After four long months spent haggling over what is now the most important document in our country’s history — the U.S. Constitution — George Washington stood up from his chairman’s chair and walked over to sign his name. As he stood up, the back of the chair was visible. It was hand-carved with a design of a sun that was either rising or setting. As Benjamin Franklin looked at the now-empty chair, he said:
I have often looked at that (sun) behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting, but now….I have the happiness to know that is a rising and not a setting sun.
I zero in on this because my daughter and I are studying the birth of our nation. Today we looked up the U.S. Constitution on the internet and saw pictures of it. She wants me to get a copy of it so she can read it for herself. That’s right: my nine year old daughter is interested in history. Is that remarkable in today’s world? You bet it is! The quality of curriculum I have been able to find as a homeschooler is amazing. We are learning so much together. I say ‘together’ because homeschooling is filling in many gaps in my own education! Today I learned about Benjamin Franklin’s observation at the dawn of our country.
I sat there a moment, stunned in the enormity of his statement. At that time in our history, we were indeed a rising sun. Our republic and the constitution on which it is based has been a shining beacon to the whole world, an example of a government that is OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people. But are we rising or setting as a nation?
I can’t pretend to have the answer to that question, but the direction in which we are headed is troubling. Personal responsibility has gone by the wayside. The perception of our government appears to be shifting from one in which it is OF the people to one that is OF the political establishment. Take the Democratic and Republican races for the presidential nominations, for example. The unbound “superdelegates” are allowed to cast their vote at the convention any way they please. Some of them vow to follow the “will of the people,” but others have already stated that they will vote for their favorite regardless of what the will of the people becomes. Is this true democracy? Who are these “superdelegates,” anyway?
According to this article on MSNBC,
They are the 796 Democratic elected officials and party activists who, under party rules, have a vote at the August convention that will nominate either Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama for president. The nominee will be the person who gets the support of at least 2,025 delegates —superdelegates accounting for about 40 percent of that necessary total.
Superdelegates do not have to vote the way the voters voted. Let’s say you are superdelegate in Virginia which went heavily for Obama, but you personally like Hillary Clinton. Under the party rules, you can vote for her even though your state did not.
Who gets to be a superdelegate? Only the bigwigs of the Democratic Party…senators, governors, congressmen, a party leader, or a member of the Democratic National Committee.
Is this fair? Is it a rising, or a setting sun?
The Republicans do not have superdelegates, but they do have 123 members of the Republican National Committee that are free to vote for whichever candidate they choose at the party convention.
I don’t know if this is what our founding fathers had in mind when they created our system of government. And then there remains another can of worms: the timing of the presidential primaries and caucuses. Because states are free to hold their primaries and caucuses whenever they want, voters in later-voting states feel disenfranchised as candidates are weeded out. Why should it matter what Californians or Floridians think when I’m a Texan? What if I was a supporter of a candidate who dropped out of the race because of early losses in other states?
Because of this system, the media and Republican party head honchos have declared McCain the “presumptive nominee.” Well, I beg to differ. I am a Texan, and I haven’t had a chance to vote yet. This country is still a democracy, and I believe my vote ought to be counted.
Let’s see what happens on March 4th when other Texans rise up and show Goliath News Media and the establishment that this country is still governed BY the people.
Rather than being disheartened and overly angry at the state of our national government, I lay my head on my pillow at night at peace because I have faith in my God. I don’t need to worry over whether we are rising or setting as a nation, because the Lord is Lord of them both. From Isaiah 45:
5 I am the LORD, and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,
6 so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
men may know there is none besides me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7 I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things.
So whether followers of the Lord rise up and vote for leaders who are righteous and firm in their faith, or whether they vote for the ‘presumptive nominee’ because the media tells them their first choice can’t win, or whether they stay home out of disgust and don’t vote at all…the Lord is God. I am his child and stand firmly in that truth, through every sunrise and sunset.