Article of Faith

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The Declaration of Independence is this nation’s Founding Document . . . its Article of Faith. Penned in a literary style that is imaginative in a most captivating fashion (a seemingly lost art when one takes into account the mucilage which passes for the contemporary use of the English language, as is painfully evident when one reads his or her emails); while at the same time, denoting a catechism of ideals which formed the basis of American Exceptionalism — as opposed to that empty credo of crass consumerism and non-intellectual pursuits which seems to pervade the modern American culture; therefore, blinding the citizenry to their obligations required to maintain a vibrant system of representative government, which at this stage of the American saga, no longer exists; but is expressed ad nauseam with lip service paid to such fictions as God Bless America, America the Beautiful and Mom’s Apple Pie, all of which died decades ago, suborned by a Corporate State which, since the advent of the Lewis Powell Memo at least, has — for all intents and purposes — consigned to near irrelevance the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

From coast to coast, family gatherings, outings, picnics and other forms of assembly will rarely acknowledge the words in a document which forged this nation. “We hold these truths to be self-evident. . . ” will instead be subsumed in beer, beans and baseball, as opposed to celebrating the fact that these words are cornerstones of our Grand Republic, an idea of nationhood based upon a form of government known as a Republic, the blueprint of which is the aforementioned Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The Declaration of Independence boasts a roster of oppressive grievances, pinned as if to the proverbial church door for all to see in 1776, damning the world’s ranking imperialist power . . . the British Empire; while at the same time, setting the stage for a form of representative government, uniformly secular and free of allegiance to such outmoded concepts as control of the masses by religion or royalty, both of which were and still are the bane of freedom of thought, expression, liberty, rights and equality.

Our Manifesto of Dissent proved to be that impulse to action, spurring the Revolutionaries of Europe in 1820-21, 1830-31, the 1848 Springtime of Nations. Glorious upheavals against decadent monarchs long in the tooth and short in any form of justification for their continued existence; backlashes to which the Grand Republic sent neither men nor money; just ideas endemic in an Article of Faith that is the true virtue of American Exceptionalism. As recently as 1945, the relevance of our Founding Document could be found in the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence, read publicly by Ho Chi Minh to a half million people in Hanoi on September 2, 1945.

Reversing this Nation’s seemingly irrevocable downward trajectory lies not with these perpetual slates of corporate employees who pass for candidates vying for the highest office in the land; this was especially so with the recent contestants, low brows of the most inferior esteem and quality, not too unlike those challengers of many moons ago who vied for Joe Lewis’s heavyweight crown during the 1930s, aptly referred to as the “Bum of the Month Club.” Such are the results of these Gong Show style extravaganzas which pass for presidential debates, primaries and elections, bought and paid for by such practitioners of trickle up economics as Sheldon Adelson, George Soros, the Koch Brothers, GE, Exxon-Mobil and Goldman Sachs.

It seems readily apparent, too, that Congress, with an approval rating less than the freezing point of water, has failed miserably as the caretakers of the people’s political fortunes, proving as porous as a paper roof in a rainstorm as that firewall of protection for the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Such a travesty will only instill in many Americans a lack of faith in representative government. A development forecast at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 by Ben Franklin: “I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such: because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years and can only end in Despotism as other forms have done before it, when he People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.” (A case which can certainly be made.)

The antidote, perhaps, to the deplorable political and economic situation to which the American electorate finds itself hopelessly mired can be discerned in our Founding Document: “. . . Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and institute new Government . . . But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpation, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Mark Albertson


One response to “Article of Faith”

  1. Bob Welsh

    America will always be a work in progress. Taking the long view and paraphrasing MLK, our moral arc has bent towards justice, albeit more slowly than many of us would like. The downside of democracy is that if a majority are blind to injustice, it is unlikely to be corrected. The beauty of our democratic system is that the popular will triumphs when enough people grow passionate enough to vote. For this, every July 4th I have deep appreciation for the founders miraculous achievement.

    Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alistair Smith methodically analyzed outcomes under different governments worldwide and concluded that regardless of a government’s form, all leaders who achieve power want to remain in power. The general well-being of a population is directly correlated to the size of the group the leader(s) must please to remain in power; the larger the group, the more the population prospers. The book’s title is “The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics” and if you are into this kind of stuff it would make a fine Independence Week read.

    Happy Independence Day!

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