Educated & Engaged

2016 | Week of December 26 | #1183

Enjoy this week of relative national and state calm because next week the fun in Madison and in Washington D.C. begins in earnest. A newly elected state Assembly and Senate and US House of Representatives and Senate will be sworn in, and we all know what that means. News of differing agendas, driven by differing personalities and world views will fill the airwaves and internet, along with stories of the passing of the presidential torch on January 20.

So what will it mean to you? Perhaps you’re like the highly educated, very motivated 30-something from China who is visiting America right now who told me her generation just doesn’t care any more about who is their president or who is in power in the provinces and the cities. She says all that is important to them is that they can have good jobs and a good life.

I hope that’s not the case with you. Fortunately, America is not China. Our Constitution begins with “We the people.”  China is all about big central government whose officials are remote from the people.

In America, our candidates aren’t thrust upon us; they come from among us, especially at the local and state levels and really at the Congressional level, as well. It’s understood that we will know who they are and what they stand for before we go to the polls. Our vote matters, and our elections have very real consequences. In addition, we have much opportunity to shape those consequences, even after elections.

It’s understood we can get in contact with our elected officials, from Congress down, to give our opinions, to seek help, to explain our positions and to urge those who represent us to take a certain course of action on any given issue. We expect those we elect to be out among the people, among those from whom they came and whom they represent.

It’s also understood—or should be—in America that we will stay informed about our government. When “we the people” aren’t knowledgeable about what is going on at every level of government, we can very quickly become victims of the system—and much of that would be of our own doing—or lack of doing. Hence, a very active media both mainstream and non-mainstream.

The founding fathers knew for a Republic to work and last, the people must be educated so they can be engaged in their government. In their era that meant people were taught to read, write, compute and think. Many of the textbooks used then were heavy with Scripture and biblical principles, guiding both actively and passively the values of those learning. American history, government and civics were regularly taught. This education was intended to prepare the people to be knowledgeable, involved citizens—full participants—in their Republican form of government, before, during and after elections.  Today, well, that’s a different matter for many, but certainly shouldn’t be for Christians.

So, as we begin a new year and new legislative sessions in our state and national capitals, here’s a challenge for you: take being “we the people” seriously.

First, pray for those who represent you. Pray primarily that they come to faith in Christ if they are not already believers. Then pray for wisdom and that God would rule and overrule in their decisions and plans. Pray for those who advise them and for their family.

Next, early in January, call some of your elected officials—from school board through Congress. Introduce yourself. Thank them for their service—and even if you don’t agree with their positions on issues—public service does demand personal sacrifice. Then let them know you will be paying attention throughout the session and will be letting them know your opinions on various matters. If there are issues that are extremely important to you, in general, let them know—such as pro-life matters or student privacy protection or religious freedom. Contact information for local, state and federal officials is easily found on the Internet. Or you can call us at 888-378-7395 and we can help you with that.

Finally, to make a strong connection with your state legislators, plan to attend our Day at the Capitol on Thursday, March 23.  That’s a day that’s all about connecting you directly with your state government. For details visit our website or call us at 888-378-7395.

Yes, it will start getting noisy again next week. But instead of bemoaning that or covering our ears or ignoring it, we should use it as a reminder that we are part of “we the people,” and that for this government to truly be “of the people, by the people and for the people,” “we the people” must be educated and engaged.

For Wisconsin Family Council, I’m Julaine Appling, reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

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