Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rights and Responsibility

After writing my article 'Just Who Is In Charge' I received a few unexpected comments. Some people accused me of insulting their government and spreading anti-American propaganda. One person even went to far as to say I hated my country, which came as quite a shock to me.

I do not hate my country, I hate what it has become. I am angered and saddened by the people of this country who do not take the time to understand how their government is supposed to function, and how those elected to represent us have violated and abused the trust we have placed in them.

In response to some of the comments made to me, I came up with a quick ten question quiz to see how much people knew about their government and its history. They were all simple questions that shouldn't take too much thinking to answer. They were as follows:

1. Can you name the first five presidents of the United States.
2. Can you name the president who was never elected by the people of this country.
3. Which Article of the Constitution concerns the duties and powers of the President?
4. Name at least three of the powers granted Congress by the Constitution?
5. Who was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence?
6. According to the Declaration of Independence, from whom are our liberties derived?
7. Where in the Constitution does it grant the president the power to make laws?
8. Who does the Constitution say the Senators are supposed to represent?
9. According to the Constitution, who can enact new taxes?
10. Who has the power of impeachment, and who acts as the courtroom during impeachment proceedings.

I took my test to those who commented on my article and asked them to take it. Some refused, others did and failed miserably. I even let others take it if they so desired. Overall I was disappointed that nobody got more than 50% of the answers correct.

After taking the test I asked some of them why they should be allowed to vote. They told me that they should be allowed to vote because it is their right. That is true, the right of suffrage belongs to all, except ex-felons. Yet along with that right comes a responsibility, the responsibility to understand the principles upon which our system of government is supposed to operate.

In this country we have many rights and privileges. We have the right to drive a vehicle, but we must first learn the rules of the road before we are allowed to do so. We have the right to own firearms, (for how much longer is a good question), but we have the responsibility to know the proper safety precautions as well. Why should it be any different with voting?

Daniel Webster once said, "Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government."

You may ask why I rely so heavily upon quotes from the founding fathers and patriots of the revolutionary war era. That is simple, they were alive when this nations system of government was first established. They understood best the way it was supposed to work.

If someone makes a complicated recipe for a dish and you attempt to make it and run into problems, who are you going to ask for help? The person who gave you the recipe most likely. Why not then rely upon those who wrote our Constitution, who fought for our nations independence when asking how is our system of government supposed to work?

Thomas Jefferson, once said, "We, I hope, shall adhere to our republican government and keep it to its original principles by narrowly watching it." Have we done this? Hardly, not when we have those sitting in power who have violated the trust placed upon them who should have been removed from office for their violation of their oath of office. Yet these same people are continually re elected by the people. Some, like Senator Edward M. Kennedy, have been disgracing their office since I was nine years old, and I am fifty now! What does that tell you about how well we have watched our government?

James Monroe, our fifth President once predicted our future when he said, "It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin."

John Adams, our nations second President, once said, "Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, They may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies."

Returning to the words of Thomas Jefferson, he offered a stern warning to the people who wished to retain their liberty and freedom, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

Is that were we sit today, a degenerated populace, lacking in virtue? I hate to admit it, but it certainly appears to be that way. When the people of this country cannot explain the basic principles upon which it is founded, they are, as Jefferson said, ignorant.

This nation is now in the midst of the process of deciding who will be its next President. If the outcome of this proceeding did not fill me with so much trepidation, I could almost laugh at the absurdity of it all. All three of our candidates are United States Senators who have a proven track record of ignoring our Constitution, and, in some instances, the overwhelming will of the people. Barack Obama wrote a book entitled, The Audacity of Hope. He has audacity alright, audacity to believe that he is even worthy to step foot into the oval office, let alone be the one who occupies it.

Samuel Adams, the leader of the Son's of Liberty during our nations fight for independence, once wrote, "If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."

Vain and aspiring is what we have had for years now, and this current crop of phonies is not better, in fact they are the worst I have yet to have the displeasure of having to consider. For a woman whose only qualifications are a failed attempt to push socialized health care down our throats while First Lady, while her husband disgraced the office of President, does not bode well should she be elected.

John F. Kennedy once said, "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Far too many people are going to go to the polls with preconceived ideas of what they want their next President to do for them without even understanding that is not within the powers of the President to create new laws.

When JFK said we should ask what we can do for our country he may have meant that we should be willing to sacrifice more in the way of taxes to support programs that were not authorized by the Constitution.

So I am going to ask the question again, but my meaning is going to be entirely different. I am asking you to educate yourself about how our system of government was supposed to function. I am asking you to do some research in to those who you are offered up as candidates and how well they have upheld the Constitution. They are hoping that you will remain ignorant and easily fooled by their lies and empty promises. Why don't we surprise them by proving we are not the ignorant fools they take us to be while they lead our nation to its ruin? It is your country as well, and regardless of what others may say, I do love it and am hoping to save it from itself.

2 comments:

Thomas J Kaminski said...

I love my country,but I fear my government...

neal said...

When the government fears the people there is liberty; when the people fear the government there is tyranny.

Thomas Jefferson