Remembering Our Principles Amid Political Strife

Common principles give us political focus

Principles are what guide us. We refer to principles in our religious practices. We remember our principles when making personal moral choices. Principles are the driving force behind our politics, different though they may be. Yet, under the umbrella of the U.S. Constitution, we gather together as one nation to adhere to its principles that address all of us – we the people.

Our nation is now caught up in a presidential impeachment process. It is time to revisit how we got here and the principles involved. Are these principles still intact? Do they still matter? Can they – should they – be now protected?

Principles must not be forgotten

I recently read what, in my humble opinion, is an outstanding article that reminds us of who we are and why we stand together as a nation. James Mattis, former Secretary of Defense, asks in his article “The Enemy Within” posted in a special edition of The Atlantic:

Have we taught our children the principles that citizens of this democracy must live by? Do we even remember those principles ourselves?

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Lessons of truth we must not forget

I strongly recommend that all of us read the article. It’s short and will take about as much time as it takes to drink your cup of coffee or tea. Given that it comes from a former Marine Corps General, Commander of United States Central Command, and Secretary of Defense, his thoughts are especially significant for our nation’s current political moment. As a bit of a tease in this blog, further encouraging you to read the article in its entirety, Mattis identifies lessons of truth we must not forget:

·      America is not some finished work or failed project but an ongoing experiment.

·      Defects are part of the human condition.

·      Acting wisely means acting with a time horizon not of months or years but of generations.

·      Cynicism is cowardice.

·      Leadership doesn’t mean someone riding in on a white horse.

·      Achieving results nationally means participating locally.

·      The “bonds of affection” Lincoln spoke about are paramount.

·      Our core institutions have value, even if all institutions are flawed.

Principles bind us together

While none of these lessons of truth are principles in and of themselves, they remind us of principles that bind us together. They speak of the principles that clarify our common focus and energize us to contribute to a common good.

Mattis closes his article with a reminder all of us need to hear:

Every generation since the Revolution has added to the legacy of the Founders in the endless quest to make the union “more perfect.” And every generation shoulders a responsibility to pass along our freedoms, and the wherewithal to secure and enhance them, to the next generation. Having traveled during the past few months to every corner of the country, I know that Americans in general are better—kinder, more thoughtful, more respectful—than our political leadership.

But are we truly doing our duty by future generations? For too many, “e pluribus unum” is just a Latin phrase on the coins in their hands—not a concept with a powerful moral charge. It is hard work, building a country. In a democracy, it is noble work that all of us have to do.

Voting principles fuel our democracy

We now consider the principles that formed this nation. These principles are now being tested as our constitution is also on trial. We need remind ourselves of the fundamental principle of where our nation’s power originates. The nation’s power comes from us – our voting voice. Our vote is precious!

Respect for our vote, this guiding principle, is the foundation for Equal Voice Voting, and fuels the content for this blog. With a love of country and a reverence for our U.S. Constitution, this blog is posted each week. Hopefully, others will become aware of how ingenious the Electoral College is and how we can take simple steps to make it work better for us. We can improve our representative democracy in presidential elections by following Equal Voice Voting’s three principles:

·      Make all votes matter.

·      End vote suppression.

·      Ensure every state is heard.

These vital principles ensure that the popular vote (the nation’s voting sentiment) is captured on a state-by-state basis and that an honest result emerges. The Electoral College has been handicapped long enough. It’s time to take back an honest process that serves all of us (left, right, or otherwise) and our republic.

It’s time to stop the bait-and-switch voting tactic of winner-takes-all that disenfranchises so many. Without the need for a constitutional amendment nor the encumbrance of a multi-state compact, we can make it happen. It’s time to stop this vote suppression, be more inclusive in our democracy, and allow every voting voice to be heard.

Finally, we must remember and follow the principles that cause us to respect each other, though different we may be. Let us not forget it can be done.

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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team

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