Friday, September 18, 2009

Constitution Day & 21st Century America

Portrait of James Madison

Yesterday was Constitution Day, the anniversary of the day the U.S. Constitution was completed by a convention in Philadelphia in 1787. It came and went without notice from the media or punditry. I'm fairly sure that most Americans were completely unaware of it.

In a 2000 statement archived by the House of Representatives, Congressman Ron Paul (R) of Texas wrote:

"At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a Mrs. Powel anxiously awaited the results, and as Benjamin Franklin emerged from the long task now finished, asked him directly: 'Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?' 'A republic if you can keep it' responded Franklin."

Have We The People (...as our Founding Document famously begins) kept our republic? Sadly, no! Instead we have handed to our government more unchecked powers and privileges than any English monarch would have dreamed to impose upon his colonies.

Compared to the tyranny we 21st century Americans endure daily, our Founding Fathers' grievances seem trifling and petty. And yet how much they did and how dearly they paid to redress those grievances and establish a free republic! Am I calling the 18th century revolutionaries petty? Heaven forbid!

I am rather calling them principled and passionate, and I am doing so to shame and exhort you to their depth of faith and commitment, because if we contemporary Americans had one tenth their mettle and fortitude, we would not presently find our government in such a desperate state of disrepair!

Again I say a mere tithe of their spirit would fully suffice to mend matters, because we have suffered tens times over and more the abuses that the revolutionary generation endured under the English Monarchy. We also have advantages of wealth, technology, and communication unheard of in their day.

And no, you will not hear out of me any trite admonitions to make their sacrifice worthwhile by maintaining the republic they founded. Do it for yourself! Seize your freedom here and now because you matter, because you are a human being and not chattel for the government!

Do it for the living! Advocate here and now for the people who are living here and now, who are victimized and abused by the government here and now, a government that claims to act in your name and for your best interests.

I ask you a day after the anniversary of this republic's formation, will you live in a republic or in a corrupt, many-headed monster of an oligarchy that would bring a fit of nausea to the very stomach of King George III himself?

If you will live in a republic, then I say keep your head up: stay engaged, stay active, and stay focused. The 912 rally in Washington was a very encouraging development. I hope each and every one of those patriots returns home and attends meetings of their county party and local chapters of organizations that fight for liberty.

Liberty and republican government are never completely won or permanently safe. They must be fought for and carefully guarded by vigilant patriots in each new generation. May history smile on ours as the one that honored Dr. Franklin's exhortation to keep our republic.