As I sit and listen to the congressional debates regarding the repeal of Obamacare, I can’t help but wonder to myself, how did we get here? How did we get ourselves into a position in which Americans now believe that the Government is the answer to all our woes and in which we allow said government overarching control over our lives? How did we allow people to represent us who have zero understanding of the meaning of the Constitution and the premise behind how our government is to be behave? How?
As easy as it would be to place blame on either the left or right, ideologues who have corrupted our political system, etc, it’s just wouldn’t be intellectually honest to do so. Our slide into this perversion of America has been aided by both sides of the political aisle. Republicans and Democrats are equally at fault, so how? Sadly there is but one answer: We have no one else to blame but ourselves. It is the voting public who has allowed our government to become the very beast that our founding fathers warned and sought to protect us from.
When I look at what our country has become, I find myself disgusted. We have figuratively pissed on the memories of our founding fathers and their vision for our country. These were men that gave their lives, their freedom, even their personal wealth to help create a system that curtailed the power of an obtrusive government and provided for the freedom and liberty of it’s people. They came from an era when government left unchecked, would constantly and consistently trample on the governed. Therefore, after great personal and group sacrifice, they declared that government had no right to impede the liberty of free men and waged a war to guarantee that the future of this country would not suffer as they did. Their legacy is a form of government never before seen by the world. They knew that government would always grow when left unchecked, but they provided a means of allowing the people to self-correct and limit that ability, however, the American people have not held up to their end of the bargain. We have grown lazy and allowed ourselves to become the governed, rather than following the blueprint that our founding set for us to be the governing.
We have grown lazy in our responsibilities to this country. Our government is one OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people, but as of late, it has become a system of the elite, by the corruption of special interest, and for the limitation of liberty. We have forgotten that it is our birthright to be self governed, allowing instead to have career politicians and political elites to determine our course. We' have grown lazy in our responsibilities to ensure that the government bows to OUR will via the methods set in place by our founders. We have forgotten that WE determine our own destiny, instead allowing a new ruling class to determine as much for us. We do this at direct insult to our past and in direct conflict with our path to remain free in the future. It’s something that we MUST fix if our country is to remain the only beacon of personal liberty in the world.
How is it that most anyone can name who the latest celebrity is dating or the latest scandal in Hollywood, but seldom few can name their congressional representatives? How is it that time can be made for the local bowling league or a night out drinking at the local bar, but few take the time to research and vet those that they elect into power? Why is it that people will set aside hours to watch their favorite sports team on the television, but are unwilling to set aside 30 minutes to an hour to try and understand the political issues of the day and how they will be personally affected by them? Why do people get upset that a homeowners association can tell them what color they can paint their house, but could care less that their government seeks to disarm them and take away choice in nearly every aspect of their lives? We have grown lazy.
I look back in history and it’s easy to see why we are such a great country. We were filled with people who took the “American Dream” to heart and worked hard to provide it for themselves and their families. The founding of this country was done on the backs of men who willing offered their lives and wealth for a possibility at personal freedom and opportunity. The west was won by individuals and families who set out seeking new opportunities knowing that they were risking their lives in doing so. The world wars showed an America that banded together to serve the interests of this country of their own will, not by government demand, by helping the war effort with time, sweat, and the buying of bonds. Charity was not the exception but the rule. Communities came together for the betterment of each other, knowing that individual success lent to community success. We were a people who thrived on individual accomplishment, possibility, and responsibility. We were a people that KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we were a free people and defended that ideal at all cost.
However, now, America no longer believes in success, but rather protection from failure. We are no longer a people who believe in assistance from our government as a final last resort, but as an expected “right”. Americans no longer take responsibility for their own actions, but instead believe that bad decisions are allowed and we expect others to shelter us from the consequences of those decisions. We went from believing that all men are born equal, into expecting that all men will be made equal, from a right to the pursuit of happiness, to a right of guaranteed happiness. Again, we have grown lazy.
We have allowed our ideals to be compromised by the vocal few and have said nothing. We watched as our government takes greater and greater control of our lives, but have remained silent. We have allowed a ruling class to strip us of liberties, forgetting that we have inalienable rights conveyed to us by god not men, and instead have let that ruling class redefine those rights as they see fit. We have forgotten to study and understand our constitution and what it means, instead allowing it be be stripped out of our children’s schools and have elected people to abide by it that have no depth of understanding of it’s true meaning. We believe that the Constitution is no longer the blueprint for our country, but instead something can is malleable and can be “interpreted” to mean whatever a person wants it to mean. We stay quiet when people throw out charges of racism or hatred in order to silence opposition, forgetting that debate is the best method to determine policy. We have forgotten that we are the greatest nation ever conceived and have abandoned our sense of national pride, deciding to portray and feel guilt for the very successes that our method of government has given us. We have grown lazy.
No one is exempt from that criticism, even myself. As you may have noticed, I haven’t written anything in a long time. It wasn’t until I had the pleasure of recently meeting new members of my family on my fiancé's side, that I realized I too had grown lazy. I tried to explain it out as I had become disgusted with the lack of common sense and complete disregard for the will of the people that had made me stop, but again, that was just lazy. What I was doing was exactly what the ruling class wanted me to do, to become disheartened and sit idly by as America was “transformed” into a bastardization of what it was meant to be. The ruling class is expecting me to shut up, they are expecting me to be lazy, so as to not challenge their rise to tyranny. I’m thankful that I met these soon to be additions to my family, because they opened my eyes to the fact that I was becoming the very thing that I speak out against, a citizen who shirks their duty to their country.
So where do we go from here? Well, in the coming weeks, I will begin laying out, what I believe to be, a method of correction. This is nothing new or profound, as our founders provided for methods to self-correct and reign in the power of our government. All it really takes is an interest and desire to fulfill our duties in self-governance. There are many methods to do this, but most important, is our ability to speak out. The fact that freedom of religion and speech were the first addtions to our bill of rights is not lost on me. We need only to speak out, let others know that we are with them, believe as they do, to organize the people to take back control of our country. We can do this via writing letters, attending town halls and meetings, or by participating fully in the campaign and election process. Each of you must figure out the best method for you, but you must make your voice heard. Our government is in our hands, therefore the future of it lies in the same. Only we the people have the power to change it, therefore, when it comes to the preservation of our freedom, we must no longer be lazy.
"Should things go wrong at any time, the people will set them to rights by the peaceable exercise of their elective rights. "
Thomas Jefferson, The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, John P. Foley, ed. (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1900), p. 842.
"Now, more than ever, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption."
James Garfield, "A Century of Congress" published in Atlantic, July 1877