So I ran across The 5000 Year Leap, subtitled A Miracle That Changed the World: Principles of Freedom 101, at a book sale. Here, in one volume, is an accessible volume on the principles that went into writing the U.S. Constitution. The chapter I opened today reads:
3rd Principle: The Most Promising Method of Securing a Virtuous and Morally Stable People is to Elect Virtuous Leaders
Isn’t that a novel idea?
Perhaps this is the perfect book to be reading in a major election year. Nevertheless, I am constantly amazed at how many people overlook, reason away or ignore dishonesty in politicians. No one is perfect, but we’ve had elected officials with long histories of deceit. Do we hold ourselves, our friends and our colleagues to such low standards? No, of course not. Nor do we avoid consequences as politicians so often do, even when they break the law.
Then we find ourselves complaining about the state of the government, but didn’t we put our stamp of approval on it by exempting them from the standards of all other citizens?
Over two-hundred years ago, the founders of the U.S. warned of letting our elected leaders do as they please. Samuel Adams said it best:
But neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.
So far this election season has revealed that millions are fed up with the parties and special interests that manipulate the system, all so they can cling to power, with little real regard to the people. People are starting to see through the scheme politicians run in turning people against each other along lines of politics, race, religion and other demographics.
Will everyone else decide to tell the politicians who is really in charge? Or, as the years continue to speed by, will we look back with regret that we let a few take the helm and steer us all into the iceberg?
We could become another Rome, another Titanic, or continue to be “A Miracle That Changed the World.” That is our choice.