Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Argument for Democracy and Liberty

I feel another opportunity to quote "John Adams," by David McCullough. The setting is that John Adams is in London representing the United States at the King George III court in 1787. The United States was not yet the United States, but only a lose confederation of thirteen countries and the Constitutional Convention that would eventually bring the thirteen states together under one government was just beginning. John Adams, obsessed with the idea that the constitution could go wrong if left up to the likes of Thomas Paine and others, rush to write and publish "A Defence of the Constitution of Government of the United States of America" in London newspapers and, in the meantime, he sent copies to Congress and others in the United States by the earliest ship setting sail. Thomas Jefferson was in Paris, representing the United States to King Louis XVI. The quote from the book, italics are Adam's quotes, bold is my emphasis:

"As he explained to Jefferson, much of what he wrote was in response to the dangers of radical French thought. Specifically he had written in defence (hence the title) against the theories of the philosophe [sic] Turgot, who espoused perfect democracy and a single legislature, or as he wrote, 'collecting all authority into one center, that of the nation.' To Adams this was patent nonsense. A simple, perfect democracy had never yet existed. The whole people were incapable of deciding much of anything, even on the small scale of a village. He had had enough experience with town meetings at home to know that in order for anything to be done certain powers and responsibilities had to be delegated to a moderator, a town clerk, a constable, and, at times, to special committees.

"Reliance on a single legislature was a certain road to disaster, for the same reason reliance on a single executive - King, potentate, president - was bound to bring ruin and despotism. As the planets were held in their orbits by centripetal forces, 'instead of rushing to the sun or flying off in tangents' among the stars, there must, in a just and enduring government, be a balance of forces. Balance, counterpoise, and equilibrium were ideals he turned to repeatedly. If all power were to be vested in a single legislature, 'What was there to restrain it from making tyrannical laws, in order to execute them in a tyrannical manner?'"

As everyone knows, or should know, we got our three, separate powers in government, the Legislature divided into two parts, the House of Representatives and the Senate, and our Executive Branch, and a separate Judiciary. So, John Adams had his way and we are very lucky he did. Our government has lasted 234 years. And, as far as I can tell, President Obama is trying to make it work. He's made an enormous effort to bring the GOP into the decision process during one of the most critical times in our history, but he's been met by obstructionism at every turn.

It seems to me that reaching that "balance" is the key, and to vote for people who are willing to participate in our legislature and in good governing. I don't see that happening from the Republican side of the isle. In fact, they have made our legislature about as ineffective as it could ever be by obstructing every effort on critical issues. It, the GOP, is more than willing to vote for war, but not one single bill for America can be passed, not even when they've supported it in the past. Is there anyone who doesn't believe the GOP's obstructionism is anything other than politics for power's sake? It seems to me that Democracy, and probably liberty, is walking out of the door, pushed by the very people yelling the loudest for liberty.

It could be that the triple whammy of G. W. Bush's policies, his Supreme Court appointments and the GOP obstructionism will bring America to its fall. It is really very sad. I wouldn't vote for a Republican if you paid me to. And, I won't vote for one until I see some sign that they've got their heads out of their asses. I'll tell you the Republican I would vote for. I would vote for the one that stands up and says, "the Tea Party can't run this country, and FOX news, Hannity, Beck and Limbaugh doesn't decide the agenda of this country. McConnell doesn't decide my vote and neither does John Boehner. If you vote for me, I'll go to Washington D. C. for you, and this country, and nobody else." I'd start listening to that guy or gal, Democrat or Republican.

By the way, being a Super Power and a Democracy could be, and likely are, contradictory. They are not synonymous terms. Having a democracy with liberty doesn't mean we will be a super power, the one based on common sense and the other more than likely based on arrogance. Which would you choose?


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