Benjamin Franklin once said "…when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views."*
From a human perspective, this is undoubtedly true. How many times have we heard of juries that are composed of demographics intrinsically opposed to the defendant? How many times have we seen mob mentality bend toward a singular goal? How many times have we seen a political party align against the other, regardless of circumstances, law or even the Constitution? It seems to be a requirement for politicians in this day and age.
As to the original delegates, despite popular propaganda, they were not all on board. "Their over-riding concern was the tendency in nearly all parts of the young country toward disorder and disintegration. Americans had used the doctrine of popular sovereignty--"democracy"--as the rationale for their successful rebellion against English authority in 1776. But they had not yet worked out fully the question that has plagued all nations aspiring to democratic government ever since: how to implement principles of popular majority rule while at the same time preserving stable governments that protect the rights and liberties of all citizens."*
All citizens. That is a key phrase right there. You disagree with your neighbor, your sister, your husband. You figure that the popular vote, dominated by the majority, should rule. But American government was originally designed to accommodate all citizens' rights, especially the minority who can be tyrannized by their majority brethren.
I know that perhaps very few will ever read my blog, but I cannot let my feelings about our country go unspoken. I suffer every day, loving this country and fearing its destruction. These days, I see Americans calling for war against each other, brother against brother.
I must add at this point, full disclosure, I identify with many Democratic ideologies. Not all, but some. Please let me explain my perspective without clicking away.
Today, we are facing a stark division among Americans based upon partisanship. Our political leanings dictate our votes and more importantly, they make us hate each other for our partisan views. This is heartbreaking to me, and let me tell you why.
When I grew up, Reagan was president, and both of my parents supported him. I idolized him (I was around 5?). I was just a little girl who held the president in my heart as a hero. The president was supposed to be a role model. I didn't care about politics, nor could I understand it. For me at that time, and later on, I saw the presidency as a symbol of American ideals. The president was a role model for those coming up after him.
This ultimately came from the pride that I felt being an American. We were the nation that introduced the world to a populace-driven government. Millions of humans across the world desired to join our society and be a part of the "American Dream" and I felt so much pride in that. What is a great country, if it's not the dream of all others? These days we reject most who approach our borders, no matter the cost in lives.
As an adult, I've become embroiled in politics, and I have to admit that I miss those days of naivete. If America is not an example for the rest of the world, what is she? Wasn't she the example of democracy for the world? Isn't that what made her great? Made her the dominant force all over the globe? We attracted the greatest minds ever known, those foreign and domestic, and developed sciences that enriched our country (caveats.... .... some developments that haunt us to this day). That's why we became so powerful across the globe. Now, we reject those that don't conform to some strange template that America today exemplifies?
In a world now driven by science and technology, how do we justify trailing so many across the world in our innovation? How do we justify struggling with health care when other countries succeed? As a mathematician, a scientist, it makes me ashamed, because as the richest country in the world, we should be leading the world.
Now, we face the world today. Let's for the moment set aside politics. Forget, if you can, the fight against/for "abortion rights". Forget, if you can, the desire against/for "tax increases". Forget, if you can, the fight against/for "gun rights".
AND, dare I say it, forget, if you can, the verbiage of the original Constitution. It was, after all, drafted with the capability of being AMENDED to reflect the evolving populace that was inevitable.
Let's try a thought experiment.
Close your eyes. Keep them closed. (OK... read this before you keep them closed!).... Imagine yourself in a large field full of green grass and anti-personnel devices. There are dead men lying all around you, wearing old hats, borrowed britches, and carrying the best weapons that they could find. They've been hungry and disease ridden, due to a lack of supplies. The redcoats were and generally are merciless. A very close friend just died next to you -- he bled out from a wound to his leg, and he begged you to send a letter to his family. Your commanding officer is to your left with a bullet to his forehead.
You suddenly think of your wife and three children at home.
If you'd like to cry -- as I do, follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T75XlWnCl8I... it's directly related to the civil war I believe.
You are on the bloody field. Your friends, your fellow soldiers have fallen around you. And now, you realize, you have a choice. You can run and be with your family, and no one will know the difference. Or you can stay and fight.
