Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Vox Populi

Vox populi is Latin for “the voice of the people; the popular opinion.” The term bespeaks the power of the current election campaign and Super Tuesday. Isn’t it wonderful to have such a democratic voting process where the will of the people is granted? It wasn’t too long ago that the people here in Iraq were able to vote. Indeed, the majority won.

I read the United States Constitution today. What a wonderfully inspired document!

Article II, Section 1 states of the President:

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:-- “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The Founding Forefathers formulated a government that would grant people to be free—where the people would rule, and a single person or a group of government officials would not rule and could not rule with anarchy and chaos but would represent the will of the people.

Prior to his death one ancient king created a government with judges and relinquished the power of one man to rule with limitless authority. He told his people,

Now I say unto you, that because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or kings to rule over you. For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction! (The Book of Mormon, Mosiah 29:16-17)

When we look for examples of totalitarian rulers, warlords and the like, throughout history and throughout the world, this proclamation truly has profound merit. We can consider the likes of: Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, Nicolae Ceaucescu, Benito Mussolini, or more recently, George Habash, Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jung-il, Augusto Pinochet, and Usama bin Laden.

Continuing, this aforementioned king, said,

Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people. (Mosiah 29:26)

In American and throughout the modern world people can vote by their own volition. That’s a privilege we often don’t consider.

In a very early period in history, the Latin term referenced above was often used as a small part of a bigger saying: Vox populi, vox Dei, meaning “The voice of the people is the voice of God.” In other words, as mentioned, usually the voice of the people desire that which is good.

In a letter from the scholar, poet and teacher, Flaccus Albinus, to Charlemagne (a.k.a. Charles the Great, the “father” of Western Europe) in 798, Albinus wrote,

And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.

He has a good point, and to that I would say refer again to the above citations and, keep reading. Because truly, rebellions, insurgencies, coup d'états, as well as ethnic cleansings, genocides or whatever you want to call it, are promulgated by the will of a band of people. The will of the Nazi Schutzstaffel (S.S.) was similar, although demonic and devilish. The janjaweed, literally “devils on horseback”, who are murdering people in Sudan are bound together with the same ilk.

This is why integrity must come before loyalty. Loyalty to integrity and just principles are more important than loyalty to an idea or a social pathway. Loyalty knows no virtue. It cannot distinguish cults, criminal or terrorist gangs, ideological or moral err, nor social deviance.

Of a necessity wars and low-intensity conflicts have occurred from the beginning of time, some justly fought for the defense of human liberties. All over the globe, there have been skirmishes, insurrections and rebellions in the name of political voting. Consider the current intransigency of the leaders and tribal fighting in Kenya. That convoluted mess will likely continue for some time.

I can think of dozens of countries and leaders, from the Orange Revolutions to the Rose Revolution, and from Central America to the Levant to the Sub-Saharan Africa, who fight for right and reason and, on the corollary, have fought for the trivial and unjust.

Wouldn’t it be great if every country enjoyed the freedoms and prosperity and wealth of the United States? I don’t mean that to sound hubristic or boastful.

Wouldn’t it be great if every child could have a safe home, quality medical care, and food in their bellies?

It sure is good travel outside the United States every so often to see how really good we have it. It makes me want to become a philanthropist—a humanitarian do-gooder—forever.

P.S. I just learned that some good friends of ours are moving to India to work for a while. They are going to learn lessons in gratitude most of us have never even considered. I think that will be a wonderful experience for them.

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