Op-Ed: Democratic Elections In The Spirit Of Philadelphia

op edBy: Aaron Joseph. With the fast approaching primaries, the evasive candidate maneuvering is in full swing. Promises amount galore, arguments- for sure. Once again we are all tested. Whom to vote for?  
Every generation, and in fact every year throughout the history of our democracy beholds the serious albeit often joyless opportunity of again electing a public servant. Each candidate represents society’s best offering of willing talent. The public minded gentleman who must endear himself to the electorate; persuading young and old that he will do the best job representing every public and private interest.
 
Seemingly, they all say similar things- in different ways of course. From what I absolutely understand from all these office seekers is but one thing: “please vote for me. I can and will do things better.”
 
The one thing that is perplexing about our election system, and is a cause of much (accurate) satire or derision in the political parlor rooms around the undemocratic world is one word: experience. It is mightily funny to those that cling to their job at ruling year after year is: how as that novice American official is finally learning his office routine, his term is over; to perhaps be replaced once again by a deficient lack of experience.
 
Every year or two, or four, we Americans must once again select someone to represent our civil causes. We choose the personage who is to administer for us our shared communal welfare, and select he who will be our representation upon the world stage at large.
 
This is not nearly a simple matter.
 
Yet we vote and elect with impunity, without accurately assessing the job seekers’ qualifications. Or do we? To the extent that undemocratic theories are foreign to us, they do have that one point. The experience factor, but are they correct?
 
What is of the importance of experience?  
 
In our town, some choices are even harder to ascertain. Aside for the obvious qualifications prospective public officials must meet, many candidates are similar, both in background and in schooling. Many of their differences cannot be clearly distinguished, save for name.
 
Searching historical data for that perfect office holder, only Aron the High Priest was an appointed office holder beloved by all his people. Even Moses- considered by early commentators to have the status of Israel’s first king, had his token minority of contentious antagonists- this honored mark of distinction- for enforcing G-D’s glory- always. The book of Esther records the later date Mordechai, as to be acceptable to only most of his community.
 
In the modern historical setting of democracy and election, research can attribute but one American that was seemingly acceptable to all. A bit of background is in order as to why this might have been. 
 
William Penn, a Quaker who had suffered much religious persecution in his native England, named the capital of his colony Philadelphia. The name he chose was a derivative of the Greek compound word Philos-Adelpos, which literally means “brotherly love.” Hence, the city’s iconic nickname, “City of Brotherly Love.”
 
Philadelphia played host to the First, and Second Continental Congress. Between the years 1790 and 1800, this city was also a home of the United States Congress.
 
Mr. Penn based the charter for his colony, the Pennsylvania Frame of Government; upon some of the democratic principles that he had set forth in his earlier religious writings; writings that had helped establish the Quaker religion. These writings during his period of history where understood to be highly contentious. One recorded teaching is a most valued and important principal of modern political philosophy – the right of the individual – upon which modern democracy was later established.
 
Eventually, Mr. Penn’s stalwart Pennsylvania Frame of Government served as the mainstay of inspiration for the United States Constitution, that of which we know today. As a side note but of historical interest, Mr. Penn also wrote of forming a “United States of Europe.” This dating back to the 1680’s.
 
It is of no small historical significance that the hand of G-D caused a man prosecuted for his beliefs, to choose a pacifist name for his capital. As well as to lay out innovative political reforms that inspire yet today. It is also of important significance that the greatest political theater perhaps in the history of the modern world, the forming of our constitution; all of its glamorous arguments and resolutions which eventually produced the country we treasure today, these United States, all played out in the City of Brotherly Love.
 
How much brotherly love must have been necessitated to produce the world’s greatest democracy? What might have been our fate if those early delegates did not have the continuous reminder and lesson of Philadelphia in the forefront of their working surroundings? What might have been if the government began in the environs of Gasconade County, Missouri?
 
George Washington was first choice by his peers to preside over the writing of the United States Constitution. By the unanimous selection of all his peers, he served as the first president of that government produced by this newly ratified constitution.
 
After his death, Mr. Washington was honored with that timeless description of, “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.” The unanimous request of his peers, of George Washington to serve as ruler, can but reflect the perfect byproduct of William Penn’s Philadelphia; the city of brotherly love.
 
Is it not for naught that but one man in American history was unanimously selected by his peers to rule over them. Obviously recognized for his characteristic traits and abilities, Mr. Washington’s life experience was sought, nay, demanded to help establish a young country. As beneficiaries today, we can yet attest to Mr. Washington’s fulfilled calling.
 
While geographically situated miles away, it might prove beneficial to carry the theme and lessons of Philadelphia into your voting booth come Tuesday.
 
Our 200-year-old democratic experiment is a proven experience that our system can procure a worthy candidate, and a proper people’s representative. We the people decide for ourselves, in our touch page electric voting booth, just who we consider “first in the hearts of his countrymen”; he who meets the standards that a leader must meet. This we can do, not as those whom deride our system in the satire parlors of the undemocratic world. Rather, as proud American’s who can follow and insure the footsteps of our founding fathers; they who planted for all time that spirit of Philadelphia.
 
For with each vote we express the continuity of idea that we can choose peacefully from amongst brothers, and that we can with dignity and love select the worthy individual whom shall be first in the hearts of his countrymen. In each election, we promulgate the notion 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.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. So what do you suggest? Should we all vote for Mr Penn or Mr Washington? There is a very big difference. You claim Penn is contentious while Washinton is Beloved. Now, that is a hard choice. Has nothing at all to do with Lakewood though…..

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