Skip to comments.Elephant On The Coffee Table : The Truth Americans Won't Face
Posted on 02/12/2002 5:40:47 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
My G-d! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy. Thomas Jefferson
In his famous liberty´ speech, Founding Father Patrick Henry said, Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.´
In the United States today, that attitude is almost non-existent. Unlike Henry, we don´t want to know the truth, because somewhere deep in our subconscious there´s a nagging anxiousness that we´re not living up to our end of the bargain, that the unequaled freedom and prosperity we enjoy actually requires something from us. We push that nagging thought away, for after all, don´t we work too many hours already, and do chores around the house, and take the kids to practice and hey, aren´t we entitled to some relaxation? Besides, we´re not into´ politics, so why not let those who are play their games? If we don´t like what they´re doing, we can just vote them out, right?
But half of us don´t even bother to vote. And most who do desecrate a privilege that most of the world´s citizens don´t even have, by not bothering to learn about the issues or the candidates. No, we´re too busy´ to do a little checking, even though the records of candidates are now easily accessible through the Internet. We´ll let the news mediaor worse, campaign ads and slogansmake up our minds for us, mostly on the basis of the candidate´s position on one or two of our pet´ concerns, then smugly congratulate ourselves that we´ve done our civic duty.´ Amazingly, then, we´re outraged with self-serving politicians and their increasingly obvious contempt for our values and beliefs, and for us.
Well, what do you expect? They know you´re too busy´ to hold them accountable, so why should they care what you think,´ except to feed you the same old motherhood and country´ spiel every election? We´ve given them power, and the freedom to do with it as they please. Why should it surprise us, then, that they concern themselves only with themselves, and their continuation in office? And if that requires compromises´ well, most of us won´t even notice anyway, will we? And when these compromises or even blatant lies are pointed out, the incumbent will simply dredge up some dirt on the challenger. Then we´re left to sort it all out which they know only a few of us will bother to do, instead making our choices based on, in effect, a coin toss. Or by simply staying home on election day, full of self-righteous indignation and contempt for dishonest´ politicians and the entire nasty business of politics
But it´s that nasty business´ that is the safeguard of the freedoms we so take for granted in this country. The alternative is the truly nasty business of guns and bombs, as in Bosnia; and of tyranny, as in much of the world; or chaos, where the strongest take what they want.
We you and I the American electorate, have allowed the political process to become the farce it now is. Do you think this mess is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they risked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor´ to create this free republic? That we´d complacently allow ourselves to be ruled over by demagogues like Trent Lott, Tom Daschle and John McCain? Do you think Jefferson, Madison or Henry would so meekly accept the hypocrisy of Ted Kennedy, Diane Feinstein or those other honorable´ Senators?
It is easier to hold ourselves above the fray than to make the effort required of citizens who want to maintain the freedoms they were born to. But someone once said that freedom cannot be passed down like a family heirloom; it must be won anew by each generation. Sometimes by war, yes; but in many ways, those are the easier times, for then issues and actions required are clear. It´s during peacetime that freedom is even more at risk, for then we conveniently forget about it while living it out. It is right that we do so, but only to a point; for we must also fulfill the duty that comes with those freedoms. If we´re to remain free, there is no other choice , for there are those who, as Samuel Adams said, love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude more than the animating contest of freedom . Ben Franklin rightly said that such as these deserve neither freedom nor security.´
Many such accommodaters are in our Congress, and we assist them in their betrayal of the founding principles of this nationby not paying attention to them, except in the light they cast on themselves when they seek our support; by not fighting against their self-serving hypocrisy; and by making no commitment to maintaining the freedoms we enjoy. Even though we normally need not risk our lives in war to fulfill that commitment (though many have done so), and we´re not generally called upon to sacrifice our fortunes, our homes or our finances in the struggle for freedom, we reject that commitment. And if freedom has not involved a struggle for you, then you´ve done nothing to further its cause, but only wallowed in its benefits.
