We the people.
It's an interesting and often perplexing concept, we the people. They are the opening words of the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States---
We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union,
establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense,
promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and
our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of
If the government established by this Constitution was a pure democracy those words would clearly identify the citizens of America as the governing authority. Our governing systems is, to be more specific, a representative republic, governed by officials elected by voters to direct the affairs of the nation. Today, it is a vast, complex three pronged colossus of executive, legislative, and judicial branches with little direct influence of we the people. This government, in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, "...of the people, for the people, by the people..." is actually the product of those elected officials functioning under the loose rules of separation of power and checks and balances. We the people are the invisible backdrop of a cumbersome system.
Here's a simple example that happened this past Wednesday. A monument honoring John C. Calhoun was removed from Marion Square in downtown Charleston after being in that location for 124 years. Calhoun was a South Carolinian remembered for serving as the seventh Vice President of the United States, a member of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, Secretary of State, and Secretary of War. He was also known to support slavery and states rights, and was a slave owner himself. In the aftermath of the George Floyd killing by police, several racial justice factions, including Black Lives Matter, demanded the removal of his monument from such a honored place in old Charleston. Charleston's Mayor, John Tecklenburg convened the members of the Charleston City Council and they voted 100% to remove the memorial. It was removed and will be stored in an undisclosed location. We the people were not consulted. Elected official decided for them. Evidently they feared further downtown terror if they had refused or even delayed.
Well, yes, that's the system our founders designed and which was ratified by nine states on June 21, 1788. Even then, with thirteen states, a population of around 4,000,000, with primitive communication, hearing from we the people would have been difficult. There were factions then---the Federalists and Republicans, land owners and tenants, the moneyed citizens and the workers, among others---that made the constitutional convention of 1787 quite interesting. Even so, the government system they devised accomplished levels of unity that were globally unique at the time.
Advance the calendar 232 years and note the changing demographics of the United States . Now there are 50 states, the District of Columbia, and many territories. The current population of the United States is approximately 330,000,000 of which
153, 070,000 are registered to vote (as of 2019). Even with advanced technology hearing from we the people in every issue facing government is nearly impossible. That is the beauty and often the frustration of our representative republic. We rely on our elected officials to represent we the people in seeking the common good. The political clout of factions, special interest groups, and political parties have distanced the voice of we the people from government processes even more.
This Christian worldview provides sure guidance regarding our responsibilities to government. Romans 13: 1-7 is the most often referenced biblical instruction about the Christian attitude toward government. Click here to read these verses. There is also the expectation that we should pray for government officials. Click here to read the verses from 1 Timothy 2: 1-4. We the people should support our government at least to the point that it may violate our spiritual absolutes. And, we should pray for those elected to lead us. Even more, we should vote our convictions in every election, and voice our concerns to those elected to serve the common good. Click here for contact information of elected officials to express your thoughts about the direction of our government,
We the people can be the most significant faction in our government system if we vote and give our voice to those elected to serve us.
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