Monday, September 8, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
By Steve Fair
The starter's pistol has fired and the presidential race is underway. Obama has come out of the gate a little slow, but lest conservatives get overconfident, I predict he will recover and the presidential campaign will be competitive. America is evenly divided philosophically and politically, so make no mistake, McCain is not going to be elected with the margins of the 1980 landslide victory of Ronald Reagan.

Oklahoma is a solid “red” state, meaning we will go for McCain. It remains to be seen what the margin of victory will be and whether McCain will have coattails, but Obama has two chances to win Oklahoma- slim and none. The Senator and his campaign team recognize that and are “fishing where the fish are” and have announced they have no plans to visit the Sooner state.

There are 225 million people in the United States eligible to vote; yet only 170 million are actually registered to vote. That leaves about 30% of the population not engaged politically at all. 121 million people voted in the last Presidential election- about 60% of those registered. Those are sad statistics, because it reveals an apathy and unconcern with government. There is a cynicism toward politicians and politics. That must change if we are to see government improved- from the federal to the local level.

Oklahoma is a small state with only seven electoral votes, so our impact on the presidential race will not be significant. But there are other races on the ballot besides the Presidential race. On November 4th, voters across Oklahoma will vote in four statewide races and four state questions in addition to the local races in their area. Amazingly, many people will go into the voting booth not being informed or educated voters. With the advent of mass media and advances in communication, there is no excuse to not be informed when you vote.

The last day to register to vote and participate in the November 4th general election is Friday October 10th. If you are not registered, pick up a form at the local post office or tag agency. If you are registered, make it a point to meet the candidates and determine their position on the political issues. But you should also find out how they conduct their personal lives and manage their business. As David Barton often says, “we should vote for someone we can turn our back on.”

In “ Ten Steps To Change America,” Barton of Wallbuilders- says our current national public stand against God must be set aside. Barton says, “We must regain the conviction that Biblical principles are vital to national success, and we must be willing to pursue their reinstatement. In recent decades, we have wrongly allowed the very principles, which produced morality and virtue, and thus national stability, to be restricted in public life. We need once again to recognize the truth so well understood by George Washington who said “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”

Barton has been talking about this long before Newt wrote Rediscovering God in America. In fact, John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian minister who signed the Declaration of Independence said this back in 1782 when asked how to determine who to vote for: “Those who wish well to the State ought to choose to places of trust men of inward principle, justified by exemplary conversation. And the people in general ought to have regard to the moral character of those whom they invest with authority either in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches.” Witherspoon was saying the moral character of a candidate is primary when determining who to vote for.
All too often, the predominate reason someone votes for a candidate is because of what they think that candidate will do for them and their group, association, or industry. How will their election impact me economically? Morality becomes a secondary factor to economic ones. We need people in elective office whose sole goal is to do what’s right- not get more funding for pet projects. Their moral compass must be one of servitude for their constituents, not being a lap dog for special interests. Ben Franklin once said, “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” Can you hear the trumpet sounding?

As a kid, I remember my parents and grandparents talking about "losing their vote." Of course, they were saying they had voted for the person who didn't win the lection, but John Quincy Adams gave us a guiding principle about voting: “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”

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