By Dean Gordin
April 17, 2014
James Madison, addressing the Virginia Convention, June 16, 1788: “I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of those in power by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
Words that were certainly true in 1788 at the founding of our Republic and sadly, fully applicable and valid in April 2014. The by-passing of the legislative bodies of the national government in Washington by the Obama-Biden administration is clear and indisputable evidence that accurately describes the modus- operendi that is occurring every passing day.
It is tragic and illogical that there are those who promote the flawed concept that the Constitution is a “living document” that must be reconsidered and reinterpreted constantly. Facts are facts: The words of this profound document declare exactly what they meant when the nation was established and still mean literally, what they state clearly and directly in 2014, in this present electronic and media-dominated moment in time.
The so-called art of “governance” has become a poll-driven, “gotcha” game in not only Washington, D. C. but has sadly, permeated all levels of government; local and state as well. Standing for principle, on those rare occasions when supported, becomes overwhelmed by the PR game of appealing to the least admirable qualities of the general population, again, at all levels of government.
With a $17 trillion national debt and rising by millions every minute, this nation will, one way or another, literally drown in an economic tsunami of our own irresponsible “kicking the can down the road,” rather than facing the very real on-rushing tide of insolvency.
Those who attempt to propose and advocate genuine action to stem this on-rushing juggernaut are deemed radical, out-of-step, right-wing nut cases. There is little, if any serious consideration of realistic policy decisions that truly deal with this dangerous refusal to put our house in order, from any perspective. Case in point: Obama-Care.
President Obama has stated ad-nauseum in various versions that “If you like your health plan, you can keep it”, over the last 2 1/2 years.
The words of Thomas Jefferson in an Aug. 19, 1785 letter are appropriate to consider on this topic: “He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all it’s good dispositions.”
If the health-care shoe fits, Mr. President: wear it!
We, as a people, a society, and as a nation, ignore Jefferson’s advice and wisdom at our peril. A further parallel to the present day puts all this into context with the words of Thomas Paine, published in his treatise “The American Crisis, No. 1 on Dec. 19, 1776 worthy of our attention in 2014: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
This is wisdom to heed and take seriously today. It was true in 1776 and is tragically, all too true in 2014. The informed general electorate is in a downward spiral. Unless we as a people, come to our senses and regain a long-view perspective rather than an attitude of “what have you done for me in the last ten minutes”, we are truly doomed. It is the axiom of Murphy’s Law all over again, and the scary part is that Murphy was an optimist!
One more “minor” point: With Putin running amok and not being challenged in a manner that would get his attention, the down-sizing of America’s military capabilities at present, not only puts America at risk, but also world peace and stability.
George Washington’s axiom of January 1780 is one that is sadly, being ignored and tossed onto the trash-heap, by our current administration’s policy of shrinking our military strength to 1941 levels: “There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet an enemy.” In other words, to secure peace, be strong enough to fight and win a war!