The accountability of the Founders is lacking today
In January, 1791, encouraged by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, the US Congress passed a tax on "distilled spirits." The money would be used to pay down debt incurred during the American Revolution.
What no one at the time could predict was the level of outrage the measure would be greeted with in the lands of western Pennsylvania. Although President Washington pushed for a peaceful resolution, fighting broke out.
The President himself eventually had to lead the militia to put down what would later be known as "The Whiskey Rebellion".
This incident was considered a test for the new Constitution and the men who administered it at every level: from the voters, to the Congress, to the President himself. Would these men hold to the document even in the face of things they disagree with?
Most people who have taken an American history class have probably at least heard of the Whiskey Rebellion. What's less known is that, at the time, Mount Vernon was one of the biggest whiskey producers in the United States. By enforcing the law, Washington proved that he truly did believe in the Constitution - he did not consider himself above the average voters and dirt farmers living in the rural areas.
Contrast the integrity and actions of the 1st President of the United States who could not tell a lie with that of the 44th who thinks his powers should be limited only by lawsuits. An individual who doesn't think he has to uphold laws he doesn't agree with, be it immigration laws, welfare statues or the Constitution itself.
What a sad fall for our Republic.
And among all the calls for impeachments, suing the president, or Constitutional amendments ,one very important thing gets lost: we the people.
We're supposed to be the ultimate restraint on such abuses of power. Politicians are doing these things because we're letting them. They talk down to us because they know they can. They shamelessly carve out exemptions for themselves and their friends knowing full well that they'll never lose their positions.
The "massive" 2010 election cycle saw the Republicans capture 63 House seats and 6 Senate seats for a total of 69 seats changing hands. That's 69/468 seats up for grabs or 15%. When you throw out the people who retired or died, that number gets only sadder.
That means that 85% of the rogues gallery coasted to easy re-election, or didm't stand for office that cycle.
Is it any wonder why Harry Reid is threatening us?
And is it any surprise that politicians and their sycophants in the media have invested a lot of time making their voters stupid? Ignorant people who have not only never been taught the Constitution and the Founding, but people who seem to have never been taught much of anything at all.
Consider: right now you can go on the internet and find all kinds of outrage over the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. But how many of those people actually know why Citizens United was at the court in the first place?
When presented with this question, most of those people (the ones who don't immediately block you) will begin snarling and sneering about "big corporations" should not be allowed to "buy elections".
But Citizens United isn't a big corporation. Nor did they try to buy an election.
Yet liberal politicians are running all over the country feeding these buzz words and phrases to their brain dead masses safe in the fact that no one in their audience will ever bothering going and looking any of this stuff up.
More dangerous still: no one is bothering to read the liberal fix. Left wing politicians are selling it as getting the "big money" out of politics. But the text of the article should send chills up the spine of anyone who reads it.
But you can't explain this to the people who back it. And that's the problem we have today. Such people are careless about the dangers: like someone refusing to wear a seatbelt because they've never been in an accident. They take it for granted that free speech will always be there because they've never lived without it.
They are paving the road for the tyrant.
New amendments affirming our liberty and limiting our government are worthless if no one is going to bother upholding the old amendments affirming our liberty and limiting our government.
There was a joke about the stupidity of politicians. I disagree. I think politicians are the smartest people in the room. Each of them has found a big group of people who will mindlessly vote for them no matter what they do or what they push.
We the People are ultimately accountable.
Jeremy Meister is a historian in the Midwest.