This coming Tuesday here in Virginia we have election. In Prince William County, in addition to having the opportunity to select our representatives to the General Assembly, we will be voting to fill numerous county offices. So this is an important election.
Because we have not been taught well, many of us only vote in Presidential Elections. Yes, even though it should not being doing so, the Federal Government now spends almost twice as much as state and local governments combined. Nevertheless, most of our daily contact with government still involves state and local officials. Stop and think about it. Who builds our schools, our roads, our prisons, runs our courts, and so forth?
Filling out the form will get you to a page where you can verify and update your Voter Information. Here is the tricky part. If you look further on the down the page, you will see what will be on your ballot.
Make certain you vote. Local elections are won by the voters who turn out to vote.
The most effective way to bring about change in society, therefore, may start at a grassroots level, from the bottom up. After all, politicians sometimes change their voting patterns, so the conservative senator or representative you voted for in 2012 may decide that the liberal party provides a better membership package or simply change their personal views on the issue. I’m not saying it’s pointless to vote; however, I’m arguing that participating in the political process is not the ultimate expression of the Christian faith. (from here)
I suggest clicking here and reading all of ‘s comment. What has to say is quite excellent and true. Nevertheless, I think overlooks the fact that as Christians we must participate in the political life of our country. We must do so because we love our neighbors.
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen
If we want to spread the Gospel to our family (especially our children), our friends, and our neighbors, then we must continually fight for the right to do so.
Imagine living in a Muslim nation. Did you know that at one time most of the people living in the Middle East were Christians? During the latter days of the Roman Empire, untold numbers of men and women had died to spread the Christian faith. Unfortunately, Muslim “warriors” rose out of Saudi Arabia’s dessert wastes. Preaching the “peace” of Islam, with brute force these “warriors”conquered formerly Christian lands. These “warriors” forced the inhabitants to adopt Islam. They murdered the idol worshipers who refused Islam, and they tormented Christians and Jews with special taxes and other forms of abuse. Thus, Muslim bullies did what the most powerful Roman Emperors had been unable to do. They hit upon a way of methodically extirpating the Christian faith from their conquests.
As Christians, because we believe the Bible is true, we must defend the right of our family, friends, and neighbors to choose what they believe. That is a political act, one that requires us to involve ourselves in politics. Our opponents? These are people who attempt to impose their own beliefs by force. Given the opportunity, they will deny their family, friends, and neighbors the right to choose Christ.
Rights and Due Process
What is the difference between a tyrannical government and a government that serves the People? A government that serves the People protect the rights of the citizenry. Before the government can deprive any citizen of their rights, a free People requires their government to follow specific procedures. Otherwise, there no use in saying that any citizen has any rights. Without the requirement to follow specific procedures, government officials can ignore the rights of the citizenry and arbitrarily do as they wish.
What are rights? This dictionary definition of rights is not very helpful. Either we get dragged into the definition of a right (which has many definitions), or we get dragged into an ambiguous definition of civil rights. The trouble, however, is not with the definition. The trouble is with our propensity to abuse language. Because we have a pronounced tendency to call anything we want a right and a large sense of entitlement, anything and everything has become a right.
So what are our rights? Here I think it is worthwhile to consider the etymology of the word right (see here and here). What the references suggest is that we derive our “rights” from the impropriety of denying someone the ability to exercise their own capacity to do what they should do. If someone wants to do what is in accordance with what is good, proper, or just; what sense does it make to stop them? The last thing morally upright people want is a government that prevents them from doing what they should do. Yet don’t tyrants have their own ideas? If a good man speaks out against villainy in high places, won’t those in power attempt to silence him? When ordinary people try to fulfill their obligations to feed, cloth, shelter, and educate their children, won’t the greedier of our elites connive to separate those parents from wealth that would otherwise be used more appropriately? Therefore, our rights originate from a desire of the People, the desire to do the right thing.
