WORST ELECTION CHOICES EVER?
By any measure, Tuesday’s Presidential election is the most “interesting” of my lifetime. It is with great difficulty that you can find anyone at any point in our vast political spectrum who is truly happy with the Presidential choices we have been given.
A quick Web search today revealed the following headlines:
“This is the Worst Presidential Campaign in Modern History”
“2016’s Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad, No-Good Presidential Election”
“Top 12 Reasons This Is the Most Depressing Election Ever”
“America is Doomed.”
In his 50 years of voting in US elections, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput has said he has never seen the two major parties offer “two such deeply flawed”presidential nominees “at the same
Of perhaps evening more frightening implications is this: When I clicked on “15 reasons Why America is Great” my Google search came back with this reply:
“THIS SITE CAN’T BE REACHED.”
OPTIMISM FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR GREAT COUNTRY
Well- I am not ready to say that America has lost its Greatness. In fact, the purpose of this writing is to express my optimism for the future. I am, by nature, an optimist. And despite what appears to be what my friend and political commentator Kirk Jowers calls “The Impossible Choice,” America is going to be OK . . . at least for the foreseeable future.
NOTE: America is better than its politicians- We should not let America be defined by its political leaders.
All of this talk of crisis and impending doom for the United States, are, in my mind, highly premature. Yes – the drama of this election is the stuff that makes great ratings for TV and drives revenues for the networks but all is not bad. Our Constitution remains intact.
OUR SACRED CONSTITUTION
The Constitution of the United States has served as a model for the nations of the earth and and is the longest-standing constitution in use today. For all of the doomsaying and predictors of mass despair, one of the reasons for America’s greatness is that very document. I still believe that DESPITE WHOEVER WINS TUESDAY’S ELECTION, this inspired document will ensure America’s continued greatness for the foreseeable future.
A core tenet of my Mormon faith is that our almighty creator “established the Constitution of this land by the hands of wise men whom” God “raised up unto this very purpose.”
Let me outline 3 core concepts of our Constitution that give me hope despite the “Impossible Choice” which we face. There are certain fundamental principles delineated in this document that will protect our Citizenry from the undesirable actions of any Individual including our current slate of Presidential candidates.
First – the Constitution was founded upon the basic premise of Popular Sovereignty – meaning Rule by the People. In other words, the government only has limited power and can only be exercised with the ‘the consent of the governed.’ The ultimate authority for the way in which our government is run is vested in the people. By Constitutional fiat, those who have been delegated the right of governance must operate as Trustees of such power and can only exercise it in conformity with the general will of the people.
The Constitution was framed to protect our life, our liberties and our properties regardless of the actions of clever politicians. It is important to understand that these 3 gifts from God came before any man-made governments. As one writer put it:
“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws” to protect them in the first place.
The Second fundamental principle of our Constitutional design is the Separation of Powers-
It is the important allocation of responsibilities among our institutions of government i.e. – that the Congress would pass laws, the President would execute them, and the Supreme Court would interpret them in individual cases.
Further, the tasks of the Government are given to different institutions so that these institutions can check each other’s work. This system works so that no one segment of the government makes all the decisions and no one institution can destroy the entire system. Thus, when one segment of the Government acts in a way that is not in the public good, our Constitutional construct ensures that a system of checks and balances remains.
The third and final principle that I will mention here is the important tenet of Federalism. When the framers drafted the United States Constitution, they purposely didn’t give the federal government much power over the states. That’s because the framers wanted the states to continue governing most matters themselves.
Federalism is a division of power between the federal government and the individual state governments. Each government entity has responsibilities over the matters that are best addressed at that level of government.
Federalism is established through the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. This clause states that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Additionally, the 10th Amendment contained in the Bill of Rights provides that that all powers not specifically granted to the federal government are reserved to the states.
Thus, these 3 overarching principles of the United States Constitution guarantees that We the People will have our individual rights protected, outlines how the government will be limited in size and in scope, and provides that the functioning of our Government will be segmented between the individual States and a Federal government.
In the end, I believe that the Constitution was envisioned and crafted by inspired men to withstand the test of time and protect the individual liberties to all people living in these United States as long as the people would support its moral and just purposes.
A WARNING VOICE- DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN
The thing that is most frustrating to me is that the result of this election is not about the best of us being sent to our nation’s capital but rather some of the worst of us “representing” us there.
It was once said that if America’s system of freedom “is to be preserved, it will not be by government leaders but by an awakened people who are willing to sacrifice their personal ease to be informed,and who will insist that their leaders abide by the sound principles of the Constitution as drafted and intended by the Framers.
We should be about electing the best and brightest of our people to lead this country.
Ronald Reagan added:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
My big takeaway from this the “most interesting election of my lifetime” is this: America is going to be all right . . . for now. The Constitution will ensure that. But our challenge in the future is to find the best and brightest people to lead our democracy.
I believe that when the mantle of the U.S. Presidency is placed on any of the current candidates, that they will step up and surprise all of us with their commitment and ability. Despite the Trump and Clinton failures and missteps of the past, they are redeemable. But we should not be satisfied with the current state of affairs!
IN THE FUTURE, WE MUST ELECT HONEST, WISE AND GOOD LEADERS
It is a fundamental tenet of my LDS faith that we must do all in our power to elect officials who are “honest, wise, and good.” (Doctrine and Covenants Section 98).
We should also consider running for office ourselves and support laws that observe the “principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges (of the Constitution) which belong to all mankind.”
I might note that this bold declaration came while the LDS Church was in the midst of some of the heaviest religious persecution this nation has ever witnessed. Did you realize that the Governor of Missouri in the 1830’s actually issued an extermination order for all of the Mormons living in that state?
Millions have died including members of all faiths to preserve and defend our Constitutional form of government. In light of their sacrifices and to preserve our marvelous way of life for future generations, let us not in Four years be satisfied with electing mediocre and flawed leaders. Let us commit now to finding great people to lead us- not because they want power but because they want to serve and make a positive difference.
Thus, my plea with all within view of this writing is to somehow, someway create an environment that encourages the best and brightest people we know to run for Political office.
That’s where the real reform needs to take place. Let’s start today – November November 8, 2016, to find great leaders for our future elections and ensure that our Constitutionally ensured rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are preserved forever.
By David Bradford