A Nation in Denial

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Men naturally seek to better their conditions and protect what is theirs, among which is their country.

I’m continually surprised that so many do not take a look at history, ours and that of other past republics, for clues to help reverse the despotism that is America 2016.

Long-lived republics such as Rome and a few Greek city-states fell on hard political times in which freedom was threatened, yet they bounced back from the brink of ruin. No republic, including ours, just coasted along for hundreds of years on their original governing structures. When liberty was threatened, republican men went about taking necessary measures to keep free government.

Consider the enormous transitions in government and society from 1775 to 1789. American colonials were justifiably proud to be the freest men on earth. Yet they saw encroaching tyranny and did something about it. Each newly independent colony needed government, and in fits and starts, societies which had only recently looked upward to a king for direction, established their own systems. The transition was not smooth, but they met their situations head-on.

The Articles of Confederation of 1781 were a logical first step toward national unity. Despite being born in haste, Americans attempted to join in nominal union, thirteen vastly different societies. Once again, they viewed approaching danger and did something about it.

Oh, and there was a war. Little republics that had recently declared their just and unalienable rights to a skeptical world had to field and supply armies. Often times, very un-republican measures, such as outright confiscation of civilian property had to be taken to keep armies in action. Keeping an army temporarily outweighed property rights.

I am not aware of a single state constitution that was not amended or entirely rewritten between 1776 and 1789. When faced with the necessity of reforming government, each state did what was necessary.

By 1787, after a mere six years of the Articles of Confederation, statesmen gathered to correct its deficiencies. Once again, patriots took necessary corrective actions.

The Framers of the Constitution included language that outlined a peaceful means for the sovereign American people to amend their governing forms. While they were proud of their work, they admitted imperfections, and were not so conceited as to attempt to lock future generations into their governing design. Having been born in revolution when peaceful means to extricate themselves from approaching tyranny were unavailable, they sought to ensure future generations would not have to endure their sufferings.

Yet, in recognition of some shortcomings in the Constitution, so regularly hammered by Anti-Federalists during the state ratification debates, republican America immediately added another bulwark to freedom with a Bill of Rights in 1791.

More improvements continued:
1795. Article III is further clarified in the 11th Amendment.
1804. Article II, the electoral college process is improved by the 12th Amendment.
1865. The 13th Amendment bans the institution of slavery.
1868. Through the 14th Amendment, congress is empowered to reinforce personal and societal rights guaranteed in the Declaration and Bill of Rights.
1870. Blacks are guaranteed equal political rights in the 15th Amendment.

Thus, like earlier and long-lived republics, the American republic was regularly maintained, improved, and strengthened. Most amendments refined the relationship of man to state, and his freedoms under self-government. Notice that we also worked to perfect governing institutions through the 11th and 12th amendments, through alteration of the judiciary and presidential election process. America responded to actual circumstances, noticed room for betterment, and did what was necessary.

Shouldn’t that concept be put back into practice in 21st century America? Didn’t we, just as the Romans, do that for so long? From our earliest days until 1912, from the colonial era to perhaps the childhood of our grandparents, we continued to polish the principles of free government. We viewed deficiencies and did something about them.

In comparison with our long history of actually correcting and improving our governing forms, America 2016 has fallen into a stasis, a horrid defeatism related to battered-wife syndrome. Like the abusive husband who promises his bruised wife that he actually loves her and will change his ways, many Americans believe a government that fines or imprisons people for not baking cakes will love us and someday actually respect our rights.

Rather than deal with problems head on, too many of us fantasize about sending the ‘right’ men and women to government. This makes as much sense as sending an innocent little girl to a cat-house, and subsequently expecting her to join a religious order when she turns twenty-one years of age. Another placebo offered by those with their heads in the sand is the destructive blind alley called nullification.

These half-measures do not address what ails our once republic. The executive and judicial branches are sweeping up powers long held by congress and the states. Congress and the states are little more than presidential and judicial playthings. Dancing around the edges will not restore free government.

Article V.

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