HISTORY LESSON; Small Government or No Government?

17 Feb

HISTORY LESSON: SMALL GOVERNMENT, NO GOVERNMENT ?

Louise Annarino

2-17-2012

 

Republican and Libertarian 2012 presidential candidates have followed two themes: small government, or no government. In support of these complimentary positions they rewrite American history, even Mr. History Gingrich who should know better does so.

 

Colonial Americans did not dump tea in Boston Harbor because they opposed taxes; but, because they were unrepresented in the British Parliament. Initially, they did not want  to end government but to participate in it. The corruption and despotism of British monarch George III, the arrogance and disdain of the British Parliament toward colonial interests, and the overriding desire to refill a depleted British treasury following the Seven Years War on the backs of colonists stirred the minds and hearts of the American colonists who began to see themselves as simply “Americans”. They declared their independence from Britain and immediately started designing a government very like the one they overthrew, with some interesting twists learned from native American political structures.

 

For example, the British Parliament has two chambers: the House of Lords (aristocracy), and House of Commons (everyone else). One of the hottest arguments after the revolution was between those who wanted to call George Washington “King-Your Majesty-Your Highness” and those who wanted to avoid all things aristocratic and call him “Mr. President”. Mr. Washington insisted on the latter, and shunned all signs of royalty. Americans chose a bi-furcated legislative body, the Senate and The House of Representatives. Their response to despotism and the threat of autocratic rule was a “separation of powers” between the Executive,Legislative and Judicial Branches of government. “We the People, By the People, and For the People” was born.

 

Initially, they favored a “confederation” of quite independent states based on the Native American “confederation of tribes” model; but, soon recognized the need for a strong federal government, affirmed early on by The U.S. Supreme Court. The failure to directly address the slavery issue and women’s right to vote, despite Abigail Adams’ warning to her husband John to “mind the ladies”, remained a stain on self-government and equal rights for all citizens; and, eventually led to a civil war.

 

I have been watching Ken Burns’ THE CIVIL WAR. It is appalling that after such horrific suffering caused by secessionists and slave owners with the support of Southerners, including West Point graduates, among them Robert E. Lee, who abandoned their oaths to support the United States of America and called it “honorable”, that our current batch of presidential candidates would also suggest secession, states rights, and the honor of the American people as appropriate policy within the Republican Party. The Republican Party, The Grand Old Party (GOP) which gave us Abraham Lincoln as its first presidential candidate. It is shameful;how far the Republican Party has fallen.

 

We must not accept a discussion of secession to be considered a legitimate possibility. To attack President Obama as unpatriotic while behaving so unpatriotically themselves is the height of hypocrisy. They use the threat of secession as a means of attacking a strong federal government; just as it was used to instigate a civil war 200 years ago. Why would they risk such division among our citizens? The same reason they did then…money and power. Racist code talk, outright racist comments, and outright lies about President Obama’s policies and leadership should have been laid to rest 200 years ago.

 

Those, who argue a strong and active federal ( Paul,Perry,Gingrich,Romney et al) or state government (Governors Kasich R-OH and Walker R-WI) takes away our liberty are wrong. If by “government” one means government led by a despot this is true. But WE are the government. WE pass legislation, make rules, interpret laws through those WE elect to represent us in those endeavors while we go about earning a daily living. WE are not despots. WE are not deprivers of our own liberty. WE decide what government does;despite the fact George W. Bush “the Decider” alleged otherwise. The Government is not something apart from ourselves; it is US. When Republican candidates attack government, they attack US. WE are “we the people”. Why attack our governments? Because WE are all that stands in the way of those 1% “aristocrats” who want to make money at our expense. Have we forgotten the our history?

 

In the meantime, they distract us and delude us into thinking our governments, federal-state-local are attacking us. We are under attack, but not by government. Discover and support your own self-interest…your government.

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