This is a point that mastersamwise has striven to make in many of his comments (see here, here, here, and here, for examples). Our primary interest in protecting each others rights lies in our desire to enable each other to do what is good, not what is evil. Unfortunately, government is not especially good at distinguishing between good and evil. Therefore, instead of just protecting the individual’s right to do good, we protect the individual’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is, we each use the law to protect each of our family, friends, and neighbors from each of our other our family, friends, and neighbors.
“Due process” refers to the legal procedures we use to protect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is, we require government officials to follow specific procedures and accord each citizen the due of process of law. Consider this excerpt from Legal Information Institute.
The Constitution states only one command twice. The Fifth Amendment says to the federal government that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states. (from here)
What is in the Fifth Amendment?
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. (from here)
Who makes certain that government officials follow specific procedures and accord each citizen the due of process of law. You, me, and every other citizen. Protecting each other one of the ways we show our love for each other.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The Free Market
Some people have a disdain for filthy lucre. They portray the desire for wealth as selfish. However, there is nothing selfish about voting to ensure the prosperity of our family, friends and neighbors. When governments abuse their powers or refuse to maintain proper order, people suffer. Sometimes they don’t get enough to eat.
In addition, what we buy and sell reflects our ethical beliefs. We may not wish to buy from or sell to companies who produce products made with slave labor, for example. Hence, we we want an economic system that gives us the freedom to choose.
Theoretically, our current economic system (which still contains vestiges of Capitalism) follows the law supply and demand. Generally, when our government does not interfere in the economy, the market sets the price for goods and services. When that happens shortages are generally brief. Because it pays well, people produce what is in high demand. On the other hand, if something is not selling well, people don’t waste time and resources trying to produce it.
When government interferes in the market by favoring some goods and services over others, unfortunate economic distortions can occur (For examples from the Great Recession, see the links at the following comments: here, here, and here.). Consider some examples of what is happening now.
Our government spends far too much money. Because we let our politicians buy our votes, our taxes are too high, and our government borrows money to pay for programs we could do without. Instead of deciding for ourselves how to spend the money we earn, we let our leaders take our money from us and spend it for us.
Our government artificially jacks up stock prices by increasing the money supply. That means stocks are overpriced. Eventually, that bubble will burst.
Because of government interference in the housing market, we periodically experience housing bubbles and risk the catastrophic failure of lending and other financial institutions.
Our leaders interfere in our college level educational institutions by giving schools money and “cheap” college loans to student. Thus, we waste billions encouraging our children to acquire degrees they can’t use and debt they have trouble paying off.
Federal, state and local governments finance a monopolistic public education system. That system, increasingly incompetent and expensive, responds poorly to parental desires. Instead, the educrats running it increasingly demand complete control over the education of children. Yet because we have multiple levels of government running the system, we have trouble determining who is responsible for the mess.
Our leaders have a Constitutional responsibility to control our borders and decide who is allowed to immigrate into our country. Instead, for the sake of cheap labor and voters they can buy off, they have reneged on their responsibility. Instead, they confer costly educational and welfare benefits upon people who don’t even have the right to be here.
Instead of responding user demand, politicians arbitrarily determine how, when, and where our transportation infrastructure should be financed and built. Their politically driven decisions force many of us to spend hours each day in stop and go traffic.
Foreign governments routinely practice a modern version of an economic model known as Mercantilism. These countries prey upon U.S. industries, using their economic clout to pressure U.S. companies to locate within their borders and give up trade secrets. Unfortunately, our politicians refuse to do anything to protect long range U.S. interests. Instead, they negotiate trade deals that are too complex for the public to understand.
One of the commenters to THE SIGNIFICANCE OF YOUR VOTE — PART 2, Necessary and Proper, provided an excerpt (here) from Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman (1980). This excerpt argues against protectionism in international trade. Friedman makes the point that free enterprise both allows us to make our own choices and make the best use of the resources available. He argues that when foreign governments assist their companies and undercut U.S. manufacturers, they do so at a severe costs to their own citizens. Essentially, they give U.S. consumers a gift. Therefore, Friedman advocated for totally free markets.
