(’76 Contributor) The other day a Facebook friend posed the following question: “Do you think we can turn this country around just by voting?” My short answer was: Not a chance.
Not that voting and political participation are not important duties, but in our nation of free elections, we did not get where we are by those elected, but rather by those who elected the elected. There was no mystery, or at least no reason for mystery, about Barack Obama in 2008, and certainly not in 2012, yet Americans elected him to the most powerful office on earth.
And why in the world do Americans have such a low opinion of those we freely elect, whether the president or congress, state legislatures, governors, etc.? Clearly the job approval poll numbers are so low for many who are elected that there have to be millions upon millions of Americans that voted for the very people they disapprove. Isn’t this like going week after week to a restaurant where you can’t stand the food?
The problem is the worldview that our culture is embracing. It is a culture that says we all can have our own truth. And so there are no lies, just different perspectives of what is truth. In such a world there will never be real liberty. Liberty must be based on something greater than what a person wishes were true. It must be greater than an open door to that which offers merely personal and immediate gratification.
It was no accident that American liberty was conceived and birthed in a culture that largely embraced the teachings of the Bible. As founder after founder stated, you cannot have self-government apart from a people with a strong internal law. They were not talking about a random internal law that seems right to each person, but rather an internal embracement of the laws of nature and nature’s God – the God of the Bible.
The America that held God as supreme has been a blessing to the entire world. But America today is largely about self-gain and self-comfort. We have told God to get out of our nation. Our education structure has, from an economic reality, essentially forced children to learn under a system that says God does not exist; man is supreme. When man is supreme, truth is relative and the most powerful among men call the shots. That is just the way it is and it would be quite irrational to expect anything different.
Can we return to greatness? I always hold out hope, but not in vain elections, but rather in a turning of the hearts and minds of Americans back to where we acknowledge and embrace our Creator … back to an understanding that man is frail, man is corrupt, man’s ideas cannot be trusted, man makes mistakes … we all do … and only by embracing our Creator and His ways do we stand any hope of not self-destructing – as individuals and as a culture.
Mark Shepard writes from Rustburg, Virginia, where he has an engineering business with Colorado clients. He was formerly a state legislator in Vermont.