It is quite often referred to as a separate entity: "The government is taxing us to death", or "I don't agree with the government". But what ever happened to the "We the People" mentality that formed this great Union? Why is it that the founders, who envisioned an independent nation of free men, are being left to the history books, being replaced by the "common understanding" of the overbearing government.
In fact, this is the very situation that led the founding fathers to cast off the tyranny and form a "more perfect union".
I am not saying that GW is the "king", and we are his minions... what I am saying is that the separation of the people and the government is the danger that leads a state to revolution, as was the case some 231 years ago. The government was SO out of touch with the people, that they cast off the government and decided to govern themselves. We are at a point now where we have to decide: Do we want to govern ourselves, or be governed?
Let's take a look at some historical views of the government, and it's role... perhaps to better understand how we got here...
George Washington, in his farewell address:
The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad, of your safety, of your prosperity, of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth, as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned, and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.
George Washington so eloquently spoke of the love of freedom, and with the blood of freedom so fresh on the ground, to always remember the freedom from tyranny, and to be jealous with the ability to self govern. He declared that all men should fight for the control of the government, and revere our form of government, as freedom of man is the ultimate goal of life...
James Monroe (5th President) in his inaugural address:
Such, then, is the happy Government under which we live--a Government adequate to every purpose for which the social compact is formed; a Government elective in all its branches, under which every citizen may by his merit obtain the highest trust recognized by the Constitution; which contains within it no cause of discord, none to put at variance one portion of the community with another; a Government which protects every citizen in the full enjoyment of his rights, and is able to protect the nation against injustice from foreign powers.
President Monroe, an anti-Federalist, and one of the fathers of the Republican party, believed that the role of the government was to uphold the constitution - that the rights and liberty of the people should be upheld, that the people should be protected from enemies (foreign and domestic), and that the role of the government should not be separated from the action of the people - thus adhering to a limited form of existence.
Thomas Jefferson's original version of the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created
equal & independent , that from that equal creation they derive rights
inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these ends, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government shall become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, & to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles & organising its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety & happiness.
Jefferson was so adamant that the government was only to exist at the consent of the people, and NOT to exist as a purpose to rule.
Now let's look at more modern views of government...
The role of government had been pretty much as intended by the founding fathers... limited involvement into the lives of the citizens, with expected involvement from the citizens into the dealings of the government. It wasn't perfect, as history showed (Civil War, Manifest Destiny, etc). But there was a turning point in our history where the role of government became less "By the People" and more "For the People"...
Franklin D. Roosevelt at a speech in Boston in 1932:
We have two problems: first, to meet the immediate distress; second, to
build up on a basis of permanent employment. As to immediate relief, the first
principle is that this nation, this national government, if you like, owes a
positive duty that no citizen shall be permitted to starve. In addition to
providing emergency relief, the Federal Government should and must provide
temporary work wherever that is possible. You and I know that in the national
forests, on flood prevention, and on the development of waterway projects that
have already been authorized and planned but not yet executed, tens of
thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of our unemployed citizens can be
given at least temporary employment.
Roosevelt enacted his "New Deal" legislation that put the government in the authoritative role that we see it as today. Granted, his ideas were necessary in a way that the the US needed to think and care for it's citizens, but he left the door open to corruption and "overstepping" of government as a separate entity into the affairs of the individual... believing that it is the DUTY of the government to intervene and help whenever it sees fit.
Right up to the politicians of today, this idea of government involvement has grown like a weed:
Hilary Clinton in a comment made May 29th, 2007:
Fairness doesn't just happen. It requires the right government policies.
2nd Circuit Court of Appeals - a report from Rick Scarborough:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, sitting in New York, just
issued a ruling which would hamstring the FCC's efforts to keep the worst
obscenity off the airwaves, if it's allowed to stand.
So now we are looking at a government that is separated from the people, that does not trust or allow the individuals to determine "fairness", and is refusing to protect the youngest and most vulnerable citizens from the worst form of obscenity.
So I ask you... what IS the role of the government? Do we need the government to give us policies dictating our rights and liberties? Do we support a government that no longer protects the citizens? Does the government represent the will of the people, or does the government rule with (in the words of Thomas Jefferson) an "act of force, and not of right"?
And I ask you this... Are the "media favorite" candidates upholding your belief in the role of government, or are they simply more of the same?
As a citizen of the United States, the greatest nation of free men, what role will you play in repairing the United States? and do you want to live in a country where liberty or government prevails?