As I complete writings relating to the updated Fifth Edition of "How Our Government Really Works, Despite What They Say", I can only think what some of our Founding Fathers would think after witnessing the current political atmosphere in America. I also wonder how they would address our current president whom seems to have little to no regard to the traditions founded in our presidential history. I mean, we celebrate our fathers because of all they have done for us. I know I learned a few things from my dad. Isn't it past time we learn more from our Founding Fathers and celebrate them? So let's get at it, shall we.
What would George Washington say this Father's Day to America? "There is nothing which can better deserve your patronage, than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness." You think folks today still believe that science and literature are true hallmarks of devotion? From climate change deniers to purveyors of "Alternate Facts" on social media, I doubt Mr. Washington would get many to agree with him (but you can still count me in George, really!).
How about Benjamin Franklin? Ever wonder what his position would be on the whether Americans should trust science rather than the rumor mill we now call "social media?" Franklin once wrote; "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." Gee, any businessman (surely Mr. Trump) would recognize the return on any investment must include dividends. But I'm doubtful our current president or those that support him appreciate or understand that true knowledge, especially in the ways government is structured and designed to work for the direct benefit of all Americans, and not the chosen few (supported by those under the far-fetched notion they too may one day be rich- which is a real illusion). Instead of categorizing those with knowledge as a feared and distrusted "elite", perhaps we should heed Washington's guidance? Actual knowledge IS power, and half-baked belief's based upon partisan driven rumors, fake news and alternative facts (err, lies) is not.
What about Alexander Hamilton? Which of his words of guidance ring most true today? "Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments." I guess these are words extremists refuse to recognize because they have fallen prey to their own hypocrisy when it comes to their views of the country. Wouldn't it be great if Hamilton's words would take root in our modern society? Can we ever expect to return to a time when moderation and compromise in our government is respected as the only positive way forward for our great nation?
I believe James Madison penned several very astute observations about our government and its role in our society. But the following suits my purpose today more than others; "I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." This gradual "usurpation" falls at the feet of those working tirelessly to undermine public education, hoping to leave the American electorate clueless when it comes to our government and the role America must play in the modern world. When folks claim "America First" they clearly have no clue that inherently means America LEADS the Free World. If we pay no heed to the gradual influence of Fake News, we run the real risk of allowing the corrosion from these outlets to further take hold and weaken the bedrock of our democracy. We must guard against such erosion, just as Madison warned.
Ah, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence. What did he say about our liberties?
"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." I doubt Jefferson meant to educate the masses via social media without teaching the public to use critical thinking skills first. I know this is a difficult task in today's "get info now" society, but it requires brain power and our education system must be free to teach these basic human skills again.
I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. If we honor our fathers today, let us all honor our Founding Fathers by demanding more from our politicians and the president. As John Adams once wrote; "Liberty, according to my metaphysics is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power." Makes you wish Mr. Adams and all of our Founding Fathers could sit down with our elected officials and the president, right? I mean, "thought" (and non-partisan intelligence) sure seem to be missing in today's politically partisan society. So happy Fathers Day to all dads, with us or not - and to our Founding Fathers whose lessons on liberty must be learned if we are to make America Great Again! Have a great week!