The Price of a Republic Overcoming Hate, Partisanship, and Ignorance (Part 1)

Do we intend to reward financially with our money groups and individuals who do nothing other than advance partisanship and promote hate, or are we just so complacent and ignorant of what is happening?

A simple definition of Republic is:  A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them.

For us in the United States of America we have a Constitutional Republic with the core of our political system being that document ratified in 1789.  Perhaps you had to memorize the Preamble to the Constitution at some point, probably in grade school.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Historical Abstract:

Now most of us have learned enough United States history to understand that our path to establish this Constitution was not a well-rehearsed progression.  Thirteen colonies of Great Britain fought a war to gain their independence from the mother country. Reasons and actually desires for independence ranged greatly region to region and person to person. Regardless the military result saw the British surrendering at Yorktown. The Articles of Confederation served as the basis of government for the 13 colonies by the conclusion of the military conflict and that government negotiated the peace terms at Paris in 1783.  The lack of a strong central government and its inability to collect revenue, led to a crisis.  Leaders sent delegates to Philadelphia for the purpose of amending the Articles.  Those men, however, meeting in secret, instead drafted a new form of government.

That draft represented a beginning, not an end. An arduous battle took place to have the individual states ratify that government via special conventions called for that purpose and not by submission to the recognized authorities under the Articles, the state governments.

From the time we officially proclaimed independence in a document which also served as a declaration of war against England in the year 1776 it took 13 years for our country to be governed under the Constitution.  Two years after that ratification, we added the 10 Amendments we call the Bill of Rights to our Constitution. That year was 1791.

Yes there is more to the story. There’s a lot more during that 15 year period, and the amount of material doesn’t even reach the proverbial tip of an iceberg when one takes into consideration the sweat, tears, and blood shed by generation after generation over the course of United States History with how our government has taken shape with that elastic document, the Constitution, as its base.

The Debates:

Some do not like the term elastic document and some today argue that many of our problems exist today from our government’s lack of strict adherence to the Constitution.  The problem with that argument is that we would not exist as the same country today if the interpretation of the Constitution championed by Alexander Hamilton of determining whether something was ‘necessary and proper’ existed within the document.

Thomas Jefferson who resigned from George Washington’s Cabinet because of his disagreement with Hamilton’s broad interpretation versus Jefferson’s strict reading would later employ Hamilton’s philosophy as President.  Many of those arguing today of unconstitutional actions are in fact advocating for Constitutional foundations accepted after ratification. Many Americans today would not be able to vote based upon the original reading. That’s not because of race but because of property and gender.  If one could vote, that vote was not secret.  That ‘right’ not to have your vote known publically resulted from the efforts of Populists in the late 19th century. The idea of a non-elected private citizen to be able to initiate actions, have an opportunity to vote on changes, and the right to recall representatives not representing their constituents is a right because of the Progressives of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In my opinion one of the saddest things today are the efforts people labeling themselves as constitutionalists, patriots, defenders of the United States, and proud Americans are undertaking to weaken the country.  Some will disagree, but too often when someone employs that phrase “love it or leave it,” they’re not championing anything historically accurate but merely of their misconceptions and feelings of superiority over anything different from their own perspective.

Is it ignorance or simply hate?

It’s like lipstick on a hog, socks on a rooster, mittens on a gator, or a tuxedo on a nutria. One can dress it up, use fancy talk, yell, intimidate, discriminate, pontificate from now until the sun stops setting and rising, and it’s still either ignorance or hate.

Love it or leave it:

The writers of the Constitution really made the courts an afterthought as they felt that the Executive and Legislative branches yielded the power.  John Marshal as Chief Justice and writing the majority opinion changed that with a decision in 1803.  By affirming that SCOTUS did not have a Constitutional power, Marshal established the precedent of judicial review which basically handed SCOTUS the key to either open or lock doors.

Like or dislike a decision, it’s the law until a new case and decision are made. We cannot pick and choose.

If you are an American citizen, my President is also your President even if we did not vote for the individual. Even if we do not like the individual, that person is still President.

Naturally the opposition argument is the President picks and chooses which laws to follow and which to enforce.  Well even if one believes that to be true, or if it were in fact true, it does not give you or me the right to pick and choose.

That’s not excusing unlawful behavior of any President.

It’s stating a fact that there are established rules to stop an unlawful President, and if we are American citizens we must follow those rules. It’s not a question of if John jumps off a cliff does that mean that you are going to go jump off a cliff yourself. Just because someone else breaks laws does not justify us being able to do the same.

Far too often officially and unofficially announced presidential candidates campaigning by disrespecting the current administration are in reality disrespecting the United States of America.  It’s one thing to oppose policy; to oppose philosophy, but the opposition typically employs personal attacks.  At times the personal attacks are veiled by smoke and mirrors of policy disagreement, but if it were truly about policy the ‘necessity’ to denigrate rather than propose an alternative would not perpetuate.

Why do this?

As long as there’s money to be made off of spreading the disease of hate, bigotry, and intolerance to those who believe what they say, this will continue. When ignorance, this me first mindset, and the mentality of “if you are not like me then something is wrong with you” are promulgated the disease reaches epidemic proportions and money fuels the proliferation.

Epidemic?  The 2012 Elections cost at minimum $6.3 billion.  [Source Center for Responsive Politics]

Elections for the House of Representatives alone cost approximately $1 billion.  Keep in mind that there are 435 voting representatives plus 6 members who may speak on the Floor and vote in committee but do not have the right to cast a vote on the Floor itself, and the typical salary is $174,000 a year.  Leadership receives higher salaries:  Speaker, $223,500; Majority and Minority leaders, $193,400. [Source]

Yes, you would be correct to point out that the numbers I’m using above are not applicable if you choose to read this piece simply as a defend Obama and bash critics piece.

The numbers I’m using, however, illustrates the amount of money spent to seek and to win political office on both sides of the aisle. One way to raise money is to tell your supporters what they want to hear.  With such a system it becomes rational to promote the irrational.

Think about it: 

In a rational world if your blood boils when someone tramples upon the Flag, it should boil when someone demeans our President.

Why doesn’t it?

Like it or not, the person is your President and if the President is recognized as the leader of the United States of America, what does the criticism, demeaning, say about the people who feel that way about their elected leader?

In a rational world would someone who complains about ‘welfare’ and people who they argue are “too lazy to work and live off of handouts” willingly give even more money to those who made a choice to remain in the dark as they profit by proliferating ignorance by disseminating partisanship and hate?

Do we intend to reward financially with our money groups and individuals who do nothing other than advance partisanship and promote hate, or are we just so complacent and ignorant of what is happening?

Part II of The Price of a Republic Overcoming Hate, Partisanship, and Ignorance will delve into some less prominent  examples of money spent to fuel the fire, and how citizens who donate small amounts (defined here as less than $100) are giving to people and entities that do not want to be identified.