The idea that the majority shows the will of the people is a pretty good fix for now but it is not without its faults and weaknesses. That everyone decides to do something with one will is not now nor has ever been the promise of a perfect decision, direction or choice of any kind.
Looking way back in time we might start with the ancient Israelites who grew restless while roaming the wilderness. Moses took a bit more time than they expected to go up the mount to see God, and with a majority voice they decided to make a new God. Yeah, the old golden calf god, you remember. Moses returned and heads flew because of this little majority rule blunder.
The picture of people collectively exercising their will to their own hurt is repeated many times across the historical panorama. We could peruse many but let us note just a few of the more familiar ones. Getting a good leader with a whole new way of viewing things was one of the ideas of the German people not that long ago, enter Hitler. A wave of popular ascent swept Chinas youth not that long ago and the world watched in amazement as they tore every established institution to shreds and murdered and removed all those who didn’t get into the sweep of Chairman Mao.
We pride ourselves in America with the safety measures we have in place to ensure that these kinds of mass hysteria won’t fly in and wreck our system of government. Specific length of terms for public officials is one example. That leaves only one question, how has it been working?
Between 1880 and 1920 America went into a lynch mob mentality. Crowds of vigilante citizens managed to hang people as if they were mere Christmas ornaments on trees throughout this land. More people were lynched here in that short period than in all the lynching throughout the rest of the world combined, at any time in history. Churches were established in many of the places where these hangings took place. Apparently, the Bible teaching about not following a crowd to do an evil thing was not preached too very often. Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment, Ex 23:2. The will of the majority was no threat to our government in these lynchings, but it became a very real threat to many people right under the shadow of the government.
For a much broader example of the failings of the will of the majority we can jump ahead to the nineteen seventies and something more familiar. In one moment a confident and eager majority voted for Mr. Richard Nixon on his second term as President. In a landslide victory unparalleled in our history Mr. Nixon sailed into his second term. Only a few short years later, the same majority angered and fed up, wanted to give Mr. Nixon his walking papers via the good old American boot in the? impeachment. This majority may have been the best example in our history of how wrong a whopping big majority can be.
Twin – public opinion has its history as well. As a lad, I recall sitting in front of a small black and white television as newsmen revealed the shocking result of a recent opinion poll. Public polling, so new that they had to explain to viewers how they had calculated the result. They said that the people were asked, who are the three people they trusted the most in their lives? The shock was that only a few years earlier the answers were almost totally contraverted. The poll concluded that the three people Americans trusted the most were first, some close family member, then their doctors and lastly their ministers or priests. Previous polls had the order in reverse. I can remember the lingering doubt this poll left with me, were Americans more fickle feathered than firmly founded?
Next to the right to vote, Americans pride themselves with their right to voice their opinion. In fact sometimes people use their right to vote to express their opinion. Who has not heard someone say that they cast their votes for former presidential candidate Ross Perot knowing he had no chance to win. The reason for this wasted ballot many said was to? state their opinion or its little pal?to make a statement.
Enter the computer, now we can cast our opinion around instantly at nearly the speed of light. Daily news shows are calling for our votes on everything from noted trials to whether we support euthanizing someone. All too often our opinions are far removed from the trend or the actual event, but that seems to have no effect on the outcome. One example would be our opinions on, Roe V Wade. Americans have been casting their opinions on this rumbling volcano for decades; the numbers have been crunched repeatedly in favor of pro life. Like war wounded, these opinions lie tattered and defeated in the trenches of indifference. Twins, majority rule and public opinion die a tragic death alone as liberals ride off to the victory party.
The only thing worse than having an unlearned, prejudiced or heavily biased opinion is to let our opinion be tainted by?public opinion! It happens regularly. Go with the flow opinions as are common to our countrymen as are pop culture trends that burn for a time and fizzle out just before the fashions and accessories for each have flooded the market. If a war doesn’t seem popular anymore we start nay saying before the dust has settled only because the dust being kicked up at home is rising faster than the dust of our uncompleted battles. The offences cited, or the reasons for our battles notwithstanding.
Public opinion also fails to see the larger answer because it is often not asked the larger question. As an example consider how many cast their negative opinions on the heap against George Bush because, hey, where are those weapons of mass destruction? Little did we notice that right under our noses our forces had isolated, captured and detained one of the most deadly weapons of mass destruction to ever plague or threaten any people. That weapon of mass destruction is?Saddam Hussein.
Now we are being polled as to whether we think prayer should be allowed to open a session of congress or a sports event. Here is my opinion. Let’s not stop praying about anything at anytime. We need all the prayer we can get in this country and at this time. Oh, and lets not forget to pray for the twins.
Rev Bresciani is the leader of a non-denominational ministry in the New Orleans area. He has written many articles over the past thirty years in such periodicals as Guideposts and Catholic Digest. He is the author of two books available on Amazon.com, Alibris, Barnes and Noble and many other places. Rev Bresciani wrote, Hook Line and Sinker or What has Your Church Been Teaching You, published by PublishAmerica of Baltimore MD. He also wrote a book recently released by Xulon Press entitled An American Prophet and His Message, Questions and Answers on the Second Coming of Christ. Rev Bresciani has his own website at http://americanprophet.org