BLESSED NATION (Article) by Dr. Abidan Shah
(Published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson on October 1, 2020)
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)
One of the happiest days of my life was when I took the pledge of allegiance as an American citizen. It was a long process over several years of interviews, fees, submitting legal documents, and written examination. I often remind my fellow Americans that the reason I value my American citizenship is because, for me, it was not an accident of birth. I had to work to be an American.
My decision to become an American citizen was not persecution or poverty. After much study and prayer, I found the American political system to be one that would best protect my rights against the majority. I saw the wisdom, foresight, and courage of the Founding Fathers in putting in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Founding Fathers were not only trying to prevent the tyranny of a king, but they were also trying to prevent the tyranny of the majority. In his recent book, Dinesh D’Souza notes 8 block and tackle measures they created to keep the majority in check:
- A Written Constitution: a supreme charter that would override the will of the majority and keep the government in check. This could be amended but the process is very difficult.
- The Bill of Rights: a series of limitations on the government to protect free speech, press, and the free exercise of religion; also, the rights of citizens to assemble, to bear arms, to enjoy the due process of the law, and to be protected against unreasonable search and seizure.
- The Supreme Court: an autonomous authority that upholds the Constitution and protects the rights of the citizens against the majority.
- A Representative Government: elected leaders to represent people. If you don’t like your leaders, go vote.
- The Separation of Powers: 3 branches—Legislative with elected officials in the House and Senate, together forming the Congress. Their job is to make the laws; Executive with the President who acts as the head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. He implements and enforces the law by appointing heads of federal agencies and Cabinet; Judiciary with power to arbitrate and resolve legal disputes. They are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
- Federalism: shared power between national government and state government.
- Checks and Balances: Congress makes laws but the President can veto them. To overturn a veto, it requires congressional supermajority. The President can enforce the laws but the congress and the judiciary branches provide oversight. The judges interpret the Constitution, but they are appointed by the President and confirmed the Senate.
- The Electoral College and the 2 branches of the legislature – the House and the Senate: The President, members of the Congress, and senators are elected by the people. However, the Electoral College makes sure that the bigger states with more people do not decide the presidency. Each state has 2 senators a piece but the smaller ones have fewer congressional representatives.
The point is not that the American political system is perfect but that our Founding Fathers wanted to create a nation that would be fair to everyone. By God’s hand, they came up with an amazing system of checks and balances. Our nation even fought a bloody Civil War to end slavery. But, in each generation, our leaders knew that this would happen but the nation would go on because it was built on the right foundation. As we go to vote, let’s not forget that we live in a blessed nation.