“Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself: and let him be your fear and let him be your dread.”
Ever since I looked into the world of politics, I’ve been under the impression that both of our modern political parties are rotten, particularly at the national level and probably to the core.
At the same time I haven’t quite known what to make of what good our political system does have. It was obvious to me from a young age that Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington were not only good, but also great. Their principles were powerful, and their legacy is almost tangible – a constant presence in our founding documents.
Yet the difference between the American government in 1776 and what it has morphed into in 2023 is a world of difference.
In my own view, the Constitution itself with its three distinct branches always made sense. It is apparent from even a casual glance at our history that the Founding Fathers were obsessed with restricting authoritarian power – and their obsession was combined with genius, leading to the Constitutional Convention with all its debate and deliberation, along with the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers, Common Sense, The Rights of Man, and a thousand other pamphlets and newspapers which circulated revolutionary sentiment.
At the same time, it is probably significant to realize that in looking to the Constitution, we find ourselves in support of a national government of considerable strength and authority, almost inescapably. In a word, the Constitution itself was an answer to the failures of the Articles of Confederation, with the main difference being its centralization of government power. A national government in a capital city is a fact and feature of life in the United States of America.
And yet we find ourselves facing a time when complete control over the highest levels of our government is attributed to one of two political factions OPENLY, and by admission.
For instance: While the tension between the Speaker of the House and the Executive Branch is supposed to be a significant “check and balance” on power, we have often (or always) seen it as the peak of a conflict between Republicans and Democrats. And as such is the case, we are watching the override of careful and measured constitutional provisions against authoritarian dominion and the abuse of justice – all of which were designed for such a time as this, and none of which seem to matter much anymore.
I think it is bizarre to have to look at the Speaker of the House of Representatives in terms of his partisan affiliation and then interpret his opposition to the President of the United States completely in those terms, and yet that is really the only way to make sense of things. It was true with Pelosi and Trump, and it’s true now with McCarthy and Biden.
I have also heard many people say they can’t imagine an alternative to modern day political parties.
Their observations are a resigned acknowledgment that: “Yes, political parties (and their accompanying partisanship) have suffocated the American Constitution – but what is the alternative?” Apparently to them, anything else seems unimaginable.
Perhaps political parties are inevitable. I fully admit this might be the case.
For instance, in the pre-colonial societies of North and South America, political societies of faction and intrigue also spontaneously manifested on the back of a free government.
In fact, warped political machinations have often grown and prospered as parasitic leeches to any free society, thriving on secrecy and injustice to the point that they “seduce the more part of the righteous[.]” – (Helaman 6:38)
Political parties have enjoyed so much success in certain places and times that “they [have] obtain[ed] the sole management of the government.” – (Helaman 6:39).
So in light of these things, these realities, I can and do admit the inevitability of political machinations or rather – in our case – the hidden depths of political parties.
We know that adversarial systems and instruments like the Republican Party or the Democrat Party were always anticipated by the George Washington and his fellows; and so in this regard, I cannot dispute the natural occurrence of divisional factionalism in any society….
However I would also be quick to point out that when any nation becomes overrun with political combinations we can easily see “they [are] in an awful state, and ripening for an everlasting destruction.” – (Helaman 6:40)
The “fatal tendency” of political parties (as Washington would say) is seen in the fact that they substitute “the will of a party” for “the will of the nation.”
And we have seen both “riot and insurrection” in 2020 and 2021 with the George Floyd riots and the January 6th insurrection – almost as if we were using Washington’s “Farewell Address” as a script, acting out the negative consequences he outlined about the “spirit of party” centuries ago.
In the same spirit of looking to our Founding Fathers for guidance and direction, I am under the impression that there is unique meaning to the language employed in the founding documents of American Government.
The argument could be made that “The Supreme Creator” is a reference – by definition and local application – to a natural phenomenon, codified in the Founding Documents of the United States of America.
The obvious implication of the term as it exists in the Founding is that the “Supreme Creator” of the continental land has obligated Himself to us, in granting us rights and even our form of Government and Liberty.
And we are therefore obligated to Him, in that we recognize and appreciate the many rights and freedoms we do enjoy as good things, stemming from His fundamentally “Great” or “Supreme” nature.
This is a fact of language that exists in the American establishment.
FURTHERMORE, The fact that the Founders unanimously supported that statement indicates that they had experienced some favorable manifestation in the Land which encouraged them and gave them hope for the development of their New Country. And they thought it was worth mentioning.
We can refer to the text of “Declaration of Independence” for further detail about their unique perception of divinity:
“And for the support of this Declaration, WITH A FIRM RELIANCE ON THE PROTECTION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
It stands to reason, that the of the signers of the Declaration of Independence had real reasons for their “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence” – both in declaring Independence and prosecuting the War.
However, it wasn’t until 1776 concluded with Victory for America that details of many forms of “divine Providence” were reported witnessed, recorded, and amassed by George Washington and many others.
There was ample fulfillment of the expectation that their cause would be victorious because it was divinely favored.
It seems to me that these references acknowledge the reality of life on this continent; namely, that there is an Intelligence and Power present here who has granted us our Liberty, Freedom, and Rights.
The acknowledgment of the Power of that Being by the Founding Fathers cannot reasonably be confused with vain or generalized religious sentiments.
I mean to say that in our present time, our nation is accountable to the “Supreme Judge of the World” – at our own invitation, partly through the text of the Declaration of Independence.
And I would assert that America itself is playing in a very different game apart from securing Religious Freedoms.
Whereas we once enlisted that Being in our victories and establishment – it would be inadvisable to turn our back on Him now.
“For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, “Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.
Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel[.]
And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.” (Isaiah 8:11-15)
This Op-Ed was submitted by David George. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.
Tags: Articles of Confederation, Bill of Rights, Common Sense, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Democrats, Founding Fathers, Political Parties, Republicans, the Federalist Papers, The Rights of Man