“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It’s good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16
With a lot of talk, noise, and emotion surrounding this Friday’s inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, now is a good time to put a few solid truths in play.
First, while I confess I am not happy about the particular individual who will be sworn in this time around, the presidential inauguration is about America, not Donald Trump; and the orderly, respectful, peaceful transition of power is more important than my misgivings.
In consequence, I strongly disagree with the decision of some lawmakers to boycott the ceremony. Rather than saying something constructive about the electoral process, their absence will undermine the very thing they purport to value. What sort of a message is it to constituents, when elected representatives thumb their noses at one of the defining moments of our constitutional republic?
Rather than saying something constructive about the electoral process, their absence will undermine the very thing they purport to value…
If we want better governance, then it is incumbent on those of us who care to do a better job of facilitating a well-informed electorate, and a better job of identifying and supporting well-qualified candidates who are above reproach. By and large, too few citizens of the United States have an adequate grasp of civics, demonstrate a working understanding of the balance between rights and responsibilities, or own a useful set of tools when it comes to making sound judgments regarding truth.
The absolute best defense against demagoguery (see definition) is an informed, morally sound, electorate. This means that our future depends not just on better information, but spiritual renewal too.
The absolute best defense against demagoguery is an informed, morally sound, electorate. This means that our future depends not just on better information, but spiritual renewal too.
- (Demagoguery is an appeal to people that plays on their emotions and prejudices rather than on rational understanding. Demagoguery is a manipulative approach that appeals to the worst nature of people.)
The task ahead is a tall order, granted, but I remain optimistic for a number of reasons.
- Light always defeats darkness.
- Good is stronger than evil.
- Our calling to be salt and light, and to stand as “a city on a hill” reaches into the soul of this nation, and will not be ignored.
- It is The People who make America great, not the government.
- The U.S. Constitution is a simple, masterful, clear document with a heart that is consummately more enduring than the vagaries of either the electorate or the elected.
- I believe that the impetus of liberty and the momentum of freedom outweigh and outclass any momentary leaning toward cynicism and doubt.
- And – in a parting nod to President Obama – I absolutely believe in the audacity of hope.
The U.S. Constitution is a simple, masterful, clear document with a heart that is consummately more enduring than the vagaries of either the electorate or the elected.
Peace, blessings, hope, and promise – DEREK