Monday, June 9, 2014

We the People

Are Americans overreaching their authority for holding our public officials accountable for their actions?  Should Americans simply remain bystanders and allow our “representatives” to do what they deem fit for our country?  George Washington was acutely aware of the sentiments of the People.  In a letter to Benjamin Harrison dated December 18, 1778, Washington expressed his concerns about the political system in America.  The following is an excerpt from the letter where Washington discusses the role of Americans in the nation’s political system: 

 “I think our political system may, be compared to the mechanism of a Clock; and that our conduct should derive a lesson from it for it answers no good purpose to keep the smaller Wheels in order if the greater one which is the support and prime mover of the whole is neglected.”

He addresses the concerns of Americans:

“The Public believes (and if they do believe it, the fact might almost as well be so) that the States at this time are badly represented, and that the great, and important concerns of the nation are horribly conducted, for want either of abilities or application in the Members, or through discord and party views of some individuals….”

Furthermore, he points out the necessity of why Americans should hold officials accountable for their actions:

“A picture of the times, and of Men; from what I have seen, heard, and in part know I should in one word say that idleness, dissipation and extravagance seem to have laid fast hold of most of them.  That Speculation, peculation, and an insatiable thirst for riches seems to have got the better of every other consideration and almost of every order of Men.  That party disputes and personal quarrels are the great business of the day whilst the momentous concerns of an empire, a great and accumulated debt; ruined finances, depreciated money, and want of credit (which in their consequences is the want of every thing)* are but secondary considerations and postponed from day to day, from week to week as if our affairs wore the most promising aspect; after drawings this picture from my Soul I believe to be a true one I need not repeat to you that I am alarmed and wish to see my Countrymen roused.”

Again, Washington insists that Americans must get involved:

“I am afraid even to think of It; but it appears as clear to me as ever the Sun did in its meredian brightness, that America never stood in more eminent need of the wise, patriotic, and Spirited exertions of her Sons than at this period….”

*My emphasis added.

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