Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekly Opinon/Editorial
by Steve Fair

Last week, the Stephens County Republican Party held precinct meeting and the annual County Convention. There are over eight thousand registered Republicans in Stephens county, but less than a hundred showed up. Several new people were in attendance and indicated they plan to become involved in their government. Three of our local legislators spoke at the Convention. Despite the fact the local party paid for a large ad in the paper, sent several emails to those on the county email list, and contacted several hundred, less than one tenth of one percent of the registed Republicans in the county attended the meeting—and Stephens County did better than most counties in the state.

Why don’t people show up at political party meetings? The most common excuses are, “I don’t do politics,” or “I don’t have time,” but those same people are involved in a variety of actitivites not nearly as important as getting involved in their government. Some mistakenly believe that getting involved in politics requires one to compromise their own convictions. They believe politics is dirty and that ethical, principled people should stay out of that arena. While it’s certainly true that politics has its fair share of snakes, crooks, and cheats, so does every other segment of society. The point is, not all politicians are unethical people and involvement in the process by honest people will serve to help make sure more of our elected officials are principled, ethical people.

If you are “on the fence” about your political involvement, allow me to point out several reasons you should be involved in the political process:

First, America is based on the principle of self rule—when self-governance of nation-states is discussed, it is often called national sovereignty. As more and more of individual personal freedoms erode away, it’s critical that Americans pay attention to what is going on in their government. As late President Ronald Reagan said, “History will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening." Getting involved in ones government is fundamental to changing government. Americans must take ownership in our government; otherwise we will cease to be self-ruled or sovereign as a nation.

Second, Christians are commanded to be involved in their government and submit to government. Read Matthew 15 and Romans 13. Liberal activists would have us believe our founding fathers were terrified at the prospect of Christians participating in the political process. This led them, we're told, to establish a wall of separation between church and state, but there is no mention of a separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution—only the right to worship without government interference. When Christians ignore their responsibility to be involved in their government, they get poor government.

Mike Griffin Sr., Senior Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Georgia says Christians have four “obligations” to be involved in politics—spiritual, social, moral, and eternal. Griffin says, “This means we have to be involved in the political process of our country, even if it means running for public office, and even if it means you will lose.” “There is more at stake than an election. We, above all people, have an eternal obligation to righteousness that transcends this earthly life into eternity itself!”

Third, we should be involved in politics for our children and grandchildren. U.S. Senator Tom Coburn said in 2004 during a debate, “If we steal from our children, when we don't have to, that is a problem. We have decision-making often being made that centers around the politician and not the next generation. Our decisions ought to be long run and we ought to be caring for the next generation rather than the next election. And the expediency of spending money we don't have hurts now but it also hurts the next generation.”

The “bailout” and “stimulus” monies being thrown around like candy at a parade will have to be paid back by future generations. Would you charge money on your credit card and expect your children and grandchildren to pay the bill after you are dead and gone? Of course not, but that is the type of reckless, irresponsible behavior Congress is engaging in. If for no other reason, this should be sufficient motivation for those who care about their family to get involved in their government.

US educational philosopher Robert Maynard Hutchins summarized the concerns about political indifference when he claimed that the "death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment." Christian author Bodie Thoene says, “ Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand.”

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