“Time indeed changes manners and notions, and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. But time produces also corruption of principles, and against this it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch, and if the gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as possible.” ~ Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane (1821)
Let’s be honest, America has lost its way, it has forgotten who and what it is. People today blame one political party or the other for the problems this country currently faces, while others blame the gridlock between the two parties for our problems. If you want the truth, neither of those two reasons are the real problem for all the problems in America today.
Think about it, we have what’s known as a representative form of government. It is not a democracy where the majority gets what they want all the time. It is not a dictatorship or an oligarchy were one man, or a small group of men, decide what is best for the country and their will is supreme. Under our system we choose candidates to represent the people in the management of the government. At the time it was established the states also had a say in the federal government by way of their choosing the members of the Senate. But that balance of power was shifted when they tinkered with the system by ratifying the 17th Amendment, giving the power of electing Senators to the people.
So now the system truly is representative of the people who inhabit this land due to the fact that we choose the president; we choose members to the House of Representatives; and we choose the Senators to represent our states.
The key word in all this is ‘represent‘. One of the definitions for the word represent is to express or explain what is happening or what people think. So if our government is disjointed and dysfunctional it is because we as a people are disjointed and dysfunctional. In that, our government truly is a mirror held up to the people it represents. Continue reading
~ Foreword ~
© Steven Michael
I knew from the onset that this was going to be lengthy and quite detailed. I realized that due to this fact that it would preclude it being read by many people. I also no longer care. I write for those who are willing to take the time to educate themselves, not for those who are too lazy to turn off their TV’s for an hour or two to read something that may teach them something they didn’t know. I also write solely for the purpose of staying at a certain level of proficiency at the actual act of writing. Writing is a skill, that unless practiced, is lost. So I write as much for myself as I do for you. That being said, if you wish to learn something, then please continue reading. (N.R.) Continue reading
In 1919 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed that November 11 should be celebrated as Armistice Day, stating, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
In 1945 a movement, led by Raymond Weeks, a World War II veteran, pushed to expand Armistice Day to cover all veterans. In May of 1954 President Eisenhower signed a bill into law declaring that November 11 be a day of celebration for all veterans. A month later Congress amended the bill renaming it Veterans Day. Continue reading
In 1831 the French government sent Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont to the United States to study our prison system. But the underlying reason for their visit was to study our country as a whole, particularly with respect towards our young republic and our democracy. The result of their 271 day visit is Democracy in America with Volume 1 being written in 1835 and Volume 2 being completed five years later.
I recently purchased both volumes in one single paperback book. For the longest time it sat on my shelf because I was apprehensive about starting the daunting task of reading a book of nearly 1,000 pages. Finally I mustered up the courage to open it up and begin reading. I was pleasantly surprised that the reading was not as dry as I had expected. In fact de Tocqueville writes in a style that is quite enjoyable to read. My only concern is that I do not have enough highlighters as I have been highlighting passages left and right as I make my way through it. Continue reading
Imagine a small farming and ranching community just outside a large city. Imagine that these farmers and ranchers gather together and decide that they need a body to settle disputes and manage the affairs of the community. So they constitute a city hall and hire a sheriff to maintain law and order.
For awhile things go smoothly, nobody bothers anybody else and the community prospers. Then let’s say the city council decides that it wants to fix up the roads in the community, but to do so they need to raise revenue. So they impose a tax on the farmers and ranchers. The community agrees that it would be nice to have some paved roads, so they agree to the small increase in taxes. Continue reading
When I got home from work last night I checked my e-mails and at the very top of the list was a CNN News update saying that you were going to make a statement regarding the ‘urgent humanitarian situation’ along the Southwest border. All night long I tossed and turned because I was so angry I could not fall asleep.
You people created this humanitarian situation, and by ‘you people’ I mean every one of you idiots in Washington D.C…AND your predecessors.
I know your fond of blaming George W. Bush for the mess you inherited, and in some things you did inherit a mess. But you know something, you applied for the job. You knew what you were getting yourself in to. So stop blaming Bush. Do you remember a guy named Harry Truman? He was a President once. Well President Truman had a sign on his desk that said, “The Buck Stops Here”. Why don’t you grow a set of balls and accept the fact that while you occupy the Oval Office whatever happens in this country is YOUR responsibility. If you can’t accept that then maybe you shouldn’t have run for office in the first place. Continue reading
Can I ask a favor? Could you turn off your TV’s, your cell phones and put on your thinking caps for just a few minutes and ponder the things I am about to say. Not that what I am about to say/ask will make a whole lot of difference in the end, but it will at least cause you to think about something that has been floating around in the back of my mind for quite some time now. Honestly, it won’t take long and it WON’T hurt.
