Sunday, February 15, 2009

An Elect Lady

To quote Monty Python, "and now for something totally different." I very rarely share my opinion on things. Even as I type, read, and think about this, I get a little shaky. I am no scholar or speechwriter, so please lower any expectations you might have.

The November elections were intense and sometimes brought out the worst in people, as is typical. As I have immersed myself into study of the past and current state of our country, I have thought about the word "elect."

The verb, elect, is defined as "to select by vote for an office or for membership." The noun: one that is chosen or selected. George Washington was twice unanimously elected as the first president of our country, refusing an exorbitant salary and the titles wished upon him. He reluctantly accepted a second term, but refused a third. Washington was not a member of any political party and hoped that they would not be formed, fearing conflict and stagnation. He was known for his humility.

Lincoln invoked the principles of human equality using the Declaration of Independence as his Bible. He longed for true equality for everyone. In the Gettysburg address--a two minute speech--he recognizes the import of the document (four score and seven years from 1863 was 1776): "...our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.... It is...for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us...that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government--of the people, by the people, for the people--shall not perish from the earth."

Let me reiterate what he said: that government--of the people, by the people, for the people. I want to go on to the floor of the Congress and repeat that phrase. I think the fact that our elected leaders pushed through in less than 24 hours (someone had an award to receive in Italy and didn't want to miss that photo-op) a 1,000+ page document that will affect the lives of my great grandchildren is shameful. This so called stimulus bill that nets my family an additional $12 a pay is laughable. I am not in need of government assistance and am fearful of the long arm the government wants to reach into our lives. (Universal Health Care? No thanks!) It is full of backdoor spending that benefits the good ole' boys (and girls).

I am stunned by the fiscal irresponsibility and near God complex that is worn by those the people elected to represent us. Their lack of integrity and personal accountability is unacceptable. Were I to run my life and family in the same manner, my name would be Mudd. If I claimed that TurboTax was at fault for my inability to correctly pay my taxes, would the IRS give me a free pass, even supporting my appointment to a top position in the government? Not likely. I would be hunted down and forced to pay or be thrown in jail.

And now, a 180 degree turn. Last week as I was reading my scriptures, I had the following thought go through my head: "I hope that someday, after I'm gone, people will think of me as an elect lady." At that very moment, Maggie passed me a note that said, "What does it mean to be an elect lady?" It blew my mind! She, of course, was thinking about something else and we were reflecting upon the same phrase at the same moment, possibly for similar or different reasons. How does the word "elect" apply in this case?

For some background for any unfamiliar with the phrase, Emma Smith--the wife of Joseph Smith, Jr.--was referred to as "an elect lady" by Jesus Christ in section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The footnote for "elect" is defined as "one chosen or set apart." The adjective form in the dictionary is defined as "selected by divine will for salvation." Isn't it interesting how the same word can bring such opposite feelings? Election season is contentious, annoying, and divisive. Being an elect individual brings with it a sacred responsibility. I have recently thought about doing extensive research on the history of our country and the constitution to prepare myself to enter the world of politics. And yet, in the eternal scheme, I'd rather be an elect lady of the Lord.

I guess I'll put my trust in God and not in the arm of man so I can be elected to the right position.

1 comment:

Cherise said...

Well said. Unfortunately, there is nothing "elect" about our "elected" officials. I just hope that this handbastket our country is riding in is heat-resistant. And by the way, the rest of us already think of you as an "elect lady".