“One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Those words have ended the Pledge of Allegiance since 1954. That was the day that the United States Congress amended the Flag Code that was enacted in 1942 to include the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. Words that define America. Words to live by. Words we have, sadly, forgotten.
Since that day in 1954, the United States of America has been through fifteen Presidential Elections. A quick study of the men who have held that office since that day, shows us that we have elected eight republican candidates and seven candidates from the democratic party. I am sure you have varying opinions about the men who held that position over the course of those years.
I have often wondered what it must be like to sit in that Oval Office and to face that multitude of decisions every day. I have read books on several of our former Presidents including; George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. While these books gave some amazing insights into the pressures of the Office and what it is like to be President of the United States, I believe you cannot truly understand it unless you have been there. Only 44 men can lay claim to that knowledge. Soon, a forty-fifth name will be added to that list.
I grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s. During my lifetime, I have seen our nation face tragedies and scandals like the Watergate Scandal, Iran-Contra, an assassination attempt on President Reagan, Space Shuttle Disasters, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, 9-11, Countless School Shooting, Military Operations, Hostage Situations, several terrorist attacks and more. Once again, I can only imagine the pressures that face a President during those moments. I have also seen the country accomplish some amazing things. I have seen economic growth that is unparalleled in our nation’s history. I have seen the computer rise from a huge machine that took up an entire room to a small personal computer that is an invaluable part of our daily lives. I have seen the home telephone become obsolete and be replaced by a pocket computer that texts, makes phone calls, posts to social media and a hundred other things. I have seen our country stand proud as sports teams have won trophies in Olympic Hockey, Olympic Basketball, Golf’s Ryder Cups and President Cups, etc. I would imagine that for a President, these are some of the happiest times and to serve in that Office. I would like to think that a President would be proud of this country and its citizens always.
I have watched our country change tremendously. When I was growing up, my main concern was what time the neighborhood baseball game was. My biggest worry in school was passing the next test or how to approach and talk to that cute girl I sat next to in math class. I was a typical kid that faced the normal pressures of the day but I also had an awesome support system at home with my parents and brother and sisters. Policemen were treated with respect, as were teachers, parents and all authority figures. Politics could be discussed without the fear of being called an idiot, a bigot, a racist or worse. As I got older I studied hard, got good grades, worked hard at my jobs, got promoted and made a nice living. I was allowed to practice my choice of religion without fear of persecution.
Today, we live in a nation where you cannot even walk through some neighborhoods safely. Schools have become a battleground where you are forced to worry about the student next to you bringing a gun to class. All of us today face pressures that we could have never imagined 20 years ago. Traditional families are becoming the exception and not the norm. The country is completely divided; republicans versus democrats, blacks versus whites, gays versus straights, Christians versus non-Christians, etc. Policemen are being killed nearly every week. Riots are commonplace in our cities. Social Media is full of nasty, harsh, insensitive and even hateful comments just because someone does not agree with someone else on their political, religious or social views. Immigration laws are a hot topic again and the issue of abortion remains in the forefront of the election this year. Supreme Court Justices’ nominations are on the mind of many people in this election as is Same Sex Marriage and the rights of transgenders. And, yes, that is just the tip of the iceberg!
As a nation, we are going to elect either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to tackle these problems. For many of us, and I include myself in this, that is a scary statement. To be honest, neither of those candidates would be my first choice, realistically, neither of those candidates would be in my top 10 choices. However, it is what we have. Would it be easy to stay home and just not vote? I considered that for a while but then I remembered the hundreds of thousands of soldiers that gave their life so that I had this freedom to vote. Voting is one of the great rights of our free society and I believe every citizen has an obligation to get out there and vote!
I am not going to tell you who to vote for. I believe that voting is a very personal decision and I believe that every citizen has the obligation to their country to do their own research and figure out who to vote for as their conscience would lead them to. Have I made up my mind on who I will vote for in this election? Yes, I made that decision about a month ago. However, I will not tell you who it is until after the election.
As I Christian, I do take great comfort in the verse found in Proverbs 21:1. The Bible says; “The king's heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; He guides it wherever he pleases.” That is the way the New Living Bible translates that verse and I think it is a good reminder that God is always in charge. Throughout the Bible, He used Kings and leaders to accomplish His Plan. Some of those leaders were not exactly Godly people either. If God can use those people to accomplish His Plan, I believe we have nothing to fear regardless of if Ms. Clinton or Mr. Trump is victorious. However, this does not mean that you do not have to vote! Pray, do your research and vote your conscience. Our Servicemen who died for our freedom deserve that and as a citizen of this great country, your voice needs to be heard!