We could say to the rest of the world: We believe in freedom and intend to practice it. We cannot force you to be free. But we can offer full cooperation on equal terms to all. Our market is open to you without tariffs or other restrictions. Sell here what you can and wish to. Buy whatever you can and wish to. In that way cooperation among individuals can be world-wide and free. (from here)
There may be a slight problem with Friedman’s reasoning. If U.S. investors know that the government of foreign competitors (China, for example) will drive U.S. companies out of a certain market sector, U.S. investors will not invest in that sector. Hence, foreign competitors will be able to sell their goods here at a premium prices. Moreover, if the goods over which a foreign government wants a monopoly has defense applications, that foreign government will have also succeeded in weakening U.S. defense preparedness. Therefore, in addition to keeping our own government from unnecessarily interfering with our economy, we must also defend our markets from the shenanigans of foreign governments.
Nevertheless, in a free market we each get to choose our vocation, where and how we live, what we buy and sell, and our charitable practices. In a free market we each have the fullest opportunity to follow the example of our Lord.
The reporter interviewed several people with experience in military law enforcement, including Col. Dick Black. He was the Chief of Criminal Law at the Pentagon and spent his career prosecuting rapists and putting them behind bars.
When asked his opinion about sexual misconduct between older, male drill instructors and new female recruits who have to do what they say, Col. Black warned about the dangers of placing female recruits under the control of male drill instructors and the inevitable sexual misconduct and abuse that would occur. After years of mixed gender training, Congress is holding hearings to figure out why rape in the military is on the increase.
Far from condoning the practice, Senator Black was trying to protect women from rape and abuse by preventing them from being placed in a compromising position.
MCCABE’S 2nd LIE: Dick Black questioned the existence of spousal rape
Senator Black knows a husband can rape his wife and has prosecuted this heinous crime.
Jill McCabe doesn’t tell you that Senator Black (then Delegate Black) actually voted FOR HB488, which cracked down on spousal rape.
Senator Black is the ONLY Senator in the General Assembly who has ever prosecuted a spousal rape case!
The quote she uses is during a floor debate in 2002, where Senator Black was fighting to make HB488 more enforceable.
Senator Black’s former commanding officer, Major General Hugh H. Overholt, said, “No one ever did more to protect women from rape and abuse than Colonel Dick Black. That’s why we put him in charge of the Criminal Law Division at the Pentagon.”
In 1999, a bill was introduced that would have created a new marriage contract in addition to the already existing statutes. This contract would be voluntary and the couple would attend marriage counseling before getting a divorce.
MCCABE’S 4th LIE: Dick Black wants to take away your birth control
The Supreme Court ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut back in 1965 that it is illegal to try and take away birth control.
Sen. Black has served in elected office for twelve years and has never introduced or voted for a bill that tried to take away anyone’s birth control.
When asked about the lack of evidence to prove her outrageous claim that Black wants to take away birth control, Leesburg Today wrote, “McCabe said she believes he’s against its use.” Just because Jill wants it to be true, doesn’t make it true.
Jill McCabe’s citations deal with the “Morning After Pill” which is not birth control. Birth control prevents the conception of a baby. The Morning After Pill is an “abortifacient” that causes a spontaneous abortion after a baby has been conceived. Senator Black opposes the use of the Morning After Pill.
MCCABE’S 5th LIE: Dick Black forces women to have a transvaginal ultrasound before an abortion
There has never been a bill introduced in the General Assembly to require women to have “transvaginal ultrasounds” before an abortion.
Senate Bill 484 simply gave a mother the right to see her ultrasound at abortion clinics. Unlike Planned Parenthood’s policies, the bill did not require “transvaginal ultrasounds.” When complaints were raised that the bill’s language could “imply” the need for transvaginal ultrasounds, Senator Black told the Governor to clarify the language so transvaginal ultrasounds would not be required.
Senator Black is a loving husband, married for 47 years. He is a devoted father and grandfather to his daughter and six grand-daughters. He has spent his life upholding the values of a gentleman, seeking to protect women and children from abusive relationships as a prosecutor in the JAG Corps and in the General Assembly.