First of all I want you to think about our Constitution; what is it and from where does it derive it’s authority?
Is it merely a list of suggestions, a guideline if you will, which our government may follow; is it something general, with the so-called general welfare clause allowing our government to take whatever measures it deems necessary to maintaining peace and prosperity for the United States?
Or is it the law by which all government officials are bound, (by oath I might add) to obey? Continue reading
On the opening day of the Constitutional Convention Virginia Governor Edmund Randolph raised four concerns which would guide the delegates in their search for ways to amend the Articles of Confederation, or replace it with something which they felt would better suit the needs of a growing nation. These four points were: what properties a government should possess, what the defects of the current confederation were, what dangers the United States currently faced, and what measures might remedy the above-mentioned situations. Continue reading
When we come into this world as babies we are pretty much blank slate with our minds empty and innocent and pure. Everything we become as an adult is due to the accumulation of knowledge and life events that occur over the course of our lives. Whatever prejudices we have, or belief systems we hold, they were somehow instilled into us as we grew from infants into adults.
This knowledge that we acquire and these beliefs we hold guide us in the choices we make and the way we live our lives. Sometimes we can change ourselves by acquiring more knowledge, but that would require that a person have the desire to expand their knowledge base instead of relying upon what they have already learned up to that point in their life. We can also change our belief system, but that is more difficult. To do so requires a deeper introspection and a lot of self examination. It often causes a condition known as cognitive dissonance, which is when an individual experiences stress due to having been exposed to information which contradicts the belief system they currently hold. In this instance many people simply refuse to accept the new, often valid, information, and go on believing what they have believed for years to avoid the stress having to accept the contradictory information causes them. Continue reading
It has been commented that I have strayed from my purpose in writing, that instead of trying to educate and inform people that I have taken to criticizing and insulting them. I won’t deny that I have, of late, felt a deep sense of frustration and, even, anger that the things I have written have not been effective in changing the hearts and minds of the people to whom I was addressing them. Nonetheless, I have been remiss and I apologize for being so harsh and critical. With that in mind I would like to attempt to write a bit about the general thoughts and beliefs of the men who existed during the time our country fought for its independence, and established our system of government. Continue reading
Do you think it is possible for a group of people to completely take over a country without firing a single shot? Most wars in which one country invades another end up costing countless lives on both sides before the invasion is either repelled, or is successful. Our country, our system of government, was unique in that the people, through representatives of the various states, gathered together and decided what type of government it should have. Even once an outline for this system of government was decided upon it had to be approved by the people of the states. Having just gone through a long bloody war to free themselves from a tyrant, it was an uphill battle to convince many of the people that this new system of government would not erode the authority of the states, and infringe upon the rights of the people.
So, let me rephrase my initial question. Do you think it is possible for a group, be it a nation, or simply a group of men, who oppose our system, to overthrow, or at least gain control of our system of government without the people realizing what has happened? Continue reading
Karl Marx, co-author of the Communist Manifesto, once said “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.” By beginning this article with a quote from one of the founders of communism I already know that I will lose credibility among many who may otherwise have continued to read this article. That is unfortunate because bad people, or people whose views you disagree with, still occasionally get things right.
From the way I see things Marx could very well have been talking about the United States right here and now. People think that simply because they can go to the polls every few years and cast a ballot for their choice of candidates that they are making a difference. Most of those that do bother to vote go back to their lives feeling good about themselves, believing that they are actively participating in the democratic process of choosing the candidates that they believe will best serve them. They couldn’t be further from the truth. Continue reading
Mockingjay is Coming…
Regardless of what some people think, I’m not the brightest of light bulbs in the room. In other words, I don’t consider myself that damn smart. There is, however, one thing I am…stubborn. My wife says that I am matigas ng olo, which means hard headed. You see, when there is something that I really want to accomplish I simply don’t give up until I have achieved my goal. When I was in high school I tried out for wrestling and tennis. I was never really any good an either but on one occasion in each sport I decided that I was NOT going to go the entire season without a win. I dug my heals in and fought like hell until I did what I had set out to do…WIN!
If you are a regular reader of my little commentaries you will have noticed that for the past two weeks I haven’t written anything. It is not because I don’t care anymore about what is happening in this country, rather it is because I don’t see anything I have to say making one whole hell of a difference one way or the other.
