility.”

My challenge to you is to find your truth, stand for it, and let the consequences follow, whatever they may be.

Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”  Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Karen Signature