And a raucous debate it was.
The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was birthed out of the absolute crisis and need to cure the governing structure of the colonial confederation. It took four years to call the Convention. Once convened, it took four months to agree upon the Constitution.
When the Convention delegates voted to send the Constitution to the states for ratification, Benjamin Franklin, in a conversation with James Madison, was reported to have said, “I have often, in the course of the session, looked at that sun behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now at length, I have happiness to know that it is a rising… and not a setting sun.”
On more than one occasion, the Convention delegates were at an impasse to agree on a new structure of government. At one point, the debate had disintegrated into such divisive chaos that Benjamin Franklin and others called for a recess to commit to prayer for one day.
And, so they did.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,” ratified the Constitution that became the example for the world. Franklin offered our Constitution as a template for European leaders to consider, confident that it would become the world’s new standard.
For many years, kings and dictators labeled America as an experiment, yet to be verified in its government comportment. Certainly, we have been tested throughout our history. And, certainly, America is being tested today. Confidence in our democracy has been weakened. Forty-three percent of the American public believes that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen or the subject of substantial fraud. That number is not just composite of conservatives. Seventy-four percent of Republicans question the election results. But also, 35% of Democrats doubt the validity of the reported outcome.
Another category illustrating national fracture are those who feel isolated from the benefits of American democracy. Forty-six percent of Americans think America is unfair and discriminatory as a country. Barely 54% of all citizens are satisfied with the elections or the United States as a country. The most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll indicates that a scarce 23% of citizens believe that the United States is on the right track.
Tomorrow, America inaugurates the next President of the United States. This event is beyond solemn. A peaceful transfer of power in the U.S. is the foundational hope for order in the rest of the world. The Capitol looks like an armed camp. State capitols are on high alert. Rumors of disruption abound through chatter on the internet that the sun will rise tomorrow on a day of destiny for the United States of America.
The situation renders emotion intensified. The outcome of tomorrow’s constitutionally mandated inauguration will be a benchmark in American history. The culmination of the democratic process for electing a Commander in Chief by the will of the people is on exhibit. One could come to the same moment of question facing Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention: is the sun rising or setting on the United States?
At a time so dire, so emotional, so personal to each of us in the history of our great country, we seek remedy. The only remedy appropriate is supernatural. As did our Founding Fathers, it is time for us to pray.
I therefore offer this prayer for the United States, with consummate respect for all religions, and for those who claim no religion.
Father in Heaven, I pray:
- That You, Father God, will be honored as sovereign
- That the inauguration of the next President will be peaceful in Washington, DC and in all state capitols
- That the Constitution will be respected as the supreme law
- That the republic will be strengthened through the democratic commitment of its citizens
- That, as a people, the United States will begin to heal through common purpose of freedom for all
- That societal divisions will bridge through brotherly compassion
- That every family will be made whole in the security of their pursuit of happiness
- That every citizen will feel included, respected, listened to, and loved
Franklin’s query is our query today. Faith in what is good is the power to achieve what is possible. May our faith in our country answer the question at hand, that the sun is still rising on the United States of America.
My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.
What do you believe?