Stop Slogan-Voting. Stop Hate-Voting. Stop Being Manipulated. Part 7. Democracy = We Are Responsible

Democracy is not a lazy person’s form of government.

If your idea of good citizenship is watching the dissolution of our society from the sidelines like an insomniac staring at a late-night movie, you need to move to a dictatorship. Democracy is too much work for you.

“The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” Contrary to popular attribution, neither Thomas Jefferson nor Patrick Henry said this first. The truth appears to be less glamorous.

John Philpot Curran first said, “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and punishment of his guilt.”

Personally, I like Curran’s original wording better. It’s not as pithy as the more popular version. It won’t fit as well in a speech or the lead of a news story, but it says what needs saying.

Liberty is our natural state under God. If you doubt this, all you have to do is consider the extreme and absolute freedom He bestows on each of us. God does not force us to follow Him. In His own words, He sets before us life and death; right and wrong. But he lets us chose. He allows us to live our lives exactly as we decide to live them, even if that means committing grievous sin and turning our backs on Him.

Liberty is our natural state under God. But we live in a devil-besotted world that is stained and weakened by original sin. Thus, liberty, which comes from God, comes also with the requirement that we must guard it well or we will lose it.

No one wants to be a slave, but it seems that there are a lot of people who want to own slaves. Curran rightly says that if we stop tending our liberties, we will lose them and we will end in servitude.

In our generation we acknowledge that members of our military pay with their life’s blood for our freedom. What we don’t acknowledge is that the real threat to our freedom is not military invasion. No foreign power I know of is hankering to land on our shores with troops and armaments, and as Lincoln said, “by force take a drink from the Ohio River.”

This generation’s challenges to liberty come from our two political parties, our own government, our corporations and from our lazy refusal to fight for the democracy which is our inheritance. It feels good to blame the propagandists on our televisions, the amoral political parties and the equally amoral corporations who own them. Disrespecting politicians is an American birthright, a natural outgrowth of freedom of religion and speech. If we ever see the day when we can not make fun of our elected officials, we are doomed. But, worthless as they are, puppet people politicians are not ultimately to blame for this mess.

We may have, as Will Rogers said, the best government that money can buy, but the ones wearing the biggest price tag on them are not the politicians. The many millions that are lavished on political campaigns in this country are spent for one purpose: To buy us. By the time the campaigning starts, the puppet people politicians are already bought. They’ve been recruited, programmed and polished to a marketable level. Now they’re set before us for our inspection like new cars on a lot.

As I said earlier, the object of all this sloganeering, hate-campaigning, and propaganda is the manipulation of us, of we the people. Or, to put it more bluntly, the object of all this expenditure of capital and slime is our vote.

The one thing that those who want to control our government for their own ends fear is an informed and aroused citizenry. That’s why they spend huge amounts of money to feed us a steady diet of propaganda and lies. We have brains. We’ve got to think something with them. So, they spend enormous sums to fill our otherwise very good minds with half-truths and lies.

We are the products of an educational system that no longer teaches young people our American story. We’ve been taught to take multiple choice tests and not a lot else. Our educational system produces wave after wave of people who’ve never read an original source. We have large numbers of people with higher-level degrees whose entire education is the product of the digested and massaged bits and scraps of thought found in incredibly over-priced textbooks.

We have actually been taught to take other people’s pre-digested opinions about great thinkers as the works of the thinkers themselves. And we don’t have to understand these thoughts. All we have to do is exercise the totally-useless-in-life skill of getting a high score on a multiple choice test.

This is our educational system from early childhood through university level. It is nothing more than a trade school, or what we used to call vocational-technical education, on steroids.

That makes us prey for the propagandists and manipulators who want to confuse us into believing whatever sheep dip they’re dumping on us. Coming as we do from churches who preach politics rather than Christ, who sometimes preach politics as Christ, we are shorn of the moral underpinnings that would keep us from jumping headlong into abusive language, vicious slander and hate-voting.

We are, in short, easy pickings.

We can blame the manipulators, both secular and clerical, for misusing their enormous talents to do such harm. They are certainly responsible for what they do.

But ultimately, no matter how much money is spent manipulating us, it’s up to us whether or not we will allow ourselves to be manipulated.

We are Americans. We are a free people. That makes us responsible. We are responsible for what we chose to believe, how we chose to behave and whether or not we value our liberty enough to do the work and exercise the vigilance to keep it.

Liberty is our God-given right. The God of all the universe, the creator of creation from bottom to top, set us free from our beginning. He gave us such absolute freedom that we can accept or reject Him. We can do anything we want. We can create or destroy, think or blindly follow, live free or become slaves.

The equation is, again, a simple one:

Democracy = We Are Responsible

Tomorrow is Election Day and We Have Already Won

Tomorrow is election day. 

Let me say that again. Tomorrow is election day.

We’ve said that our freedom to vote is bought with blood so many times that it’s become a cliche. What we haven’t said is that this simple act of voting is also power. There’s a reason why all these candidates have been driving us crazy with ads, polls and debates for the past year.

We have the power. We can pick who we want to lead this great country. We get to choose.

We don’t have to explain, justify, or even reveal our choices when we vote. It is our power and we can use it however we wish.

Tomorrow is election day.

We have before us a choice between two men for president, a number of people who want to serve in the United States Senate, several governors, many state legislators, sheriffs, county commissioners, judges, court clerks, and, of course, the entire United States House of Representatives. Pretty much the entirety of American electoral power is in our hands.

Our vote will determine the future of America for at least the next two years. It will also shape what happens in much of the rest of the world. We are voting for ourselves, for our children and for people who have not been born yet. We are also honoring the men and women who fought in the Revolution, gave their lives at Gettysburg, died on Omaha Beach and whose lives have been wasted by corrupt politicians in the unnecessary skirmish wars we the people should not have allowed. We are the culmination of those who crossed the prairies, climbed the mountains and who, all too often, ended in unmarked graves along the way.

America is my home and I love her with all my heart.

I am part of We the People. The American People. Tomorrow, the fate of our country is in our hands. This great experiment in republican democracy has churned through more than two tumultuous centuries. It has changed the world, revamped the universal understanding of government and the value of human beings in the process. Even America’s critics judge us by American standards.

These standards have their foundation in the words of a poor carpenter and miracle-worker who lived in a tiny corner of a great empire a long time ago. He taught us that we matter. He took the concept of what it means to be human and lifted it out of the pagan mire of the human-sacrificing, enslaving, individuals-don’t-matter muck that was the ancient world and set it on a hilltop of aspiration and hope. “Even the hairs of your head are numbered,” He said. You matter. You. You. Your own individual self, matters to the God who made everything there is, everywhere.

That is the philosophical foundation on which the concept of human rights that grew up in the Western world is based. It is why the concept itself is a Western concept. Because it came from Christ. Because it is part of the Kingdom that is both here and coming when His will shall be done on Earth as it is in heaven.

America is a grand experiment in self-government by millions of people who vote and then, no matter how they vote, accept the outcome of the election. Tomorrow, we will elect a lot of people to office. At least in the presidential election, it is certain that about half the people of this great land will be unhappy and dismayed by the outcome. But the power to decide is ours. The responsibility to accept the outcome and, if necessary, begin again in our work for what we believe, is also ours.

Go Vote tomorrow.

But remember: The Ultimate Victory will never go to the R or the D. The Ultimate Victory was achieved by that poor carpenter on Calvary. Christians, all 2 billion of us, are the living embodiment of that Victory. Our eternal lives, of which these times are the beginning, is the reality of it.

We are not the R or the D. We are Christians. No matter the election tomorrow. We have already won.


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