Monday, November 5, 2018

Words to Inspire Wise Voting

Here it is the day before Voting Day in America. There’s a great deal of interest for a midterm election. Other than 2010, when there was a backlash against the underhanded, unilateral imposition of Obamacare on us, I don’t remember interest being so high for such an election. It could be that I’m just paying more attention, but I think a lot of us recognize there’s a lot at stake.

There has been record amounts of early voting in many states, including my own. We don’t actually know the results of those early votes, but when those particular voters have voted in a primary, we have their party affiliation as an indicator. Right now, that data tells us there’s more Republican interest than Democrat, and more rural and suburban interest in most places—with my state as an exception, where urban voting has surged. I don’t know how they measure that, because Houston is definitely urban, but it’s also huge and made up more of suburban areas than urban. So we'll see.

chart from NBC News

There’s a lot at stake. After a very long near decade of economic malaise and social decay, we’ve been getting our hopes up that improving freedom and prosperity are more than just temporary. But that’s at risk.

A lot of our future depends on how we and the people around us vote.

So, maybe this is a day for inspiring words, pulled from my ever growing Spherical Model quote file, about this experiment in self-rule called the United States of America. Remind yourself how vital it is to vote wisely. Then go forth and do your duty tomorrow.

Samuel Adams
painting by J. S. Copley
Here therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, 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.—Samuel Adams (The Life of Samuel Adams, 1:22)

What country can preserve its liberty if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? —Thomas Jefferson, November 13, 1787

I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom.—James Madison, Federalist Paper 11:163, June 20, 1788

The power under the Constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own choosing; and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can, and undoubtedly will, be recalled.—George Washington

Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it.—Thomas Paine, “The American Crisis”

Benjamin Franklin
painting by Joseph Duplessis, 1778
In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard; and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in this struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time; and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men; and if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in sacred writings, that except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.—Benjamin Franklin, Debates in the Congress of the Confederation, from February 19, 1787, to April 25, 1787, p. 984

[T]he framers of the Constitution probably assumed that religious freedom would establish religion as a watchdog over government, and believed that free churches would inevitably stand and speak against immoral and corrupt legislation. All churches not only have the right to speak out on public moral issues, but they have the solemn obligation to do so.—M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, October 1992

Men can exercise freedom only if they possess the following:
(1) life, (2) liberty (the absence of restraint), (3) property, and (4) knowledge.
When men become wicked, they act to destroy these necessary elements rather than preserve them, and freedom becomes impossible to maintain no matter what the form of government. There is an inexorable law of nature in operation which decrees that no man can act with the purpose of destroying another’s freedom without losing his own. The operation of this divine law of retribution is easily observed in a society of self-governing people.
Selfish, needful man is restrained from forcibly taking the life, liberty or property of his neighbor by these considerations:
(1) conscience, (2) fear of retaliation (3) fear of condemnation of others.
When men act through government, they do so without fear of retaliation or condemnation, and conscience alone remains to curb the propensity to abuse power.
Therefore, when a nation of people who have had the power of government placed in their hands become evil and without conscience, they will use that power to plunder and enslave one another until freedom is destroyed. It is a truism taught by the sages and prophets and proved repeatedly in the history of nations that wickedness and liberty cannot exist side by side.
Equally fatal to freedom is the ignorance or indifference of the voting majority. Unless they perceive with clarity that line which divides right from wrong in government action, and resist with firmness any attempt to cross it, the natural tendency of men to abuse power will cause those in office to enlarge their functions until liberty is crushed under the weight of bureaucratic despotism.
Therefore a nation must not only remain moral to remain free, but it must also be alert and informed. Furthermore the people must have a standard by which to distinguish with precision those functions which preserve freedom from those which destroy it. The standard which is used must be widely known, universally acceptable to moral people, and easily applied.—H. Verlan Andersen, Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen, Ezra Taft Benson Society, special re-printing: 2017, ch. 1

Take Social Justice. Justice means getting what you deserve without favor. Social justice means getting what you don’t deserve because you are favored.
—Michael Knowles, “Control the Words, Control the Culture,” PragerU

We need to become more tolerant of the imperfections that come with freedom, and we need to give up the illusion that somehow putting government in charge of anything is going to improve its workings, much less bring on utopia.—Ron Paul

No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.—George Washington, First Inaugural Address

The hand of Heaven appears to have led us on to be, perhaps, humble instruments and means in the great Providential dispensation which is completing. We have fled from the political Sodom; let us not look back, lest we perish and become a monument of infamy and derision to the world!—Samuel Adams, speech at Philadelphia state house, August 1, 1776

Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
—Thomas Paine

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined…[and] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.
—James Madison, Federalist Paper 45

Albert Einstein
image from here

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.
—Abraham Lincoln

The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it.—Albert Einstein

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