Romans 13 deals with earthly “rulers.” Lately I’ve been thinking about the implications of that chapter for Americans today. This nation is different from most if not all earlier ones in that, short of God himself, the ultimate rulers in this country are we, the people. The democratic foundations of government are spelled out in the Declaration of Independence, and the legal underpinnings of our democratic republic are contained in the Constitution.
So what does it mean that we, the people of the United States, are the penultimate rulers, second only to God? It means first of all that we are responsible for selecting those who lead us—president, senators, representatives—and for monitoring their performance to ensure they truly are serving honestly and in a way that represents the people’s will.
As a student both of history and current events, I’m not the first to observe that our current leadership in Washington is the worst political class ever. All three branches of government seem determined to intrude into every aspect of our lives and borrow and spend our nation off a cliff. It’s easy to grumble about the careerists and nest-featherers in D.C., how we ought to throw the bums out. But we seldom do, and never in a way that changes how business is done in Washington. Congress keeps dishing out borrowed candy to the public, and we keep lapping up the handouts, paying little or no attention to what they’re actually doing, and sending them back for more years in leadership. It’s pretty discouraging to think about, really.
Some will disagree with this assessment, of course. Time will tell whether the current course we’re on will lead our nation to a bright new day, a steady decline, or a sudden, fiery crash. But one thing is certain: as the ones who empower and sustain our national leadership, we, the people, get what we deserve, whether we’re paying attention to our choices or not.