The founding fathers of what is today the United States were wise well read men of their time. Men like Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Franklin and Hamilton had an understanding of history. They understood the weakness of mankind and their religious study gave them a perspective on the frailties of man and the destructive nature of pride and greed. What did they fear or more importantly what are we forgetting from these lessons of the past?
Our founding fathers studied and discussed the ancient republics; however their brilliance shown not as they attempted to duplicate a republic of the past but rather in their desire to eliminate the mistakes of the past. They had vision of a new nation but their first priority was self-interest and survival.
This nation was to be a government based on law. The Constitution and Bill of Rights were crafted to protect individuals from their government and to acknowledge the basic rights of man as the writers perceived them. Their foresight came from knowledge acquired through discussion and inquiry with one another as they pondered how to protect “the people” from the sins of men as they assumed the power of government.
The United States was founded as a tolerant Christian nation recognizing the rights of individuals to practice their own form of religion without government interference. That did not blind the eyes of the founding fathers from recognizing the weakness of mankind in the form of “the seven deadly sins”, wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony. They crafted our government to protect the citizens from the temptations of sin that would find a home in the leadership if left without controls.
The three branches of government with our system of checks and balances were not put into place by a role of the dice but rather with discussion, understanding and foresight. Our three branches of government were formulated so that each branch restricted the authority of the other to recognize the weakness of leadership and not depend on the morality and integrity of the elected leaders.
The goal of our founders was not an oligarchy of representatives for the people. Congress was not perceived as a lifetime position with special privileges with members exempt from the very laws they pass. Rules of conduct were put in place to control how the business of the people would be conducted and safe guards were intended to protect the minority from the simple will of the majority.
Today we have a congress with career politician, passing laws that exempt themselves and provide for special privileges by virtue of the office they hold. Today we hear daily about the erosion of our democracy, with special czars for a myriad of functions that work outside of the three branches of government. Today we see a circumvention of rules to pass legislation that will trample on the traditions and safe guards of the past. Today we see special perks of office available to congress far beyond anything ever imagined when our constitution was written.
Just as the founding fathers feared we are now bearing witness to the impact of the “seven deadly sins” slowly creeping into our government while we as a nation in our own version of sloth sit by in idleness and apathy. Are you going to sit silently and wait for others to take action? Are you part of the problem?
It is time for every citizen to take an active interest in civic affairs and governmental leadership. It is time to become vocal in our protection of rights guaranteed by our constitution. It is time to hold our members of Congress accountable for the actions which they take. It is time for each of us to do our part, for each of us to play a role in our government.
No step is too small the road to good government is taken one step at a time. Call your elected leaders, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, stand and be heard at a local meeting. You are an important part of government you can make a difference become informed and take action. Talk to your friends and neighbors, find candidates that support your views and vote.