Knowing my audience would immediately challenge my ideological foundations instead of listening to what I had to say, I opted to frame my remarks around those given by George Washington in his 1796 Farewell Address. By doing so, I figured I would not only capture my audience's attention, but I would also discount any negative feelings they would have about my "politics." Sure enough, it worked! Washington, in his address warned us all that the biggest threats to our system of government were the negative influences of factions, including but not limited to political parties, interest groups and their supporting media. He went on to state that the only "check" on "false patriot" purveyors of negative influences was an active electorate, fully informed of the truth and armed with the power of public opinion. He also mentioned the need to remain diligent in this effort, as it can become far too easy to become complacent and susceptible to corrupting outside "influences." Although Washington included a mention that the only way for society to change our government was the Constitutional method of amendments, I consciously avoided getting into a Second Amendment argument ('gotta know your audience right?)!
By framing my presentation around Washington, I was able to make the cogent argument that it is our collective responsibility to stay informed and involved to keep those in power in "check" and to use the ballot box to keep them from wandering astray from our best interests (after all, elections already give us the ability to impose Term Limits on our elected officials)! After my presentation, members of the audience were given the opportunity to ask questions, and ask they did! I fielded questions pertaining to elections, Citizens United, the fiscal cliff, the deficit, presidential executive actions, and our current education system! If I was not totally pumped during the presentation, I certainly was after fielding such great questions from the audience!
So my mission has become clear. I am officially on my way to convince Americans that we have a civic duty to learn our history and Constitution, and to use that knowledge to empower the Electorate so that it is less susceptible to political manipulation by political parties, interest groups and their ideologically supporting for-profit media. From the responses received since the presentation, I am convinced Americans long for the opportunity to exercise this power! Perhaps we should issue a new declaration? A Declaration of Independence from political parties, interest groups and their manipulative media? Americans are finally waking up!