If ever you felt that our course was drifting; if ever you shrugged life off as nothing but the bottom of an up-turned beer bottle; if ever you felt like a wide-eyed animal being herded inevitable closer to the gunshots, then heed the calling of a generation three thousand years before our time.
In the times of the Old Testament profit, Samuel, Israel was roughly a 300-year-old somewhat democratic form of government, freed from bondage in Egypt and given a new country. Israel was one of the few lucky nations without a king, governed by a system of judges. Today, we are a 220-year-old democracy, freed from bondage to England and given a new land. Providence has established a system of democracy in America unrivalled throughout the world.
But like the Israelites, we've become ungrateful, apathetic and fearful. We've become ripe for exploitation. We've forgotten the lessons of our fathers, their sacrifices and the cost we all should be willing to pay for freedom for our children.
In the old days, Israel faced the threat of attacks from the Palestinians. Today we are at "war" with the "terrorists." To deal with those Palestinians, Israelites clamored for a king to replace their hallowed and invaluable system of judges. They wanted a tough guy (even though Saul was really a wimp) governing their country. They wanted a militaristic leader who would lead the fight against the Palestinian threats.
But Samuel warned the people about this course of action. Today, we are told that protecting America from "the terrorists" comes at the cost of the integrity of the constitution. Time after time, the White House has been exposed illegally wiretapping Americans or torturing detainees, yet we do nothing because "that's the price we have to pay to be protected." In the same way, the Israelites faced serious concessions if they were to have a king. Samuel listed those sacrifices:
"[The king] will take your sons and appoint them for his own [tank divisions] chariots and to be his horsemen, and some [army and marines] will run before his chariots.
He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some [Lockheed Martin] to make his weapons of war and equipment for chariots.
He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers.
And he will take the best of your [oil] fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to [Chevron] his servants. He will take [your taxes] a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to [Halliburton] his officers and servants.
And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your FINEST YOUNG MEN, and your donkeys, and put them to HIS work [securing oil in Iraq.]" (Samuel 8:11 New King James Version)
But the Israelites threw their fists at Samuel and shouted him down. "We'll have a king!" they shouted, "That we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles!"
The prophecy was made, yet Israel cast the dice. Fate and God stood against Israel for abandoning Him in favor of a fallible and corruptible man. The last of the long line of kings that followed Saul was deposed and Israel was a ruined country.
The first king to usurp the Israelites' democracy was Saul, the bumbling son (Samuel 15:11) of one of the most powerful (Samuel 9:1 NKJ) men in Israel, Kish.
In all likelihood, the elders of Ramah installed (Samuel 8:4) Saul. They focused the people on preeminent attacks against the Palestinians whom they considered terrorists (Samuel 8:20, 13:3). They also attacked Saul's political opponents, the democratic judges whom God favored, by charging that they were perverting justice (Samuel 8:3).
The people sinned when they listened to these liars. They sinned when they chose to replace God with a tough looking king figure. They were traitors to their inheritance when they abandoned a 300-year-old system of democracy in favor of tyranny. They were traitors to God for trusting a man with a crown over the Omnipotent Judge.
History now looks back upon this generation of Israelites as an abomination to God who brought them out of slavery in Egypt (remember England). They were also an abomination to the generations of children who followed them and suffered beneath the tyranny that this generation welcomed with open arms and false promises.
Several thousand years later, I hope you can see the similarities to the crossroads at which the Israelites stood and at which America now stands. We can choose to have a king. It's as simple as giving President Bush a Congress and Supreme Court that will implement his every scheme for the profit of himself and his friends. We can choose to place our faith in a fallible man.
But to make that choice; to stay home, or to not vote for democratic change in Washington is as good as abandoning God and betraying our ancestors. To let one man retain his tyranny, derived through a majority of obedient political servants in Congress, is to freely give away a democracy purchased with the blood of millions of men and women braver than ourselves.
President Bush and Karl Rove have chosen a course. They are going to steal this election. After Tuesday the ball will be in your court. How many of us have reflected upon 9/11 and said, "If only I was on that plane and I had known; I would have led the charge against those hijackers and risked my life to save hundreds of others." You can sit and whimper in fear until the inevitable crash of our system of democracy, or you can charge the streets when this election is stolen.
Your first job is to vote. You can't claim that an election was stolen without voting. Your second job is to prove that we as a nation are not too selfish, cowed, and ungrateful to be willing to give, at most, the blood our ancestors, friends and relatives gave to purchase us this democracy and the good lives we lead; at least, to do more than simply cry to ourselves when Republicans miraculously retain majority power despite boldface contradictions between their victory and the sentiment of the majority of the people in this country.