"Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder."
"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts."
The above words were spoken by Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln (respectively). With just these three short quotes, we can see that, in concert, these political leaders from our past are still speaking to us today.
Jefferson is saying it is the nature of government to keep growing, causing the liberties of a people to shrink proportionally.
Washington tells us about human nature and the fact that men (and women) are not so virtuous that they are incapable of being bought out for a price.
What happens then, when we put Washington's men in Jefferson's government, and then go about our daily lives, washing our hands of politics and trusting these politicians to protect our liberties from organized self-centered Americans and imperialistic foreign governments?
Before we go on, let's not forget about Lincoln's people. He said if these people are given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. If Americans are not facing a national crisis presently, then I guess I don't know what a national crisis is!
Citizens, you and I are the people Lincoln was speaking of. He said the great point was for us to get the real facts.
What are the real facts? For starters, the politicians have deceptively portrayed themselves as being split into two distinct and monolithic opposing political parties. This gives us the illusion that once we've done our "patriotic duty" at the polls, mechanically voting for our own Democrats or our own Republicans without fully understanding the issues at stake, we can criticize those around us for voting the other way.
We do this by babbling all the "rich vs. poor" and "permissive values vs. traditional values" hype that supposedly goes distinctly with each party, making each of us feel so self-righteous.
While we are arguing with one another, defending our own "virtuous" politicians in our own "perfect" parties, the politicians of both parties (Washington's men) are laughing while dining out with influential agents of domestic and foreign special interests and selling out Jefferson's government.
Wouldn't it be a fresh change to see all of Lincoln's people begin to chastise politicians of both parties instead of just the "other" party? Maybe that would get their attention.
But can we break through the illusion? I must confess: my own jury is still out on whether or not Americans prefer facts to illusions. But, given the truth of the facts, Lincoln felt he could depend upon us.
Can't you almost hear Mr. Lincoln saying, "Throw the hypocritical rascals out. And make sure all their staff members are swept out with them!"
Thanks, Tom and George, for your perceptive words. And thanks for being honest, Abe, and for being optimistic in giving the people the benefit of the doubt.
--Kenneth J. Wolf #21 (07/11/92)
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