America’s second contested presidential election in 1801 ended up in the House of Representatives when the Electoral College ended in a tie (between Jefferson and Burr, with Adams right behind them).
John Adams—the sitting president, and Thomas Jefferson—the sitting candidate, waited for the political quagmire to be resolved. Jefferson gives us a glimpse of the plague one must endure in the civic arena. As he waited the decision of his most recent political fight he was able to discern the coarse nature of politics in a free republic.
Jefferson conveyed to his daughter: “Warn down here with pursuits in which I take no delight, surrounded by enemies and spies catching and perverting every word which falls from my lips or flow from my pen, and inventing where facts fail them” (Meacham, Art of Power, see xviii in Prologue).
Poignantly the political arena has been offering the same main event for over 200 years. Perhaps it’s time to identify the promoter. Satan desires to stir people up. He is a liar, false accuser, and flatterer. His subtle but persistent chant: “Deceive and lie in wait to catch, that ye may destroy; behold this is no harm” (D&C 10:25). Those who wish to occupy premium seating in the arena are more prone to accept the promoter’s motto: “Lie a little, take advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor” (2 Nephi 28:8).
It is imperative that we get involved in civic activities to some degree. Our republic demands moral people be anxiously engaged. Maybe it’s time to expose the promoter, seek a change in venue, and alter the main event. Politicians and media-mongers must change their nature and soften the wild ambitions of personal gain, position, and power. So must the electorate.