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What would the Founders do? And what should we do? July 4, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in Ben Franklin, wit and wisdom.
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Does this sound like any form of government you know?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Our friend Ben, a lifelong United States citizen, has never known a form of government that actually worked to safeguard the happiness and liberty of its citizens, as laid out in the Declaration of Independence, from which the passage just quoted is taken. Instead, our government is a huge, bloated, impersonal entity, peopled by career politicians who are bought and paid for by special-interest groups and the corporations that can, thanks to our Supreme Court, have the rights of individuals and “contribute” to campaigns accordingly. I’m not even allowed to decide whether or not to wear a seatbelt in my own car.

I’m sure the Founders, from George Washington down, are spinning in their collective graves. This was not the government or so-called “republic” that they envisioned. I wish with all my heart that our hero and blog mentor, the great Benjamin Franklin, were here to lend his perspective, and possible solutions, to the parody of democracy America has become.

Just this morning, I read an op-ed piece advocating the use of the internet to level the political playing field. The article suggested doing away with the Electoral College and instead allowing the President and VP to be elected directly by popular vote, which I entirely approve. It’s an outrage that our leaders are still chosen by a clunky, archaic proxy system when the people themselves should cast the deciding votes, and we finally have the technology needed to tally them accurately.

The author of the op-ed piece went on to suggest that people should be allowed to vote on legislation themselves via the internet as well, which is an intriguing thought. That would certainly be true democracy in action, if anyone could tear themselves away from texting and Facebook long enough to actually read the proposed legislation.

Our friend Ben was on board so far, but the writer’s third suggestion threw me: That citizens be allowed to nominate candidates themselves online, and that those who garnered the most votes would run. In our celebrity-driven culture, this brought an immediate “American Idol”-like vision to my mind: “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our new Chief Executive, Justin Bieber, and VP, Lady Gaga!” (Oh, wait: Justin Bieber’s Canadian, isn’t he? But my point still stands.) I think those who believe themselves prepared to lead our country should stand and declare their willingness to serve, and then people should decide who among them is most fit to do so.

In the absence of Ben Franklin’s wise guidance, our friend Ben would like to propose three additional ideas for returning power to the people, in addition to doing away with the Electoral College and electing the President and VP by actual popular vote (as in the vote of the populace, as opposed to a popularity contest). They are:

* Limit terms of office. Like the President, no member of the House or Senate should be allowed to serve more than two terms. Not a single Founder envisioned a political position as a career. It was, instead, a duty, a time to step up and serve your country, after which you returned to your plantation like George Washington or your lawyer’s practice like John Adams. This was an excellent counter to corruption, and should certainly be applied to the Supreme Court as well.

* Mandate free campaigns. Having to raise money—lots of money—for a campaign guarantees that even the most idealistic candidate will be beholden to—bought by—his or her contributors long before the election results are tallied. If you win, you owe us. Instead, I think we should implement a system where every candidate is given the same amount of free air time to present themselves and their platforms, leveling the field and freeing politicians from the Godfather grip of “the offer they can’t refuse.” 

* Do away with political parties. George Washington himself strenuously opposed the formation of political parties, presciently seeing how damaging they could be to the idea of a “united” States. Our current poisonous political separation and the rise of hate politics proves our greatest President right. Forget parties, and let every candidate stand on his or her own convictions and plans for governing the country. In the age of the internet, the concept of parties is outdated and not just divisive but destructive. Let each speak for him- or herself!

On this July Fourth, let’s set down the picnic fare long enough to contemplate what a government “by the people, for the people, of the people” might actually be.

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Comments»

1. Frater Zee - July 4, 2012

Re “What should we do?” ENFORCE THE CONSTITUTION.

“We The People” created the federal government, and set strict bounds on what powers it may exercise. But today, the federal government (all 3 branches) acts with pervasive contempt for the Constitution. Three examples (from a long list): Congress’ retroactive immunity to AT&T for warrantless surveillance, Kill Lists and systematic torture of US citizens (by Obama and Bush), and the Supremes’ granting (purported) “rights” to fictitious persons (corporations) in Citizens United.

Do Americans care that the government commits systematic hate crimes (and worse) almost daily against our Constitution? The endgame (as shown by history) will be — your children will be enslaved under tyrrany.

At some point, conditions may leave Americans no choice but to exercise the “Right of the People to alter or to abolish [the government], and to institute new Government…” — precisely as stated in Jefferson’s Declaration of 1776.

Meanwhile, now is the time to GET READY — re-group (away from corrupt centers), re-activate grass-roots systems of trust, privacy, and security in your local communities (Committees of Correspondence and Safety, etc.), and re-direct your lifestyle to walk in the righteousness of God (ie, beyond the reach of tyrrany).

In short: Gear up, Dig in, Defend. Pray. Plan. Prepare. Practice.

One example of “enforcing the Constitution” — individual sovereign States can exercise their Constitutional powers (9th & 10th Amendments) to monetize gold and silver — as done recently by Utah. This will provide a safe alternative to the hyperinflated fiat “scrip” paper money (Federal Reserve Notes) issued by corrupt private “too big to fail” mega-banks with lax oversight by Congress. [Read "Creature from Jekyll Island" by G. Edward Griffin].

The first American Revolution actually took place many years before 1776. John Adams wrote in 1813: “The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations… This radical change… was the real American Revolution”.

Cheers, Happy 4th, Peace.

Such good points, Frater Zee! Thank you. And peace to you as well.

2. Becca - July 5, 2012

Reblogged this on BrightHaven Days and commented:
Beautifully written! Thanks for sharing these thoughts on this momentous day.

Thank you so much for reblogging this, Becca! Bless your heart. I can only hope that our citizens start thinking about these issues before we fall under the tight fist of tyranny again.

3. Alan from Roberts Roost - July 8, 2012

We watched 1776- the musical, as part of our 4 of July Kid Indoctorization Program. It brought up a lot of questions (filtered out of the whining about the boring Love your thoughts befoer I as the question…

Ah, yes, “1776″! If you’ve missed it, you should by all means rent “John Adams,” the miniseries, for comparison purposes. It’s kind of heavy going for kids, so you might want to pre-screen it first to see what you think. But it’s a gritty, way-it-was portrait of the Founders and the times. Seeing John Adams working a manure pile and Abigail Adams’s chapped red face as she battles the horrific winter cold is a revelation. Don’t miss it!

4. narf77 - July 8, 2012

The U.S.A. model of republicanism is what has stopped we Australian’s from voting ourselves into a republic time and time again! Forget “if it aint broke…don’t fix it”…we are faced with “IT aint broke but the U.S.A. alternative IS…who would YOU want to follow?” ;)

Go Oz go!!!


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