“I don’t believe that.”
Okay. Thus far, the United States is a free country; you’re able to decide what you believe. While I may not agree with your choice, I served the country you and I both live in to assure your right to make it.
That’s one of the treasures our Founders built into what it means to be an American: we are each free to believe and worship – or not – in whatever way we choose, subject to our shared responsibilities and accountability as American citizens.
There are undeniable ties to the Judeo-Christian ethic in the way our representative republic was configured. There is ample reference to God in our formal founding documents, and in the correspondence between those who wrote them. In and through that knowledge of His Divinity, Providence and Sovereignty they recognized the wisdom of protecting us all from any who would attempt to coerce our adherence to any form of national dogma, be it spiritual, social, legal or political in nature.
We each choose what set of values we’ll personally espouse, the code by which we each decide to live out our lives. I’m good with that.
Do not confuse that equanimity with my willingness to put up with harsh labels bordering on libel, demanding that everyone else must bend to the petulance of a coddled few wanting their own way at the expense of denying everyone else’s freedoms – not the least of which is the innate freedom to be left entirely alone.
The way this is supposed to work is that you and I both decide how we wish to order our lives and live them out in community. Where we hold truths to be self-evident, we celebrate our collegial relationship as friends, coworkers and co-citizens. Where we differ, we act as adults and simply record that data with the understanding that our personal preferences diverge at that point. Neither of us forces the issue and destroys enduring friendships and shared benefits over minor points of likes and dislikes.
Yeah. We live and allow to live, never demanding the others be forced to adhere to any one person’s choices. That won’t happen in a free society, nor should it. No one has the right to coerce obedience and rigid conformity regarding how to live and believe and worship–up to and including a President usurping authority not his, and a jaded, amorally corrupt Congress willing to let him.
Political philosopher and author Niccolo Machiavelli pointed it out in the 16th century: “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.” Well played, Niccolo. When there is a revolving door regarding one’s appointed ‘leaders’ due to a litany of embarrassing and disqualifying legal troubles we, the people, have no choice but to call into question the one doing the appointing.
I know federal jurists are seldom easy reading. Take the time to absorb this:
No greater mistake can be made than to think that our institutions are fixed or may not be changed for the worse. … Increasing prosperity tends to breed indifference and to corrupt moral soundness. Glaring inequalities in condition create discontent and strain the democratic relation. The vicious are the willing, and the ignorant are unconscious instruments of political artifice. Selfishness and demagoguery take advantage of liberty. The selfish hand constantly seeks to control government, and every increase of governmental power, even to meet just needs, furnishes opportunity for abuse and stimulates the effort to bend it to improper uses. … The peril of this nation is not in any foreign foe! We, the people, are its power, its peril, and its hope! –Charles Evans Hughes, jurist and statesman (11 Apr 1862-1948)
Consider the horrific lawlessness that seems to have appeared out of nowhere over the past few years like springtime thundertowers suddenly form overhead. “Glaring inequalities in condition create discontent and strain the democratic relation. The vicious are the willing, and the ignorant are unconscious instruments of political artifice. Selfishness and demagoguery take advantage of liberty. The selfish hand constantly seeks to control government . . .”
Think about it, friend. Who benefits from all the violent clashing and killing if not those safely hidden several layers back, orchestrating events and manipulating media cycles to create situations which draw attention away from what’s actually being done – and why?
No matter who holds temporary and perceived ‘power’, I believe all power ultimately derives from our Creator. I believe that eventually He’s going to expect a strict, itemized, perfect accounting for how it’s been abused.
© D. Dean Boone, May 2016