The actions one should or could have taken are one thing; the actions we can take now, in this moment are quite another. There is an old proverb that goes, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” As cultural battles intensify in our great nation, it behooves us to always remember who we are, where we came from and what our particular personal responsibilities are in light of the moment in which we find ourselves.
As Benjamin Franklin departed the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he was asked if the framers had created a monarchy or a republic. “A republic,” he famously replied, and then added, “if you can keep it.” A republic you see, requires involvement, it requires responsibility and it requires what the founders knew better than anyone, it requires the willingness to pledge one’s life, fortune and sacred honor to preserve.
Franklin and the other Founders knew that their experiment depended on future generations, which meant the education of future citizens. “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization,” Thomas Jefferson once warned, “it expects what never was and never will be.” Harry Truman once said, “The only new thing in the world is the history you don’t know.” If nothing else, knowing our grand history will lead us to our remarkable past, its story, the courage shown, the cost paid to be where we are. How can we know who we are and where we are going if we don’t know anything about where we’ve come from or what we’ve been through.
I truly appreciate the writing of Larry P. Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, regarding Winston Churchill’s responsibilities and action during his moment in world history. He writes “The first lesson of the war concerns what Churchill called the profound significance of human choice and the sublime responsibility of men… It is not trends but choices that matter most at the key moments of history.” The time has come once again for us to choose. To exercise that incredibly important right as a citizen on the United States of America and vote! Not everyone in the world today has this privilege; it has been handed to us at great price and sacrifice, so allow me to encourage everyone not to overlook this opportunity or the sacrifice that was made to make it possible.
A few years ago, I was in New York City, along with a great number of Evangelical leaders from across America. I listened as evangelist Franklin Graham said to each of us, “… we need to work together to elect leaders who will allow the Church to follow Christ with as much freedom and as little government interference as possible. Pastors should not ask congregants to place their full and eternal trust in a political candidate, but rather to choose the best person for the job since someone is going to be elected whether we participate in the process or not. How can conservative pastors justify sitting out the election when so much is at stake for the Church itself?”
Ronald Reagan reminded us that, “In 1620, a group of families dared to cross a mighty ocean to
build a future for themselves in a new world. When they arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts, they formed what they called a “compact”; an agreement among themselves to build a community and abide by its laws. The single act the voluntary binding together of free people to live under the law set the pattern for what was to come. A century and a half later, the descendants of those people pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to found this nation. Some forfeited their fortunes and their lives; none sacrificed honor. Four score and seven years later, Abraham Lincoln called upon the people of all America to renew their dedication and their commitment of, for and by the people. Isn’t it once again time to renew our compact of freedom; to pledge to each other all that is best in our lives; all that gives meaning to them for the sake of this, our beloved and blessed land?”
I’ve said this across America in the past few months… next week’s election may very well shape the next forty years in our nation! Allow me if you will to close by borrowing a few more lines from a speech given by Ronald Reagan in July of 1980… “I have thought of something that is not a part of my speech and I’m worried over whether I should do it. Can we doubt that only a divine providence placed this land, this island of freedom, here as a refuge for all those people in the world who yearn to breathe freely: … I’ll confess that I’ve been a little afraid to suggest what I’m going to suggest. I’m more afraid not to. Can we begin our crusade joined together in a moment of silent prayer?” I suggest we do the same… Let us Pray, let us Vote and let us Stand!
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper
Tim Throckmorton is the Midwest Director of Ministry for the Family Research Council. He can be reached at 740-935-1406