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author on November 1st, 2010

Tuesday is the so-called mid-term elections.

Many will work through the candidates’ positions and the issues on their ballots. They will listen carefully to the news, ads and interviews. They will record the debates and play them back, pausing to jot down notes.

Then they will forget to vote.

Others won’t pay attention to anything, ask a drinking buddy what he thinks and drop the ballot in the mail without giving it another thought.

… in fact, some of them will hear about the polls being open on the radio on the way to work Tuesday, run to the polls and vote again!

And that’s how America will choose its future direction – and the way we’ve been doing it for over 200 years. Unless…

You read my Perfect Voter Guide! I’ll give you the guidance you need to help work through the issues and candidates so that you can vote responsibly. You’ll not only remember to show up to vote, but you’ll vote confidently, knowing you’ve done your patriotic duty.

Finding Your Center

Many inferior, biased voter guides will just tell you who to vote for. They’ll describe a proposition as something completely unrelated to its true purpose and make you feel like you’d have to be a fool to vote the other way.

Some will present candidates and issues in a way that will stir your passions, saying things you like or hate, and asking silly, loaded questions to bias you in some way.

Pardon my bluntness, but that’s all crap. You need to find your Center – what you believe.

Now if finding your Center sounds like a real pain, I’ve got good news for you: The fundamentals of your Center have already been established. Our Center begins with the United States Constitution.

Long before any of us were born, some really smart guys, some with really smart wives, wrote up our Constitution – the first-ever of its kind – and the basis of the longest-lasting government in world history.

This is significant, because unlike other nations which change their form of government about as often as some people change their underwear (ew!), the United States has maintained the same form of government – a Constitutional form of government – for 223 years!

Were it not for our Constitution, we’d be like all those other nations with dirty underwear. We’re the single greatest world power today because we have one pair of underwear and we wash it every day. And we patch it when it gets a hole in it, and we dye it to be cool, and we bleach it when it’s not cool anymore, and we…

Okay, Okay  – I digress. The point is that our Constitution is our Center, and all our elected officials are expected to uphold this Constitution. By the way, so are you. You uphold the Constitution by your vote.

Everyone who votes, therefore, should read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the twenty-seven Amendments to the Constitution. And if you have the opportunity, you should also read the Declaration of Independence. You should read them at least once every election cycle to refresh your memory – to keep yourself centered.

Think of the Constitution as our “Collective National Center.”

Applying Your Center

But the Constitution isn’t your only Center. The neat thing about the United States is that YOU also get to have a Center. Once we’ve learned the fundamentals of our Collective National Center – the part that is the Constitution – we can now use it as a basis – a filter or a setting of expectations – through which we can integrate our own priorities. For example:

Let’s say I want free chocolate to be available to everyone at public dispensaries (okay, I really DO want that). Chocolate contains nutrients, it makes people happy – and we all want to be happy, don’t we? Shouldn’t free chocolate be available to everyone? So the next step is to consult my Center to find out if it’s something our government is authorized to do for us. Remember that just because we all vote for it doesn’t mean it’s “Constitutional”. So I turn to our Collective National Center to set my expectations…

I might read the Constitution and say, “Yes, we can have free chocolate, because the preamble says ‘…insure domestic tranquility…’ and chocolate sure makes me domestically tranquil!”

Then I might read further on to Article I Section 8 and see a whole bunch of things that the Congress has the power to do and I see that there’s nothing – objectively speaking – that allows them to tax us for the purpose of providing chocolate dispensaries.

What do we do when our own center conflicts with our Collective National Center? We Americans are clever – we look for other ways – ways that do not conflict with the Constitution.

Just because our Federal Government can’t do it, maybe I can find another way! The 10th Amendment in the Bill of Rights says, in essence, that if the Federal Government can’t do it, maybe my State can! So we look to the State instead. But they have rules of their own, so I might have to do more homework. If not the State, maybe the County will approve it!

In the end, I conclude that I can’t have free chocolate dispensaries, even though my favorite congressional candidate promises to get them for me if I vote for her. But now we have a new dilemma – if this congressional candidate is promising me something that’s not constitutional, can I trust her to uphold the Constitution at all?

Probably not.

Maybe I should look for a candidate who is willing to uphold our Collective National Center, and is bold enough to tell me the truth about it.

All sorts of issues get on the ballot. All sorts of candidates run for office. The very first question we need to ask ourselves about each issue is this: “Is it Constitutional?” And when we choose a candidate, we ask, “Will this candidate abide by the oath of office he/she will take to uphold the Constitution if elected?”

Shouldn’t that have been taken care of before the issues got on the ballot – before the candidate was allowed to run?

The short answer is yes, it should have been. But the fact is, it hasn’t. There are lots of things that should be done but are not done. So it’s up to you to know the Constitution so that you can help preserve it. Otherwise, we fall into anarchy.

So whether you admire the Socialist model or you long for an agrarian society with no formal government, it doesn’t matter. Our Center begins with the Constitution. And so as Americans, we should filter all the candidates, the propositions and the issues through that Constitution.

The Challenge

Today, I challenge you to read the Constitution. Just read the basic document. Then, read the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution). Finally, read the rest of the amendments (there are 17 more). Before you vote, read the whole thing with a pen and notepad in hand.

You can find the Constitution all over the Internet in various formats:

Plain web text: http://www.constitution.org/constit_.htm

PDF File: http://www.usconstitution.net/const.pdf

An index of all kinds of resources: http://www.usconstitution.net/

There you have it! You should have no problem now deciding those sticky issues of chocolate dispensaries or the candidates who promise them. You can confidently walk into the polling place and make choices that represent both our Collective National Center, and your own personal Center.

You are now The Perfect Voter!