Today, the Internet makes information on political issues and politicians´ voting records easy to obtain. Yes, time is required, effort is required; but tell mewhat of value have you ever possessed or experienced that didn´t come with its own requirements of effort, time and energy? Should freedom, the greatest treasure of men on earth, be any different? We Americans have been willing to let others do our share of the work in maintaining liberty but they´ve not done it, either. As a result, our freedoms are diminished daily in the name of multiculturalism and tolerance.
We can continue behaving like arrogant, spoiled brats, or we can acknowledge the truth that more is required of us, and make a commitment to live up to our responsibilities as citizens in a free republic. But if we can´t be bothered, then the divisiveness we already see in our society will spread, the demolition of the institutions that are the foundation of our freedoms will continue apace, and in our own lifetimes, we´ll be faced with even more results than we see already of our betrayal of the legacy of freedom. What will you say to your children and grandchildren if we continue to let freedom die? If you won´t protect your own freedoms, will you at least be honest enough to shoulder the blame for the loss of theirs?
In the same speech I quoted at the beginning of this essay, Patrick Henry spoke these famous prophetic words, as much to us today as to his fellow patriots in 1775: Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty G-d! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!´
That is the choice, you know liberty or death. Death of hope, of spirit, of the limitless possibility that is America. Because we have never lived without liberty, we can´t seem to grasp that truth, and thus leave our precious freedoms in the care of those who would see us all in slavery to government, in chains of political correctness, and at the non-existent mercy of soul-less bureaucrats. And new or different politicians aren´t the solution politicians, by their nature, are the problem! Today, as much as in 1776, it is up to you and me to make the choice. And make no mistakeby our daily actions and especially by our inactions we are choosing. As long as the choice is still ours to make.
Ponder, if you will, these eerily prophetic words from Samuel Adams: The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors; they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us (by violence) without a struggle, or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men .´ Amen.
No. Which is one main reason that the general electorate was never supposed to vote for our Senators. They are supposed to be about the business of the nation, instead of working up cute little soundbites for the 6 o'clock news. I think one quick fix would turn this nation back closer to the republic than it's ever been and that would be to put the election of Senators back in the state houses where they belong. It would take away their need to run to the nearest microphone and maybe, just maybe they would go back into the Senate chamber and get something done
I, for one, live my Patrick Henry's words, and prefer to know the truth of what is happening, rather than live in ignorant bliss. I know I'm not alone.
The job of the Senate was to represent the interests of State legislatures, to ensure that the Federal govt did not usurp the powers that were supposed to stay with the States. People like Kennedy and Feinstein would never have been selected under the old system
Also, under the original system, there was one Representative for every 50,000 inhabitants (rather than our current 435 representing 272 million, or one per 625,000). It is within the financial means of the average middle-class candidate to get together the money to get his message to 50K people (or around 15-20K households). Making it over 10 times as expensive means you need big money
There is enough hypocrisy to go around. Jefferson is the guy who wrote that all men are created equal isn't he. But he meant all white men..... right? Do we really think Jefferson wasn't smart enough to realize that a black man was a man...? Much of what our founding fathers wrote and said was intended to inspire the common man to fight their war against the king. A war by in large fought because our founding fathers didn't like paying taxes, and they were smart enough to know that the king didn't have the resources to make them do it.
I'm as patriotic as the next guy... but I don't worship the words of our founding fathers... and I don't believe they were inspired of God. And I believe that writing about all men being created equal and owning slaves is hypocritical.
Stay Safe !
Outstanding essay, thanks for posting it. I agree with Franklin's observation concerning those who do not deserve freedom and security to a point. That point is that the cretins who happily trade their freedom and security away, are dragging the rest of us into that abyss. But I guess thats OK. After all, it is a democracy....right??
Vigilance is a 24/7 duty of all Americans to ensure constitutional freedoms aren't subverted.
Sad part is sometimes I feel like a Coho swimming upstream to die in my efforts.......
But heh, sometimes ya just have to get wet :o) .................Stay Safe !