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The state of our American Republic, through the eyes and words of our founders
Spoiler alert, they're rolling in their graves... mostly
Today’s TAT, heading into the weekend is about how far we have drifted from our founder’s intent. The current US political environment is “exhibit A.” When there are but two “factions” as they were called during our founding era and can only truly exist on massive investments of influence-inducing dollars, we put our future as a republic at risk. Couple this with unethical influencers/ marketers and uninformed voters, spells disaster. We may not actually be at the cliff’s edge, but we are approaching it at an ever-increasing speed… without brakes and a steering wheel. Today I will weave some of our most prominent founders’ quotes into a relatively short TAT article. Today is intended as “food for thought,” to be carefully weighed.
This first quote is from President James Madison who is also the recognized father of our constitution. At the writing of our Constitution, Madison, a preeminent scholar of representative government, did his homework. A classically trained scholar of ancient philosophers and thinkers, especially in regard to government, researched and assessed ancient and modern republics in Greece, Rome and elsewhere. It was titled, “Notes on Ancient and Modern Confederacies, [April–June?] 1786”
He undertook this research so as to find the weaknesses and subsequent reasons for their failure over time. His work can still be read and our first president (our only independent POTUS), George Washington was so taken with his work that he copied it in its entirety, himself. Madison, a wealthy landowner himself, knew all too well the pitfalls of too much power in the hands of those with elite wealth. The quote above is a fairly succinct look at his understanding of such. Over the past few decades, defying Madison’s wisdom has been one of Congresses’ primary focuses, handing over inequitable laws and tax codes to those of elite wealth, exclusively.
We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.
Lincoln here is saying that yes, the power lies with the people in our republic but even the people are bound by the US constitution. I often see here in Texas, attempts to subvert the US constitution. As example, the TX GOP platform for the 2022 midterms called for putting religion back into public schools. This is a good example of the constitutional perversion that Lincoln was referencing.
“31. Prayer, Bible, and Ten Commandments in Schools: We support prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments being returned to our schools, courthouses, and other government buildings.”
Washington, a personal hero and role-model, left us with at least two quotes derived from his lifetime of pragmatic learning. Yes, pure wisdom. The first is his most famous and was often quoted during the Trump administration as “foreseeing” a man like Trump rising to prominence in US politics where parties, with a lack of morality and fueled by greed became the norm. That comparison was all too accurate and represented his worst fears precisely.
While all historical US parties or factions have had disreputable episodes, nothing since the runup to the Civil War has threatened our nation as much as the current version of the Republican Party, still operating on Trump principles, conspiracy theories and the overt corruption of the elite wealth of donors who purchase elected representatives who are more circus freak show than politician.
Louisiana had their Huey Long, a Southern Democrat whose populism was also unethical and anti-American in nature. Assassinated before he could undermine US national politics, we avoided one populist only to reinvigorate toxic populism under Trump, backed by Putin.
The next Washington quote on factions also should be of interest. Washington’s wisdom foresaw the potential for January 6th all too accurately.
To sum up this Washington portion, let’s just say that a wise man, with the strength and courage to win a war, have his status emulated due to its virtuous nature and to be overwhelmingly popular for all of the right reasons, is someone that we should listen to carefully… very carefully. I could extoll Washinton’s accomplishments and virtue for pages, but these two quotes must suffice for today.
Next, we’ll take a look at John Quincy Adam’s/ JQA quote above. JQA, our sixth president and son of our 3rd, John Adams came to the White House extraordinarily well qualified. Classically trained scholar, Ambassador, House of Representatives, Senator, lawyer and far more, JQA is historically, one of our most accomplished public servants. He had seen the world, understood governments and could argue the merits of a legal case as easily as the merits of our unique American Republic. Like his father, well-grounded in the ethics of the law, his quote above is the ideal of a voting citizen or at least so in my opinion. Notice the absence of dedicating a vote to a party in this quote. Like the constitution itself, there is no mention of a political party.
Though JQA’s quote is ideological, it is also practical. If voters, well and accurately informed voted their conscience rather than party, we simply would not be exposed to the threats we now face.
