Monday, November 07, 2005

Today in history, and the importance of your vote

November 7 has been a day to remember for its contribution to the memory of good and evil in government and elsewhere. May we learn from its lessons.

In 1793, the French Revolution had been going on for 4 years. Just a decade or so after the American Revolution, fought largely because the British monarchy held a tyrannical hand against religious freedom in the colonies, the French did the opposite and fought for a godless state, culminating on this date as Christianity was abolished, and secularism was "deified." In the next several years thousands of churches were destroyed and many priests were murdered.

In 1900, Heinrich Himmler, who was Adolf Hitler's head of the Nazi SS and the Gestapo, leading organizer of the Holocaust, and founder and officer-in-charge of the concentration camps and death squads, was born on this date. He willingly played a key role in the murder of millions of innocent people.

The 1900s would show the evils of dictatorship on a never before seen scale. November 7 dates alone show some of what was to come. In 1917, the October Revolution brought Vladimir Lenin and communism to the forefront. Lenin partnered with Leon Trotsky, who was born on this date in 1879, in bringing this to pass. The scourge of communism would lead to the deaths of tens of millions and the oppression of hundreds of millions under such names as Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, and Kim Jong Il.

On this date in 1921, Benito Mussolino declared himself to be leader of the National Fascist Party in Italy. Of course he would later team up with Hitler, who temporarily joined with the Russians before turning against them.

Thankfully, we also remember November 7 for moral and brave people and events. Evangelist Billy Graham was born in 1918, and from the 1940s through today God has used his ministry to bring millions of people to the Lord. His legacy continues through his son Franklin Graham, who preaches at many evangelical crusades.

In 1916, women finally made a significant step in government as Jeannette Rankin was the first congresswoman elected.

I'll close with a couple of lesser known but nonetheless significant events on this date. In 1876, Albert H. Hook patented the cigarette manufacturing machine, unknowingly (I imagine) making it possible to greatly increase the number of people who would become hooked (pun intended) and fall gravely ill.

And then there's journalist, editor, and ordained minister Elijah Lovejoy, who was, appropriately enough, born the same year as Abraham Lincoln--1809. But he would be murdered about 28 years earlier, on this date in 1837, because his abolitionist newspaper, the Alton Observer, was offensive to the racists of the day. This courageous man, flying in the face of pervasive bigotry, was an inspiration to those who would follow.

Tomorrow is election day. For most states, no major races are being run, so the numbers of people going to the polls will be pitifully small. Please, don't stay home. Vote. Every politician starts somewhere, and if you can make a positive change in the "lesser" elections now, that will one day carry forward to the day when some of those people become big names in government. History is full of examples of evil triumphing as the result of good people doing nothing. Do something. Pray, vote, and play your own role in making the history of the future better than ever.

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