And you think to yourself, I have a choice. If I run, my children and their children will never have the right to choose as I do now, but I can be their father. Or I fight for my children's right to choose, my grandchildren's and their children's right to choose their fate. They have the right to defend themselves against government tyranny. They have the right to worship my Lord, or not worship my Lord as they please. I NEVER HAD THAT RIGHT. But I will fight for those who follow me.
And so you continue to fight. Your future is unknown, but your purpose is crystal clear and you are driven to change your family's and your country's fate.
My point here is that so many in our time, so many in our country, have forgotten the sacrifices and suffering experienced by our forefathers and those who followed them, believed in them. They've forgotten the reasons that our ancestors gave their LIVES for our freedom. They have no concept of what a lack of freedom feels like under a monarch or other tyrannical government. We've been spoiled.
That freedom that they died for has everything to do with the right to CHOOSE your fate. To LIVE according to your belief. To RAISE your children and to LOVE your neighbor.
BUT, their fundamental cause was to free all Americans. ALL Americans, from tyranny, which they knew TOO much about.
I'm sure that I've betrayed my own politics in this post. That's NOT my intention. My goal is to invite ALL Americans to vote their conscience, especially regardless of party. Historically, this country was not founded as a two-party system.
Upon George Washington's exit from office he "remind[ed] the people that it is the right of the people to alter the government to meet their needs, but it should only be done through constitutional amendments."** We have those, that provide rights to African Americans and women, and other amendments that provide protections for "ordinary" citizens. There is no limit to what the constitution can provide for us based upon Washington's vision, and anyone who claims to adhere to the original Constitution is being disingenuous. It was meant to be fluid for the future of this great country and its citizens.
Let me stress here that Washington "warns the people that political factions may seek to obstruct the execution of the laws created by the government or to prevent the branches of government from exercising the powers provided them by the constitution. Such factions may claim to be trying to answer popular demands or solve pressing problems, but their true intentions are to take the power from the people and place it in the hands of unjust men."**
This is the danger that we face today in our politics. Please, imagine again being that soldier on the battlefield, fighting against tyranny and fighting for the freedom of your children and their children....how would you feel about a political system that takes the power from your family that you've sacrificed your life for to enrich unjust men?
Please remember the Revolutionaries who offered their lives for our right to choose. Who offered their lives so that we had the right to vote. If I had my druthers (yes, I'm southern) I'd choose to live in a country that respected the right to choose for all citizens (which is the America that I idolized as a child). YES, the right for women to choose. YES, the right for minorities to vote. YES, the right for Native Americans to possess the land that is theirs by right. YES, your right to worship what is holy to you. YES, your right to vote to limit abortion. YES, your right to honor your Lord in the way you see fit. YES, your right to be an atheist. YES, the right to have the same opportunities to education as all others. YES, to possess the right to defend your home and family. YES, to fly the American flag any time you please and YES, to protest any law that you deem unworthy of our America.
Isn't all that the promise of America? I hesitate to say "Can't we all get along?"... but isn't that the America that our ancestors fought for? Isn't that the America that we grew up loving? "The melting pot"? Can't we fly our flag and remember the war that immortalized our national anthem?
Finally.... My husband is Native American, and he eschews American politics because the government has hurt his people to an unimaginable extent. To him and his people I would say that I'm sorry about what has happened to them. I am only the product of those people that marginalized their livelihood, their culture and their claim on this land. But that does not relieve me of the feelings of guilt.
NOR does it relieve me of my feelings of responsibility for the labors of slaves that afforded me a happy childhood. My ancestors may not have owned slaves, but I have ancestors who spoke in favor of slavery. For that, I am deeply ashamed.
Again, I believe in the American Dream. To all those who have historically been marginalized by the American government (and there are SO many): if you would consider Americans your brothers, we COULD reach out to those less fortunate. Voting can provide us access to those rights that we deserve, so long as we fight and preserve our right to freely vote. We could, as a nation, seek to enrich the lives of all who live within our borders today. We need to be the America that Revolutionaries died for.
I KNOW that some of you would say that I shouldn't feel this way. That my politics are to blame for my positions. You are free to believe that. My feelings really have nothing to do with politics, however.... I just believe in the American Dream.
So... I would love to see the entire world live in harmony (pretty sure there's a song about that...) but it seems that is not to be. But please, no matter who you are, and no matter your political leanings.... please. Remember the Revolutionaries. They fought to the death before politics was a thing in this country. They fought for the ideal that is America. The land of freedom for all. Love you all.