Letter to the editor: This year's election boils down to one issue


One candidate says we must save democracy. The other says we must save America. Winston Churchill saved Great Britain, but I cannot think of any other I would celebrate with such words. Most of us do not think very much of the idea of seeing ourselves as saviors of anything because we understand there is a real Savior who has earned the title. Some might want to save our culture but could not define that culture if they had to. Some want to save our border, but the idea of a border saves itself if one exists. Others would like to save our dollar but do not realize that the dollar has been in jeopardy since during the Nixon days when we divorced ourselves from gold as the backing of the dollar. The fact is that we need to be saved from ourselves, and that is the unique contribution of our Declaration and Constitution.

Human beings are not very good at governing themselves. Most of human history is the sorry tale of power corrupting absolutely. People have enslaved other people since the beginning of recorded history. Kings, tyrants, dictators and so forth have enacted the desires of their own wills. Only sporadically have people even attempted anything remotely akin to democracy, and the dust bin of history is filled with the remains of nations once great now gone.

But we in these United States have the great and unprecedented privilege of living under two documents that are decidedly unique. Both are written with an eye towards human corruption and the need for safeguards. These protections were written into the fabric of America, and they most obviously work. They work through rebellions, a civil war, financial panics, world wars and even a loss of cultural consensus. They work because they recognize that we all fail and thus need checks and balances upon that failure. The Constitution divides our government into three co-equal branches. Each of those branches operates independently of the others but also can exert influence, policy and direction in the others. This is why it works so well and will continue to work well.

It is the states which make up the whole and the states alone which can amend the Constitution. No dictator, or tyrant can change that simple fact.

While political parties love to speak in absolutist terms and increasingly like to attack their opponents, the fact remains that this year's election boils down to one issue: which candidate will do a better job of leading us to achieve our role of leadership in a world which needs us more than ever.

As a matter of fact, that is the only issue that has ever been important in our national election of a president. Since we have never had a perfect candidate and never will, it always comes down to that single issue of which candidate will deliver best on the promise of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

To that end, I sincerely hope and pray that the God Who looks upon us with expectation will be patient as we try to act responsibly.