A democratic election is not only a vote upon the candidates, but also a vote on the electorate.
America’s second president, John Adams, said, “The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.” He reiterated this idea, stating, “Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Could it be that our presidential candidates only exhibited the lack of virtue reflected in the American electorate, made only more conspicuous by inflated egos and the corruption of unalloyed attention?
We find ourselves as a nation increasingly polarized. How can we expect those who govern us to be “good and moral” people if we as a populous can no longer agree upon what is good?
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”
It has been said that without a vision, the people perish. Are we perishing in large part because we have lost the vision and the virtues that this vision required?
Aaron Hensley, M.D.