Everyone loves the Declaration of Independence. It gave rise to the great American republic. Each year we greet its anniversary with a passionate outburst of celebratory joy.
Less recognized, perhaps, is the obvious truth that the Declaration is the seminal American right-to-life statement. In castigating King George III of Great Britain, its 56 signers proclaimed, not once but twice, in their list of self-evident truths that life comes from God and that it is sacred.
“Now,” as Abraham Lincoln said, “we are engaged in a great civil war, . . .” Today’s war is being waged in two critical theatres: the senatorial review of the nomination of a justice for the Supreme Court, and the quadrennial election of a President for the United States. Upon the outcome of this war rests our American future life, with its requisite liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Nothing is certain in this strange year. The United States Senate confirmed President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, as an associate justice. Now the court will achieve a two-thirds majority of constitutional originalists, justices who endeavor to look beyond political pressures and judge on the law and their understanding of the original meaning of the Constitution (or amendment) at the time it was written.
The result for the presidency is not so easily foreseen. One hopes that we, the voting public, understand the significance of our vote. The election is highly contested and the results of the vote could signal enormous changes in life in the United States. Careless voting could bring the unwanted changes that are often called unintended consequences.
Do we want increased taxation and increased regulation? Do we disdain the protections of citizenship? What about public order? Shall we concede that our rights actually come, not from God, but from the government? Do we really want a reduction in federal protection of those rights? Do we owe an increased subservience to government as our master?
Or does our prevailing electorate comprise a majority of originalist thinkers who still expect the government to work for the people? Do we prefer less government interference in our lives and reduced taxation? Should the government uphold immigration law, strengthen our borders, and support military and law enforcement agencies? Do we still support the historic right-to-life claim that we are created in equality; that our lives, our liberty, and our ability to determine our own goals and aspirations come not from government, but from God?
Those are our choices. Our responsibility as American citizens, our sacred obligation, is to know the candidates, make the appropriate selection, and cast that all-important vote on Election Day.