As we approach the celebration of our Independence, we should be reminded that liberty is not free, and our representative form of governance demands an informed populace. Sadly, it appears that liberty has been taken for granted, and the responsibility of each American citizen to be informed is sadly lacking in the sea of social media ignorance.
Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas expressed concerns to The Washington Post, that he has about the present state of our society and that young people do not respect the law. You can read his full statement HERE.
The warning is not new and should be heeded as you enjoy the revelry of the holiday.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” ~Ronald Reagan, 40th President.
In his farewell address, George Washington, the 1st President warned 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.
Or as Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin said, on leaving the constitutional convention of 1787, that the Framers had produced…
“A Republic if you can keep it.”
Not very optimistic, and rightly so.
In an article for ‘The Atlantic,’ author Adam J. White states that…
“But constitutional structure, like any structure, does not maintain itself. Each generation has to maintain its institutions and repair any damage that its predecessors inflicted or allowed. This task begins with civic education, so that Americans know how their government works, and thus what to expect from their constitutional institutions.”
You can read the full article HERE.
While the Founders created a system of checks and balances in the different branches of government, an important part of the equation was the continued knowledge of the citizenry, from whom the government is composed, to prevent seditious attacks undermining the framework in place. Our current society of short attention spans and endless distractions and confusion is hardly in a position to be called an informed electorate. Between obvious news biases, and corporate manipulation all geared to profit over all, our society is now fragmented as never before, with no resolution in sight.
Can you celebrate the independence of America without understanding how the country functions under the letter of the law? Far too many people are unaware of the most basic of all truths afforded by that document: Only Congress shall pass laws. Not the Supreme Court, not even the President with Executive orders. Only Congress retains that right.
Can we still call ourselves the United States of America? It seems that partisan splits run deep and without compromise, no longer a civil discourse, but rather filled with rage and contempt.
Where has the premise of unity created by the Founders and their system of checks and balances gone? Can it be saved?
Why are our elected representatives so quick to fuel partisan hostility and why are so many still serving a half-century later?
I do not know the answers or the solutions, but I do know that as a nation, on this upcoming day in particular, every American should stop and question the course we now follow. The days of patriotism and laws seem to be under attack.
And yet, I am reminded of those famous words of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States of America who said:
“Ask not what your country can do for you: Ask what you can do for your country.”
Wise words to ponder over with your beer and burger as you watch the fireworks adding more carbon to the atmosphere, and maybe silently pledge to do more than just vote for the next candidate with the biggest road sign, or the nicest hair. It’s not too late!