Our republican form of government requires participation from the citizens. This doesn’t just include voting, but also watching what our representatives do — then holding them accountable should they cease respecting and honoring the people who elected them.
Thomas Jefferson stated in an 1816 letter to John Taylor, “…that the people have less regular control over their agents, than their rights and their interests require.” In other words, as citizens in a Republic, it is We the People’s responsibility to monitor what our elected agents are doing.
And James Madison in an 1822 letter to W.T. Barry warned, “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
The American founders firmly understood that the people must be moral, virtuous and educated in order to perform their duties as citizens in electing representatives that possess the qualities that make good leaders — qualities such as wisdom, knowledge, sincerity, integrity, character and honor.
How can we really know if any candidates possess these character qualities? It takes making the effort to investigate each candidate’s backgrounds and then making a point of meeting them to ask questions regarding why they are running for office (motive) and what their political philosophy is. If they say they have been a conservative leader, ask for specifics like what they did and were they successful.
Things to take note of when researching a candidate include their past associations, organizations and religious affiliation. Within each state, citizens have established Family Policy Councils (find yours at this link) that track proposed laws affecting life, religious liberty and other important issues. Most Family Policy Councils publish nonpartisan voter guides, revealing the records of candidates and state representatives on issues that matter.
If at all possible, talk to people who know them well and pray for God’s wisdom and revelation. I had a personal experience in interviewing some candidates in my district for state representative, and it was quite an enlightening experience.
One candidate’s character flaws weren’t noticeable at first (Photo: ReynerMedia / Flickr)
Two young men were candidates for state representative, approximately the same age with the same educational backgrounds, who both proclaimed faith in Christ. But one had character flaws that weren’t immediately outwardly noticeable.
If we listen to the voice of the Lord and the nudging of the Holy Spirit, we will know how to distinguish which one is the best candidate who will represent the people honorably. It is the motive of the heart that matters.
We don’t realize the impact that we can have when we vote. So many people think that their vote doesn’t really count, but the truth is that many important elections have been decided by one vote. The vote to go to war with England was won by one vote!
Your vote does count and is very important. The mid-term elections tomorrow will decide who will take control over the United States Senate and who will lead many of our states. Be active in this process; don’t sit back and take this process for granted. Too many people have sacrificed their lives so we can have the benefits of liberty – the right to freely elect our representatives.
Millions of American veterans have sacrificed for our right to vote (Photo: Tom / Flickr)
Take your responsibility seriously and commit yourself also to prayer that God might put in place leaders whose desires will only be to please Him by honoring the people they represent.
If Christians would be as willing to sacrifice the time to study the word of God, recognize the issues we face today, actively engage in the election process and pray for wisdom, then we would see a true change in the character of the nation.