Imagine that the Founding Fathers could travel from the past into our world and see just how America, the nation they created, had evolved. They would see an America that they would never have envisioned and they would decry what it has now become.
Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and their fellow founders were courageous patriots who put country above all else. They saw America as a nation with the potential for greatness, but they also had grave concerns over the dangers that lie ahead as the young nation grew and spread its wings.
The Founders would be very distressed as they viewed the America of today, a nation now beset by a myriad of very serious problems, most of them of its own making.
Endless War, A Military Empire
The Founding Fathers warned against standing armies and the dangers of imperialism. Here are several quotes that illustrate their great concerns relative to this issue:
Jefferson: “If there be one principle more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.”
Washington: “I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.”
Madison: “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
Modern-day U.S. governments and presidents have taken a completely opposite view. For decades they have followed an agenda of endless war and maintained a massive military empire, one that stretches across the world to protect America’s “vital interests”, with oil being the greatest.
They would be dismayed by the Bush Doctrine, a policy this current government still continues to follow, which states that it has the right to launch a pre-emptive attack against any nation or faction within it that it even suspects of being a threat to America.
Assault On The U.S. Constitution
They would be astounded to learn that, in 2010, the current U.S. Supreme Court, in the Citizens United Case, violated the 1st Amendment when it granted corporations the same rights of free speech as American citizens; and, thereby, opened the floodgates for unlimited campaign contributions that would serve to thoroughly contaminate this country’s election process.
The latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed by President Obama on January 2, 2013 authorizes the indefinite detention, without trial or indictment, of any US citizen designated as an enemy by the chief executive. This Act violates the 6th Amendment which states that U.S. citizens must be formally charged and must receive jury trials to defend themselves against any charges placed against them. It guards against indefinite detentions of citizens not charged with a specific violation of law.
The Founders created the 4th Amendment to guarantee “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
However, the NSA (The National Security Agency) has chosen to violate this amendment by collecting masses of electronic communications of the American people, supposedly as a means of guarding against potential terrorist plots. It could not be more clear that those in the White House and the Congress who have oversight responsibility over this agency fully intend to allow it to continue to invade the privacy of U.S. citizens without any restrictions.
Ethics, Integrity, Morals
The Founders would be more than troubled to see how these important principles were falling by the wayside as the scam artists and manipulators who inhabit Wall Street continue to use every deceitful tactic at their disposal to fleece the American people, all in the quest for greater profits; yet neither the Bush nor the Obama administrations have initiated any in-depth criminal investigations or prosecutions to punish the perpetrators. The bandits of Wall Street have been given license to continue their unlawful and unethical practices; they remain untouched; seemingly, above the law.
How might the Founders react to the recent very troubling revelations involving CIA torture practices and the apparent lies and cover-ups by those in this government? Well, we might venture to say that they would find these actions by this government agency totally reprehensible and a low point in this nation’s history.
Crime And Violence
The Founders would see an American society in which numerous forms of violence are committed by Americans against their fellow Americans. Much of this societal violence can be attributed to the fact that there are more than 250 million firearms of various types owned by the American people, including deadly assault-type weapons.
Many states have enacted “stand your ground”, laws and all 50 have passed “concealed carry” laws, both supposedly designed to reduce violence; but, in reality, they could well result in increased confrontations leading to more needless deaths as more Americans have the capability to take the law into their own hands. But when was the last time you heard of a state increasing the funding of programs to identify and step up the treatment of those who clearly have mental problems that could endanger their fellow citizens?
This continuing slaughter of innocents in this society goes on because the members of Congress dare not go up against the massive influence of the NRA that represents the powerful firearms industry. These great patriots of the past would find it incomprehensible that America has now become, by far, the most violent of the developed nations of the world.
Democracy Replaced By An Oligarchy:
How shocked the Founders would be to see America’s democracy under attack by those whose objective is to transform this government from one “of, by and for the people”, into one that is, instead, controlled by the money and power of those who put the generation of profits above the needs and interests of this country.
The Founders recognized the dangers of what they called the “aristocracy of corporations” and “the selfish spirit of commerce that knows no country, and feels no passion or principle but that of gain.” The Founders were well aware of the power that corporations, especially the banks, possessed and they feared that this power could and would be used to control the functions of government; how right they were.