These two quotes on educating the public and especially in our system of government. I addressed this topic at length in a TAT post on February 15th. The bottom line to that post about Civics is that the majority of Americans have a tragically poor understanding of our government and our issues. They are led to believe that parties or those who honestly and dishonestly support those parties, are educating them. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This also circles the issue of; fake news, misinformation, disinformation, unethical marketing and as we’ve seen since the beginning of the Trump era, believing that conspiracy theories are more accurate than education. Please, read this next sentence out loud and think about it: Conspiracy theories are narratives of willful intent to deceive.
When these conspiracy theories are the dominant form of input for a party like today’s GOP, only achieve more power for those who intend to destroy our republic and milk it dry, of its assets and wealth first. Please read this last sentence as well, let it roll around on your tongue too. You’ll find that it tastes of failure, oppression and immorality. These are NOT American values. Again, look no further than the TX GOP platform of 2022 to see an extremist agenda that doesn’t not represent our constitution. This document is so very much like the national GOP talking points (they refused to even write a platform for the 2020 election) that it should terrify every truly informed patriot, regardless of party affiliation.
While that it’s the “American Way” to have passionate difference of opinions between the two primary parties, until the Newt Gingrich era, those debates were more perspective on the approach to take in solving problems rather than the facts of the problem. After Trump, it became informed debate against radical, extremist ideology built on conspiracy theories.
Even the new House of Representative agenda is almost exclusively focused on anti-American issues of revenge, drama and unconstitutional items that reward elite wealth, rather than the American people.
'Dead on arrival'
“Republicans are vowing to derail even the bipartisan parts of Biden’s agenda once their party controls the lower chamber. GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has pledged bills that pass the Senate with the help of moderate Republicans will be “dead on arrival” and will not reach the floor of the House of Representatives.”
-02 January 2023
Let’s wrap this up on a positive note. First and foremost, it behooves all American voters to focus on our founding principles. This is also a good time to mention, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Tom Rick’s new book, First Principles which delves into the philosophical principles our founders employed at the foundation of our nation. It’s a worthwhile read.
In my opinion, the further we get from our founding, the more important an in-depth understanding of our nation and its intended pursuits, becomes even more essential… to every voter.
The reason that I am employing quotes from our founders and other iconic American leaders is that it’s helpful to remember that what we should do today is little different than what our brilliant, courageous and wise founders envisioned for us and role-modeled for us with their lives. We may use some different language, have different content to frame with our founding principled but the principles themselves are durable and still apply. In simplest terms, I thought it best to give you our founders’ intent, through their own words.
We’ve come perilously close to murdering our republic twice, once in 1861 and again in 2020. In both cases it was extremist beliefs that were and still are, out of sync with our founding principles. Only citizens, schooled in what our republic is built on can ensure that we avoid tumbling off the cliff. The is nothing wrong with being a liberal, a conservative or any other system of beliefs, so long as those beliefs don’t operate outside the guardrails of our constitution, nor be supported by our adversaries like Russia. Achieving influence by lying and conspiracy theories which takes advantage of duped American voters violates everything our nation was built on.
It’s our duty of citizenship to remove the liars, cheats and selfish from office. This can’t be done while that so many voters put party over country while remaining ignorant of our type of government and the truth about issues. As one who has wielded influence, in support of our national security, I can tell you for fact, that the tactics and techniques, primarily employed by today’s GOP are those I have waged war with for a career. The GOP has been and to some extent is still supported in these tactics by a variety of unethical adversaries like Putin. Maybe not as extensively as during the 2016 election cycle but still present and still active. Just take a lot at FOX and Tucker Carlson reporting for the past few years and you’ll see exactly what I mean. This has been at its most shocking while Tucker Carlson became Putin’s US cheerleader/ defender after Russia invaded Ukraine.
All citizens have rights, and responsibilities. My military oath is a sworn version of a military member’s responsibility to the nation. It never will expire. All service-members swear the same oath as well as elected officials and government workers. Loyalty to our nation is a principle worth fighting for. It bonds us on the battlefield and beyond. It’s the American way and I will not shirk my oath. That’s why I write these TAT articles. It’s not to support a party but to defend what millions have risked all for. Sustaining our “great experiment is the responsibility of all who live under our flag, founded on the elite principles of equitable liberty.