Sixteen days isn't a lot of time to get much done.

Or is it?

Does the name Cincinnatus ring a bell?

It was 458 B.C. when Cincinnatus, a citizen of Rome and a familiar political figure, was approached by Roman officials for help when a nearby tribe invaded.

He dropped his plough to assume complete control over the state. But upon achieving a swift victory over the invaders in only 16 days, he gave up his power and returned to his farm. Cincinnatus’ success, followed by his immediate resignation of his near-absolutely authority once the crisis was resolved, are referenced as exemplary: sound leadership, service to his country and humility.

Can you imagine ceding power after 16 days?

Can you imagine accomplishing what you set out to do?

It's primary election season in Alabama, and I have a question.

Are we looking for men and women who want to STAY in power?

Or are we looking for men and women who can't wait to go home?

Can you imagine electing leaders like that? Who want to go home because they have a life, a family, work they enjoy, a thriving church community? Because they’d prefer that life to one spent slinking around the halls of our capital?

Can you imagine leaders who understand their purpose and the purpose of government?

By the way, and as a reminder, that purpose isn't to run our lives. I've quoted Chuck Colson before, but I believe he said it best: "Our government is set up to preserve order, to do justice, to restrain evil."

What's more, we're a government of, by and for the people.

We are the governing authorities.

Those who govern are one of us, from our communities, our schools, our churches.

We are the people.

So, the idea that we, the people, should not be politically involved needs to die. Immediately.

The Bible tells us to seek the welfare of our cities. It's in the book of Jeremiah. In fact, the Israelites were in exile when they were admonished to be active.

Yes. I've mentioned this before. But every election season, we are told that we should stay out of it, whether by family, friends or people from church.

Ok. Then, who, pray tell, should be involved?

If this is a government of, by and for the people, who is it that gets that job of seeking the welfare of our cities?

Who will do the dirty work?

Nehemiah understood this. He led his fellow Israelites in building their city’s wall. They obtained supplies from the king, but they did the work themselves. And when he told the Israelites to stand and fight and remember their sons and daughters and wives, he did so because no one else was coming to help. So they stood together, with a weapon in one hand and a tool in the other.

There was no escape hatch for them. They couldn’t turn a blind eye to politics or not get involved. They were the people then.

We're the people now.

Our officials are one of us.

Let's get this straight: If we're not running for or elected to leadership, we're supporting those who are.

This primary season, remember Cincinnatus.

A leader who eschewed power, who did what he said he would do and then went home.

Can you imagine?

He understood the need and was content to return home when his work was complete.

And who are we?

Do we understand the needs of our time?

Do we know that we can find good leaders though there is no perfect person?

Do we understand that our governing authorities are one of us?

Do we understand that our government is of, by and for the people?

There is no plan B.

We're it.

We are the people.

What will we do?

Amie Beth Shaver is a speaker, writer, and media commentator. Her column appears every Wednesday in 1819 News. Shaver served on the Alabama GOP State Executive Committee, was a candidate for State House 43 and spokeswoman for Allied Women. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected].

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