As a sort of side experiment I have been printing out articles written by other writers, and I even printed out Frederic Bastiat’s book The Law, and took them to work for others to read. Nobody seemed to care about those as they weren’t written by me. That tells me one of two things. First that either people want me to do the research for them and then condense it into an easy to understand format, or secondly they read my articles as an amusement, a novelty, something written by someone that they know personally. Continue reading
In his Inaugural Address, President George Washington warned that “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” Do you understand that? Do you understand that for our nation to survive as our founders had hoped it would that it would be our responsibility to ensure that it did? For us to do that would require that we, first, understand how our system of government was to work, then secondly, ensure that those we elected held true to the Constitution which created this Republic.
We have done neither. Continue reading
If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government… ~ Federalist 28, Alexander Hamilton
There is a phrase that I have heard mentioned from time to time on the internet, and up until now I always thought it was just something somebody made up. However, after doing a bit of research I discovered that back in September of 1830 during a campaign speech for Senator, Stephen Decatur Miller said, “There are three and only three ways to reform our Congressional legislation, familiarly called, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box.”
I’m tired of arguing with people, or trying to convince them that the ultimate authority in this country resides with the people, and that our government is bound by the limits we have imposed upon it through the Constitution. I truly am. People are dead set on believing whatever it is that they believe, and it seems that no matter if they are Republican or Democrat, they only want to believe that the opposing party is the only thing that is wrong with this country.
If you really want to believe that all we have to do to restore America is to elect enough candidates from either the Republican, or the Democrats to get a majority, and then America will suddenly be hunky dory, then you need to go see a proctologist to have your head removed from your rear end. Continue reading
After our Constitution was written it was sent to the legislatures of the 13 original states for debate and possible ratification. It is important to understand that it was by an act of these state legislatures agreeing to this Constitution that our federal government came into existence. Had they not agreed to it, agreed to cede certain defined powers over to the federal government, we would not have a federal government in Washington D.C. today.
Among those who opposed the Constitution, one of the primary reasons for opposition was a concern over the loss of states’ rights. Over the course of the ratification debates those in favor of the proposed Constitution wrote a series of articles in an effort to garner support for the Constitution among the people. These articles became known as The Federalist Papers… Continue reading
On Saturday December 22, 1787, The Independent Journal in New York published an article written by Alexander Hamilton under the pseudonym of Publius. This would be the twenty-sixth out of eighty five such articles which we now know as the Federalist Papers. Hamilton begins his article by saying, “It was a thing hardly to be expected that in a popular revolution the minds of men should stop at that happy mean which marks the salutary boundary between POWER and PRIVILEGE, and combines the energy of government with the security of private rights. A failure in this delicate and important point is the great source of the inconveniences we experience, and if we are not cautious to avoid a repetition of the error, in our future attempts to rectify and ameliorate our system, we may travel from one chimerical project to another; we may try change after change; but we shall never be likely to make any material change for the better.”
Why do I begin my article with a quote from an article written over 200 years ago? Well it is because a good many people in this country realize that there is something wrong, that things aren’t going the way they should be, but they don’t know what exactly is to blame. Every two years we go to the polls and cast our votes for people to represent us in government, with every fourth year we go to vote for who will be our next president. We do so, then sit back hoping that these newly elected representatives will fix whatever it is that is wrong with this country. The problem is that they are what’s wrong with this country. Continue reading
Anyone who has read even one of my articles knows that I tend to use lots of quotes. I do this to show that the point I am trying to get across is not my own personal opinion, but it was the opinion of them men who established our system of government.
To truly understand how our system of government was supposed to function one cannot simply take our current elected representatives at their word that what they are doing is justified and legal, one MUST go to the source of all the power they hold over us and then, and only then, can we know whether what they are doing is legally justified. Continue reading
If you have paid any attention to the news lately you will have noticed that there are three major stories which the news media have been focusing their attention upon. There is the search for that missing airplane, the mudslide in Washington State, and the crisis in the Ukraine. It is upon this last subject which I’d like to devote my attention.
I don’t know if it is due to residual animosity, left over from the Cold War, but it seems that there is a lot of anger and hatred aimed at Russia. So any move made by Russian President Vladimir Putin is viewed with suspicion and hostility. Two things, unless Putin directly attacks the United States it is none of our business what he does over there. We are not the worlds police force whose job it is to check and halt aggression all over the planet. Secondly, and this is more important; we should stop and think about how hypocritical we must look to the rest of the world. Continue reading