By: Dave Palmer
Our nation is historically rooted in the notion of collectivism. 56 men were present at at the Continental Congresses that forged the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence. When that grand experiment failed, a group of many of the same people returned to the Continental Congress to draft the U.S. Constitution, and signed the document as a group. When they discovered they forgot to protect certain fundamental rights, they drafted a Bill of Rights to protect and enshrine those rights. The First Amendment protected, among other things, the right of the people to peaceably assemble to petition for the redress of grievances.
The framers of the Constitution set up the House of Representatives to be a large group that represented the people according to the population of each state. Over the years, our House of Representatives has grown over the years to 435 members, each of whom represents a minimum of 800,000 people. Our Senate, which started as a group of 26, has grown to a group of 100 members, two for each state.
Yet, in the past thirty years or so, the trend in political arguments by individuals only concerned with their personal welfare have told us that the promise of America is working individually to achieve our national goals. These people, who recently have likened their stance to that of the colonists in the Boston Tea Party (which is radically incorrect, historically speaking) tell us that if we fail or fall, we need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, fight our own fights from rock bottom to the tops of the craggy peaks. In keeping with their misinterpretation of history, they cite the intentions of the founding fathers in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for a lack of government involvement in the lives of individuals.
It is quite obvious that the Framers of the Constitution did intend to protect people against governmental interference. They intended to prevent the government from enacting unfair laws, cruel and unusual punishments, from preventing people from having an attorney present at a criminal trial, and from invasion of their privacy in the form of unwarranted searches and seizures of their property, among other rights.
Most importantly, they protected first the right of the people to speak and publish negative or positive words about the government and the right of the people to form groups to protest government actions and not stop until they receive satisfaction or until their cause becomes unpopular.
The fact of history is that the framers of the Constitution intended for Americans to gather into groups, sort out their minor differences, and figure out a system of government that both protects the rights of the individual and allows the government to function as a group of leaders to provide the best possible experience for a majority of Americans. They never meant for us to go it alone, for leaders to refuse to compromise on principle alone, for the government to be a weak and powerless institution in the face of ruthless robber barons because they are the “job creators.”
Yet, thanks largely to a gross misinterpretation of history and the intentions of the framers of the Constitution, we have exactly that. We have leaders that refuse to compromise “because we didn’t go to Washington to compromise,” we have people on the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder who believe that the role of government is protect the job creators instead of the majority of the population, and our government is becoming increasingly weak and powerless because of this latter argument.
We as Americans must work together to get our government back. We must resort to good old fashioned collectivism to get the job done, just as the Framers of the Constitution intended for citizens of this country. And if it becomes necessary, we must work outside of our currently corrupted government to do so.
I have written in the past regarding things that I believe are necessary (as a collective, of course) to correct the faulty course of this country. Things such as repealing the Citizens United decision and putting a true limit on how much private money funds public elections, electing leaders who do not believe they have to toe the line for their donors, improving our educational system at the teacher education and finance levels, and ensuring that corporations pay their fair share of taxes. These things cannot be the product of the efforts of a single person. They must be the product of a group effort.
This year, citizens of the United States must make a New Year’s resolution to reject the idea that we need to work by ourselves to improve society. We need to ignore the false crises (like Benghazi, or the IRS scandal, or even Solyndra) that are designed to keep us distracted from gathering together to discuss real issues as mentioned in the latter paragraph. We need to make an effort to organize ourselves outside of the distracting environment of social media and chat rooms in real life to fix this nation’s problems.
Thomas Jefferson eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Notice the use of the word “we.” Not I, we. We, as the current constituents of a barely functioning government, must take it upon ourselves to alter our government so that the tax system us fair for all, to alter our educational system so that everyone has the same chance to become wealthy and successful if they desire, alter our election financing rules so that anyone with two nickels to rub together could have a chance to serve in Congress or as President of the United States. Only when we work together in the spirit of collectivism to change our government will it once again become a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. It’s what the forefathers of this country would have wanted.