Selecting the Best Candidates

 

On November 6th, 2012, people across America will vote for the next President as well as other state and local offices. Over the next few weeks campaign advertising will flood television and radio stations, internet sites, and billboards and signs that line America’s roadways. The challenge for all Americans will be to sift through the rhetoric and campaign promises and choose candidates who can be trusted to honor and defend the United States Constitution, to seek inspiration from God, and to learn from wise constituents and advisors. We encourage voters to study the candidates and become actively engaged in supporting good, wise and honest people for public office.

We the People have been charged with the responsibility and authority to preserve a free government. It is not enough to wring our hands and moan about conditions in America. We must become informed and carry out our civic duty to hold elected officials accountable for their actions in office. These officials take an oath to support the U.S. Constitution. As a people, we have the right to expect our leaders to understand this document and serve according to the limits placed on the office they hold. On Election Day, we have the opportunity to vote out those who have not been true to this sacred trust and vote in others who will remain committed to the cause of liberty.

Samuel Adams explained that if we want to secure liberty, we must avoid corruption in government. He said, “neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manner are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.”

Adams went on to say that public officials should not be chosen if they are lacking in experience or training. The people should seek out candidates who have proven virtue and demonstrated wisdom. He said the task of the electorate is to choose those whose “fidelity has been tried in the nicest and tenderest manner, and has been ever firm and unshaken.” (Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, 1:22)

Our Founding Fathers experienced a tyrannical government and were well acquainted with the weakness of human nature, especially in those placed in a position of power. To protect the people from the ambitions of those holding a political office, they prepared a system of government that would “bind men down by the chains of the Constitution.” Instead of placing all authority under one head, they created a mixed government with a balance of power between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the Federal Government and a division of power between Federal, State, and Local Governments.

Thomas Jefferson explained the purpose,

“The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions he is competent to . . . It is by dividing and subdividing these

republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations until it ends in the administration of every man’s farm by himself, by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best.”

James Madison also explained the balance between State and Federal governments when he said, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.”

Furthermore, the 10th Amendment states “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

While the Founders did not believe in BIG government, they did believe in a STRONG government. They recognized the dangers of tyranny (too much government) as well as anarchy (too little government). They created a political system for a strong government in the balanced center.

As we consider who to vote for during this election cycle, we should consider candidates who are in line with the Founders. Will this candidate respect the restrictive chains of the Constitution? Does this candidate understand the limitations placed on the level of government to which he aspires? If the candidate is pushing for more government than the Founders did, they are suggesting programs that are to the left of the Founder’s balanced center. If they are proposing programs that would mandate less government involvement, they would be to the right of the Founders’ balanced center.

So, how do we choose who to vote for? We suggest three characteristics we should look for to identify Constitutional Candidates.

1. A strong belief in God, and a life of moral and righteous living. If a candidate does not have these traits, how can we trust his sacred “Oath of Office?”
2. A knowledge of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers. Again, each elected official will be taking an Oath of God to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States. How can our leaders do that if they don’t know the Constitution?
3. Those that hold office must be and remain teachable. The whole nation will be praying for their safety and heavenly guidance, and they must be willing to learn from the myriad of experiences as well as from well-selected advisors.
As we approach Election Day, we recommend that all eligible voters study the issues, evaluate the candidates, and vote for the individual who will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the liberties that it protects.