The long road ahead: Who will step up to lead the way, or will we just keep watching TV?

Published 9:57 am Wednesday, July 1, 2015

by Jack Randall

A problem is defined as a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.

Every person and every organization has had a problem during their existence. The problem if not addressed will get worse over time. At some point leaders either by their volitional act or necessity will address the problem. Problems do not spontaneously disappear or eliminate themselves with a bolt of lightning.

On June 28, 1787, this country had a problem. The Constitutional Convention was called in an effort to seek solutions to problems the nation experienced under the Articles of Confederation. The gathering of leaders lasted five weeks and was full of disagreements; the meeting was almost called off. This meeting was to determine the overall structure of our country going forward. Then delegate Benjamin Franklin stood up and began to speak:

“In this situation of this assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Britain when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the Divine Protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered… And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?

We have been assured, sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel… and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages. I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business.”

After this call to leadership the Convention took three days off and reconvened and after 10 weeks of hard work and prayer our forefathers had finished the U.S. Constitution. This document has guided America to become the longest on-going constitutional republic in the world.

After the work was completed some leaders had comments. Alexander Hamilton stated, “For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system which without the finger of God never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.”

James Madison responded, “It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it the finger of that Almighty Hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the Revolution.”

Benjamin Franklin read Acts 17:28 to the delegates after completion of the work on the Constitution.

Currently we have many problems. These problems are locally and nationally. Whether the problems or perceived problems be lack of involvement at our local church, leadership, healthcare costs, the national debt, local budget for schools and capital projects or recent Supreme Court decisions, they need to be addressed by the people. Small problems unaddressed or ignored slowly grow to open Pandora’s Box that will make small changes affecting everything in our family’s lives. For example, the recent Supreme Court decision on marriage will transform healthcare practices to college athletics and non-profit tax-exempt status to professional licensing standards. Many problems in our country’s new policy is literally just beginning. We have a duty to let our voice be heard as citizens. Inaction is not an option.

We must make time in our busy schedules between dance, baseball, football, basketball, swimming, Redskins games, CNN, Fox News and whatever else (yes, I have three children and a wife) to act on our duty as citizens of this great country. Duty was the character trait of Jesus. He loved us because it was the right thing to do; He went to the cross because it was the right thing to do; He forgave us because it was the right thing to do. It was His duty. He did not compromise or do what was politically correct.

Our Founders talked about this trait, Samuel Adams stated, “the man who is conscientiously doing his duty will ever be protected by that Righteous and All-Powerful Being, and when he has finished his work, he will receive an ample reward.”

John Jay, the first Chief Justice, stated, “all that the best men can do is to persevere in doing their duty . . . and leave the consequences to Him who made it their duty, being neither elated by success (however great) nor discouraged by disappointment (however frequent and mortifying).”

In conclusion, honest citizens of faith need to regain the concept of duty. Citizens need to not be immobilized by fear or political correctness and step out of the pews, churches, small businesses, homes, workplaces etc. to act. It would have been politically correct before 1776 to support the British and pay their taxes and during Jesus’s ministry to follow the Jewish Pharisees. This, of course, is not the right decision and not what occurred. We as leaders need to be bold and make difficult decisions and not just ignore them. We can act through our charitable giving, our Churches, our families, our conduct, our workplace and our votes. What if Benjamin Franklin did not step forward in a time of crisis at the Constitutional Convention in 1787? Farmers, lawyers, blacksmiths, journalists (Common Sense), laborers and other common middle class citizens stepped forward when our liberty was threatened in 1787. Founding Father John Quincy Adams stated, “Duty is ours, results are God’s.”

Now is the time for people of faith to be silent no more and get to work, for our children’s sake today in 2015. We can learn from the past in how we act in the future. We cannot wait until next year and turn the page or channel.

Jack T. Randall is a Courtland resident, practicing attorney and member of the Southampton County Planning Commission. His email address is