To make up such outrageous accusations and lie about someone with a lifetime of dedicated service demonstrates just how low Jill McCabe is willing to stoop. Rolling out these lies just 10 days short of an election illustrates her inability to challenge Senator Black on the issues.
If you can’t trust Jill McCabe to tell the truth in her campaign, how can you trust her to keep her word if she is elected?
On Monday I sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation, Aubrey Layne and the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) asking them to delay their vote yesterday to give preliminary approval to the I-66 Outside the Beltway tolls until they could meet in Northern Virginia and hear from concerned citizens. (Check out the Fox5 story above.) Unfortunately, they ignored my request. The final CTB vote to go ahead with the tolls in the I-66 project will be on December 9th in Northern Virginia. If you live in Northern Virginia I encourage you to contact VDOT at email@example.com with your concerns and plan to attend the meeting if at all possible. If you don’t live in Northern Virginia this should still be an issue of concern to you since it will set a precedent that the Governor and unelected Board members can take a road that is already paid for and slap tolls on it in spite of massive citizen opposition.
I have reviewed the Transform 66 website (www.transform66.org) and sent another letter today to Secretary Layne and Governor Terry McAuliffe encouraging them read VDOT’s own website because it conflicts with some of the statements they have made with regard to the Transform I-66 projects.
VDOT’s own 2012 and 2013 studies said:
tolls would be from 15-20 cents per mile;1
the conversion of existing I-66 lanes to toll lanes “do not assume that existing lanes would be tolled,” and “were not analyzed;”2
that public support for tolls would have to be generated, and that questions remained about tolling existing lanes.3
Secretary Layne and Governor McAuliffe are undermining public trust for this project by failing to properly inform the public. No I-66 Message Boards were used to alert drivers to potential tolls and they have provided no analysis nor justification for such tolls.
The 2014 VDOT I-66 survey of I-66 users mention tolls four times, but not the price of such tolls. How can the Commonwealth Transportation Board vote to give authorization to this project without even know the costs of the potential tolls?
I fully support the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority prioritizing using the annual $315 million in funds they receive from the Northern Virginia taxes collected to widen I-66 inside the Beltway, expedite extending VRE to Gainesville/Haymarket, add additional parking at VRE and Metro parking lots and create 4,000-6,000 park and ride spaces in areas that do NOT take family farms.
Delegate Bob Marshall
1 “The toll for the peak periods in the peak direction for Package 1 was set at 15 to 20 cents per mile (in 2007 dollars), depending on the demand in each segment. In the reverse-peak direction for the peak periods the toll was about 20 percent lower than the peak.”[page 3-25 I-66 Multimodal Study Final Report, June 8, 2012 http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/resources/NorthernVirginia/I-66_Multimodal_-_Final_Report.pdf 2 “ … Options that simply converted existing lanes to tolled lanes were not analyzed; rather it was assumed that any tolling option would require adding additional capacity.”
“… the tolling scenarios assessed for this high-level Tier 1 tolling analysis do not assume that existing lanes would be tolled, but rather that tolls would be applied to new roadway lanes, with the most likely scenario resulting from tolls applied as part of a HOT lanes system that allow 3+ occupant vehicles to avoid paying the toll. [Page 9-8, Transportation Technical Report, I-66, http://www.vdot.virginia.gov/projects/resources/NorthernVirginia/I66_TransportationTechnicalReport_2013-02-25-ForWeb.pdf ] 3 “Policy issues with tolling existing capacity on an Interstate wold need to be addressed; Potential policy issues with tolling Dulles Airport users; Public support for tolling existing capacity would need to be addressed.” [page 1-4, I-66 Multimodal Study, Supplemental Report, August, 2013, http://www.virginiadot.org/VDOT/Projects/Northern_Virginia/asset_upload_file118_54324.pdf
I-66 Improvements Study, Finalized Survey, Southeastern Institute of Research.