Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Preserving the Legacy

Those responsible for the founding of our nation were truly brilliant men.  They were not perfect, but most certainly brilliant.  To have such a talented group of individuals come together in a single time and place in a concerted effort to create a new world vision, must have been the product of divine intervention.  How else can this gathering of extraordinary humans endowed with such a rare combination of deep passion tempered by farsighted wisdom and extraordinary creativity be explained; the results of their combined efforts being the revelation that is the United States.  Through skillful compromise and an unwavering desire to produce man’s most natural civilized state, success was attained.  Their magnificent creation is one of humankind’s most wondrous achievements, the first nation where the people are the guardians and purveyors of their government’s power.  This monumental accomplish was further elevated by our Founding Fathers’ supreme confidence in future generations and a humbleness embraced through the creation of our living Constitution, a supreme law amendable through a coalition of the publicly elected federal and state governments.  Only those chosen by the citizens can vote to alter the document that is the very foundation of our country.  While those brave and illustrious men passed long ago; their legacy and guidance persists, but is threatened by the actions of those that were entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring its continued exceptionalism as the pinnacle of human existence.

I have no doubt the originators of our republic are looking down on us with great disappointment.  The supreme confidence they placed in us; the American people, by bestowing the burden of preserving and protecting the dream realized, has unfortunately found us wanting.  We have been exposed as unworthy of the privilege and obligation of being citizens of this great nation.  American democracy demands more of the individual citizen than any other form of government.  In exchange for the power of self-governance, comes the responsibility of properly administering it.  Unfortunately we have become a people that elects our government officials based on self-serving and transient reasons.  We would sacrifice our envious position as the masters of our nation’s destiny in exchange for the promises of the highest bidding candidate, to embrace the role of victim, or to be part of some perceived historical moment.  Freedom and liberty are apparently no longer enough, we have been blessed with them for so long that they have lost their luster.  Freedom and liberty have been fixtures of our existence since our creation; this is both a blessing and a detriment.  While we have enjoyed, defended, and at times attempted to proliferate these God given human rights; we have also become complacent due to our having never known what it is like to be without them.   This has fostered a declining appreciation for how extraordinarily blessed we are, and how precarious our hold on the reins of self-determination is.   “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” - James Madison

While the burden of being an American citizen and an American voter is daunting, we can take comfort in knowing that the voices of those that ignited the torch that is America can still be heard today.  One must simply be willing to have the courage to listen to and act on their guidance.  They were not cryptic, they were not timid.  Deliberate and bold were common attributes of the Founding Fathers.  And while this makes their direction very clear, it also emphasizes how far we have strayed from the path that carried us to global prominence.   The same wisdom that unleashed the American juggernaut will serve as our compass, our North Star pointing the way through the excuses, distractions, propaganda, and outright foolishness that have caused us to lose our way.  If we do not heed the lessons of such men as Jefferson, Madison, Paine, Henry, and Franklin then we condemn our nation to a future of mediocrity and subservience.  The continued erosion of our liberties and republic will bring us full circle, back to an existence void of the blessing of self-determination, replaced by the shackles of an intrusive and repressive government apparatus.  "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." - Thomas Paine