On this Election Day 2010, I take time to reflect on the full meaning of what many Americans are doing throughout the day. Some do so with excitement, conviction, and purpose, but all do this because it is their right. But elections are only part of the American sacrament of our shared confirmation; where the baptism thrust upon us by the American Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence is reaffirmed by the citizenry of this nation every first Tuesday in November.
Many Americans seem to forget that America is NOT a democracy. Sure – we practice democratic principles, but only in the form of what we truly are – a Republic. In a republic the sovereignty is in each individual person. In a democracy the sovereignty is in the majority group. The two are alike in everything except for one small but significant principle; in a democracy, the minority has no rights, and in fact must bend to the will of the dictatorial majority.
The Republic of the United States has had to fight both internal struggles and external enemies to continually renew our baptismal vowels embodied in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We have defeated external monarchs, dictators, despots, and terrorists whose quest for domination was (and is) jeopardized by the existence of the American Republic. Our principled devotion to the notion that our strength has its roots in humility (“In God We Trust”) but in the unwavering conviction that Americans bow before no dictator, despot, or monarch, not because we are an arrogant nation, but that we have a Constitution that others will look to emulate, and with purpose of raising up each individual in our nation to their full measure of self-defined success and their fulfillment in their pursuit of happiness.
This nation was founded upon the highest principle, but was won with an institution that is wholly, and thankfully, undemocratic; the United States Armed Forces. Led on purpose by the elected civilian leadership, members of the military since the American Revolution have been part of the American confirmation. It is where citizens freely elect to give up a portion of their freedom to serve within in a stratarchistic body sanctioned to preserve the republic under elected civilian leadership. Under this structure, men and women have followed orders even to the point knowing it meant certain death, to advance the cause of preserving the ideas of the Republic. Though we reflect upon this sacrifice on Memorial Day, the specific acknowledgement of an individual’s service in the military is embodied in our celebration of Veteran’s Day, on November 11th, the date commemorating the end of “the War to end all Wars.” This day, along with Election Day, is the acknowledgement of each American citizen’s confirmation of the American purpose, and belief in the principles that are embodied in the Constitution of the United States.
One last sacrament needs to be recognized. It is the most blessed and cherished of the American sacraments. Our communion with one another as one nation, is embodied in the fourth Thursday every November. It is Thanksgiving. It is the most intimate of American celebrations that neither discriminates between religion, race, creeds, or anything else which lesser citizens use to separate us from one another. It allows us to come together as individuals to our families, and families to our nation. We use this day to give thanks for what we have, and to be thankful for the Republic and the principles upon which it was founded.
November. It is a time for reflection on where we Americans stand. It is in November that America renews itself, and renews its belief in the cause of its founding. Shall we remain true to the principles for which this Republic was founded, or will we diminish? In November, confirm the principles for which this nation was founded whether you vote, serve, or both. But be thankful, ever thankful, in the grace that we Americans have been given through our communion with each other. It is that communion that allows all Americans to celebrate our shared freedoms within a democracy underneath the banner of liberty provided by our Republic; one nation, under God.