Monday, January 4, 2010

A Time for Definition


We live in a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy. The difference between the two is something I believe needs to be more clearly taught in our educational system.

We are currently feeling the effects of the masses' belief that we are a Democracy. Too many too many people today, particularly the young, do not understand that we have a Constitution that was created with the specific intent of restricting our federal government's reach into our everyday lives.

To quote James Madison, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former [federal powers] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the state. (Federalist Papers, No. 45, pp. 292-93.)

In modern words, what Madison was saying is that the federal government is responsible for our national security and our business dealings with other nations. All affairs having to do with the citizens of America not related to any outside nation were intended to be handled by the government at a State and local level. We are a nation designed to govern ourselves at a local level.

Thomas Jefferson also spoke of the need for a small federal government, "The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the states are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign nations. Let the general government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our general government may be reduced to a very simple organization, and a very inexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by few servants. (Bergh, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 14:421.)

Madison and Jefferson would not recognize today's United States of America. Our federal government has been meddling in the affairs of the states for at least a full century now. We are no longer served by our representatives, and our Congress and Executive branches have seized for themselves much more than "A few plain duties." Few of us are lucky enough to trust those we send to Washington.

It is astounding how many people today do not even know the name of the Vice-President, yet he is the man with a lifetime of experience in Washington, while our President today has less experience than I as a business owner or executive.

American philosopher and historian John Fiske once wrote, "If the day should ever arrive (which God forbid!) when the people of the different parts of our country shall allow their local affairs to be administered by prefects sent from Washington, and when the self-government of the States shall have been so far lost as that of the departments of France, or even so closely limited as that of the counties of England - on that day the political career of the American people will have been robbed of its most interesting and valuable features, and the usefulness of this nation will be lamentably impaired."(The Historical Writings of John Fiske, vol. 12, pp. 282-83.)

We shall soon face the most important election in most our lifetime. We must understand how our founders defined this greatest of nations so that we may protect her for future generations, lest we risk allowing lamentable impairment, possibly beyond repair.

18 comments:

The Conservative Lady said...

Hi Sol:
Hope you enjoyed your Christmas holiday with the family. Happy New Year.
This is a terrific post and you're right, people today do not realize that the Federal government has a very limited job to do. And no wonder, the Feds are into every aspect of our lives these days from our health care to the kind of car we drive.
If anything good can be said of the Obamanation administration it would be this...they have been successful in waking up the citizens of America to the fact that they/we are losing our Republic and something must be done about it. Let's hope we can take action before it's too late.
Glad to see you're back!

Soloman said...

Hey TCL - a very Happy New Year to you too!

Yes, Christmas was very merry this year. The little ones are growing so quickly.. it's amazing what happens while I'm away for a year!

I agree about Obama being the person who has helped to wake the sleeping giant. Strangely enough, we might someday be grateful for his election... but that depends on us.

I have regained purpose and determination after my break. I plan to come forward with a full head of steam. It's going to be an eventful year...

blackandgoldfan said...

Welcome back, dude!!! Glad you made it back safely.

It makes me cringe when I hear people say we live in a democracy. It's a representative republic, you dimwits!!!

The Founding Fathers are weeping in Heaven for what this nation has become. It's time to restore honor to their memory.

*still mourning from yesterday*

Soloman said...

Hey B&G.. Happy New Year!

Yeah, yesterday stunk, but it was a season's worth of missed opportunities for both of our teams. All I can say now is - Go Cardinals, and no way to the Colts! I'd rather see the Chargers win than Payton and the Overrated Gang.

Anyway.. I did a good bit of reading during my vacation... finished The 5000 Year Leap and got part-way into Glenn Beck's Common Sense. Got a nice collection of books as a Merry Christmas / Happy Birthday from the family too...

My blogging may slow down a bit, but if that becomes the case then intensity will rise proportionately. I'm on a mission...!!

Teresa said...

Welcome Back, Sol!! I am so glad you made it back safe and sound.

Yes, our Founding Fathers would not recognize this United States of America that we live in today for it has gone deeply off the beaten path that they intended. They would be horrified at how our politicians have abused their power out of greed and pure selfishness.


I hope you have a healthy and prosperous Happy New Year!

lady di said...

Yes, welcome back and you are right on. Keep in mind that our politicians are doing just what they want and changing the face of our country. They do not care about our Constitution! That is way we must stay strong in the coming year and remember in November.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

We know what was intended to be, but the believers in the "living document" do not ...

Pedaling said...

full steam ahead, is right!
i think many of us feel the same way.
local politics are immensely important!
happy new year, friend.

Nickie Goomba said...

Do any schools still teach Civics? In the old days, it was mandated.

tammy said...

Welcome back!

My 13 yr old was just learning about the difference between a Democracy and a Constitutional Republic in school before Christmas break. I love that his teachers are conservatives and seem to have the same passion for our country that we do.

I think you're absolutely right that too many of the twenty-somethings in this country don't really understand our Constitution, and think that what our current government is doing is a good thing.

Soloman said...

Teresa - thank you, and I sincerely wish you and all our friends the same good health and good fortune!

Soloman said...

lady di - I believe there are a few who have good intentions.. but only a few. I hope to highlight those who are good, and spotlight those who are not over the coming months as we prepare to take our nation back and restore her to greatness!

Soloman said...

Odie - you took the thought I have so often and expressed it perfectly. The "living, breathing document" crap is just that...

Soloman said...

Pedaling.. thank you, and a very Happy New Year to you as well.

Soloman said...

Nickie - when I graduated in 1985, we had a required class during senior year called Civics, also known as "Government" by the students.

I loved that class, because I had a very engaging teacher. I also had the wonderful fortune of seeing Ronald Reagan speak during a field trip associated with that class. I didn't know then the value of that experience, but I remember it clearly and greatly appreciate it today.

Today, I'm not exactly sure what kids are being taught.. except that my sister-in-law tells me that if their school system had its way, my 7-year old niece would only be aware of one president ever having existed, and his name is not Bush...

Now of course that's a 7-year old, but impressions are made at a young age.

Soloman said...

Tammy - thanks.. and I gotta tell you, I'm glad your husband's company is what it is and does what it does. I've flown them for quite some time now and always have good experiences. Of course it's nice that my Dad gets mega-points (miles?) since he flies for business so I fly free... but I'm glad I get to use the Southwest free flights.

It's good to hear your son is engaged by good teachers.. check my reply to Nickie and you'll see it sticks with a person when the teacher makes learning interesting.

Also - check out my new post for some interesting info regarding what today's Americans know about the American Revolution.. sadly fascinating to say the least.

TRESTIN MEACHAM said...

This is a great post. I think that a lot of our problems stem from the lack of understanding of the nature of our government.

Soloman said...

Trestin - thanks... glad you enjoyed this post.