As we inch closer to Election Day on November 2, I want to take a moment to discuss the importance of not only voting, but more specifically, voting wisely.
President Nixon’s Secretary of the Treasury, William E. Simon, is credited with saying “Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote.” I might also add that bad politicians are sent to Washington not only by good people who don’t vote, but by good people who vote foolishly.
Noah Webster, a name synonymous with dictionaries since 1828, said it this way:
“When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this Duty; if the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the Laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine Commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the Laws. Intriguing men can never safely be trusted.”
Dr. Del Tackett, creator of Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project, does a great job of explaining Webster’s comments.
Notice that Noah lists the consequences of electing “bad” men to public office:
1. They will corrupt government;
2. They will make laws, not for the general welfare, but for “selfish or local purposes”;
3. They will appoint other corrupt men to execute their laws;
4. They will squander the citizens’ taxes upon those who are unworthy;
5. They will violate the citizens’ rights.
Notice where he points the finger—not to the bad rulers, but to those who foolishly neglected the “Divine Commands” and voted them into office, or sat back and let them obtain office.
I found it interesting that he closes with a comment about “intriguing men.” His insight is fascinating. The focus shouldn’t be on how “intriguing” someone is, but whether their character will lead them to rule rightly—in the “fear of God.” I encourage everyone to keep the challenge from Noah Webster in their minds on Election Day.