Ben Kinchlow is a minister, broadcaster, author and businessman. His latest book is "Black Yellowdogs." He was the long-time co-host of CBN's "The 700 Club" television program and host of the international edition of the show, seen in more than 80 countries. He is the founder of Americans for Israel and the African American Political Awareness Coalition, and the author of several books.More ↓Less ↑
Gingrich? Romney? Santorum? Paul? Obama? It seems like every time you hit a news outlet anymore, you hear comments, pro and con, about the GOP candidates, while Obama and the Democrats are preparing for whoever the challenger may be. More and more, a particular date is beginning to dominate the political landscape.
Nov. 7, 2012, will be one day after our presidential election. This election is only held every four years, and new members of Congress will also be voted in at this time.
Despite the fact that the future of the American way of life, culturally and economically, could be at stake, along with our national sovereignty and international influence, millions of Americans will not have voted. Their reasons will be as varied as the age, gender and ethnic makeup of the diverse groups of citizens who have failed to exercise a sacred right – a right that people by the thousands have died to obtain and defend – “I forgot,” “I didn’t have time,” “I didn’t have a ride,” “All politicians are crooks anyway” and “Besides, my vote doesn’t really matter.”
The real misfortune here is that even the most cursory examination of the world scene clearly demonstrates that government can be friend or foe. Objectively compare almost any country to America; millions of people are born, live and often die under systems that have given them no choice in their rulers and no voice in their own lives.
I would hazard a guess that everyone reading this column today has both a choice and a voice by virtue of the fact that you were “born in the USA,” or you now live here legally. Americans, thus far, still have the freedom and good fortune to be able to choose who will govern them, unlike untold millions in other parts of the world who do not have the choice we so dangerously take for granted or simply ignore.
As an American, you were born with the God-given right to participate in the greatest social experiment ever conceived by the mind of man, a democratic republic – “government of the people, for the people, and by the people.” In other words, you were legally endowed at birth, or by law, with the right, the privilege and, yes, the responsibility to participate in your own government.
Government is a system by which a nation, state or community is governed. A government in which real people with shared values participate is not a democracy; it is a republic. As you know, this means a majority of citizens elect specific representatives to represent and articulate their views in three branches of government. We choose, by the ballot, those who will govern, “conduct the policy, actions and affairs … control, influence, or regulate … persons, actions, or course of events via the executive and legislative branches.”
Americans also have the judicial branch, which is/was designed to remain outside of and free from politics. Supreme Court justices are appointed for life by the duly-elected president and confirmed by the likewise publicly elected Senate to keep them from being subjected to political manipulation by striving to please an electorate.
This system is the fulfillment of the dreams, aspirations and desires of those who came here in order to “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility… promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty” to themselves and their posterity – us.
As you now consider who is, or who will be, your president, and whether or not your party is now the majority party, just remember this: In our system, the government “derives its just powers from the consent” of those I call sovereigns. These sovereigns – those “capable of acting independently and without outside interference” – are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights… life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In our system, the people, these sovereigns, are responsible to ensure that these mandates are met, just as they are to blame when they are not.
If “those politicians up there are all crooks anyway,” it is because “We the People” sent them there because “We forgot to vote,” “We were too busy,” “We didn’t get a ride,” “Anyway, my vote doesn’t matter,” so somebody else elected them.
In the Book of Proverbs there’s an interesting quote from one of the wisest governing sovereigns who ever lived: “If a ruler harkens to lies, all his servants are wicked.” Remember this: An unrighteous man appoints unrighteous men.
Who is making decisions for you today, and why is that important? Because today’s decisions are tomorrow’s laws. Prayer was removed from schools by a single judicial decision, made by judges appointed by a president and confirmed by senators who were elected by “We the People” – you and me. “Oh, I’m sorry, not you. You didn’t bother to vote.”
Just as prayer was removed, other liberties that we now take for granted can be just as easily removed from our society in the same manner, by the same people.
“Well, my one vote doesn’t really matter anyway.” Really?
In 1776, one vote decided whether the colonies would speak German or English.
In 1850 one vote decided whether or not California would become a state.
In 1960, three votes per precinct elected John F. Kennedy over Richard Nixon.
Perhaps had you been there then, with your “unimportant vote,” we would be speaking German, California would be part of Mexico and we would never have had a JFK.
Will we continue the freedoms to which we have become accustomed? Will we be able to vote our conscience? Will we worship God as we choose (ask Christians living under any Muslim government), or will we become like many other nations where today Christian churches are museums and faith in the God of Abraham is underground? Never happen? Who ever thought it would be illegal to pray publicly in America?
Let me say this one more time: Ours is a “government of the people, for the people, by the people.”