They would see a Congress in a state of gridlock, unwilling to pass critically important legislation needed to address this nation’s mounting domestic problems. They would see presidents enter office and, shortly thereafter, succumb to the power of big business and the Military-Industrial Complex.
As this corruption of the election process gains momentum an increasing number of Americans who are already totally fed up with politicians and no longer trust their government to represent their interests, simply refuse to vote. That’s why in the 2014 mid-term elections a pathetic 37% of eligible voters went to the polls; over 60% did not want any part of it, another blow to the heart of this democracy.
Government Versus Its Own Citizens
The Founders would find it incomprehensible that, in this country known for its freedoms, we are witnessing the emergence of a police state involving police SWAT teams, the use of massive armored vehicles and police snipers; that the situation is getting so bad in many areas of the country that people are resisting the heavy-handedness of police agencies by using one of the only methods at their disposal; their cell phone cameras to record police abusive tactics.
Heightened levels of protests are taking place across this country after people have witnessed a sharp increase in excessive force, including shootings of civilians in situations that did not justify such deadly force. As these overreactions by police in various parts of America escalate the most troubling aspect is when grand juries fail to bring police officers to trial for these offenses against citizens. And this clearly is an indication that those responsible for enforcing the law are being allowed to operate above the law themselves.
Suppression Of Dissension
Jefferson is often quoted as having said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism”, words that proclaim that American citizens have a patriotic duty to challenge their government’s policies and actions when they appear to be in conflict with the best interests of the people and the laws of the land.
They would see a current U.S. government that, instead of advocating and protecting free speech and allowing dissension as a legitimate means to identify and correct major governmental abuses, has been actively conducting a war of suppression against whistleblowers and investigative journalists.
New York Times journalist James Risen was threatened with prison unless he identified his government source that helped to expose a botched C.I.A. operation in Iran. Risen refused to reveal his source as the threats against him mounted and he prevailed against the Justice Department; he and other courageous journalists in this country are following in the footsteps of the fearless Daniel Ellsberg who published the Pentagon Papers that exposed military abuses in Vietnam and eventually led to the Watergate Scandal and the resignation of President Nixon.
The Founders would be proud of these and other courageous Americans who are standing up against government attempts to interfere with the freedom of speech and the press.
Poverty, Homelessness, Massive Inequality Of Income
The Founding Fathers would be deeply troubled by the fact that 47 million Americans are dependent upon food stamps with roughly the same number living below the poverty line. They would see this as a national disgrace. How could such a terrible condition be allowed to continue? And what kind of a country and government is this when many of its decadent politicians are determined to slash this critically important program that millions of Americans so badly need?
They would find a great many Americans no longer share in the American Dream and no longer possess upward mobility in this society; many are now trapped in a state of joblessness, homelessness and hopelessness. It’s not only the poor who are suffering from the effects of the inequality of wealth and income in this country, supposedly the wealthiest in the world. Our middle class is slowly but surely being dismantled, as more and more wealth is transferred from the heart of America to those at the top of the income spectrum.
This massive inequality is largely due to the fact that this country’s business sector has decimated America’s manufacturing sector and associated workforce by handing it over to China. This government has stood by and watched as some 60,000 factories have been closed in this country since the year 2000 and some 5 million jobs have been lost as a result and has done absolutely nothing to stop the hemorrhaging. These craven politicians have allowed the masters of Corporatism to carve the heart out of America.
A Government That, Seemingly, Has Lost Its Sense Of Direction And Purpose
The Founders would see a country that has fallen far short of its potential because its leaders have failed to follow a coherent, constructive path to strengthen this nation. Once the most respected and admired country in the world it has, by its highly aggressive military actions, with invasions and occupations of countries around the world, now has earned the reputation, based on a recent report from an international Gallup poll, of being the “greatest threat to world peace.” The Founders would be shocked and in a state of complete disbelief that this could have happened to America.
They would search for American exceptionalism, for statesmen, modern-day patriots, and visionaries who put country first but that would prove to be an exercise in futility. They would, very likely, find a handful of individuals who might fit that description but who are powerless to do what is right for this country because they are trapped within a system that very effectively prevents those type individuals from assuming positions of power and responsibility.
The Founding Fathers would be devastated at what they had seen, unable to comprehend what the country that they had created had now become.