The time for a constitutional and a moral-discipline message has come. Seasonal adherence to party platforms and anti-"other party" rhetoric is not the answer. Neither is a mere message of undefined hope. National and state political stages are ready for new leads.
James Flexner, a George Washington biographer, wrote of the first president's decision to leave public office after two terms: "He saw the election as a potential demonstration to all the world that republican institutions were, in their purity, viable. … Despite much discussion of the issue, that document (the Constitution) had not limited the number of terms a president could serve. Washington wished the succession to be determined, in an absolutely republican manner, by the ballot box. This would be the culmination of his own career, his final gift to the world."
Washington wisely set a precedent that would curtail a "pre-established heir" or line of royalty. More importantly, he dissolved any potential accusations that he had a self-absorbed ego — he was not indispensable.
Anyone who thinks he or she is indispensable needs to be dispensed. Regardless of how politics works in Congress, anyone who talks of keeping his elected office because of his supposed power, position or seniority has lost the purity of representative democracy.
Today, we see public officers extending their stay. The purity, virtue and viability of our institutions beckon revolving leadership of good, wise and honest people. Utah doesn't have scoundrels in office. But we do have exceptional men and women on the sideline ready to bring their fresh ideas, personality and purity for the viability of our republic. Our heritage proves it so.
It is healthy to see individuals step forward and challenge long-standing public servants who have ignorantly — or selfishly — stayed too long. We should sustain and look for worthy newcomers who are constitutionally alert to the preservation of liberty — individuals, I hope, who will stand in the halls and chambers of the U.S. Senate and say, "No more!"
No more unscrupulous legislation with excessive spending and devious governmental intervention.
No more catering to individuals seeking "special interest" designation or particular groups wanting to be granted "protected class" status.
No more unnecessary foreign entanglements.
No more government competing with the private sector.
No more dishonest leaders, dads and sport icons.
No more broken families and distracted mothers.
No more supporting wickedness in "high places."
This will be difficult. Elder D. Todd Christofferson notes: "Self-discipline has eroded, and societies are left to try to maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we've become."
The sad clamor we see from individuals claiming government is the only answer is starting to be repulsive in more and more American minds. Self-worth and strong families, once notable American strengths, are undermined by obtrusive expansion of government. We need leaders who are not afraid to say that big government destroys faith in God and dependence upon Him. We need leaders who are willing to confront the public's lack of moral discipline, having confidence that a reformed heart changes behavior — a message stressing "internal care" rather than health care.
There is a divine correlation between individual effort and obedience to the Lord's commandments and the receiving of his blessings.
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord."
Ryan Jenkins of Layton writes religious curricula for a living.