Super Tuesday results are in. What have we learned?
Hillary Clinton now has a commanding lead in the Democratic race. Marco Rubio won Minnesota; Ted Cruz won Oklahoma, Alaska and his home state of Texas; and Donald Trump won the rest of the states. Both Rubio and John Kasich can win their home states in two weeks. If that happens, as one pundit said, “it’s going to go on and on and on.”
Here’s something else we learned: Whether you like the results or not, the system works.
America is a nation where anyone who is a natural born citizen, fourteen years a resident, and thirty-five years of age can be president (U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1). As a result, Clinton is likely to become the first female major party presidential candidate. Trump, a businessman in his first political campaign, is the clear frontrunner for his party’s nomination. And there is increasing interest in a third party candidacy as well.
In many other nations, unrest as significant as the political turmoil of these days would lead to a coup or revolt. But our founders designed a system that continues to work 227 years after George Washington became our first president.
Here’s the down side: Our political process can accommodate negative cultural and moral change, but it cannot prevent it.
Consider the Ten Commandments, long seen as the foundation of Judeo-Christian civilization. Which are enforceable by law? The sixth, eighth, and ninth, prohibiting murder, theft, and lying. In other words, sins against other people can be punished through our legal system.
But the commandments against private sins are not subject to law. How would you enforce commands regarding idolatry, taking God’s name in vain, remembering the Sabbath, honoring your parents, and refusing adultery and coveting? Yet these imperatives are foundational to our society and our future.
The Founders knew that the system they created could not succeed if the people it governed were not themselves moral. John Adams was blunt: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.”
As a result, he famously concluded, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Job was right: “The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding” (Job 28:28).
If we do not fear the Lord and turn from evil, what is our future? If we do, what is our future?