September 24, 2017

“WE THE PEOPLE”, ON A DEATH WISH

  “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

 

In his classic study of our nascent democracy, Tocqueville made many predictions, some wrong, but none as accurate as the above one.    Indeed, in the last decades our country has been in a steady decline that started with the erosion of our values. It is not a secret that radical socialism, from communism to England’s Fabian society has always espoused a peaceful bringing down of the USA’s Constitutional Republic by infiltrating the composition of our society, namely the media, education system, and to a lesser extent religious institutions and political system.

A case also could be made, like history tells us, that as a society progresses, the seeds of its demise are planted. When this country was established, its leaders and citizens were farmers and land owners, raised with a deep religious belief and Judeo-Christian values that started with a strong nuclear family, desire for liberty, opportunity not dependency, and a willingness to help the less fortunate. Immigrants came seeking possibility not doles, willing to sacrifice themselves to benefit their future generations. No one demanded as a right healthcare, education, housing, or retirement benefits. The chance to become self sufficient was their only aspiration. Leaders were elected based on merit, not popularity or false promises. Their faith was not only exhibited, and a source of pride for the individual, but was part of the governing class that was not shy in demonstrating their convictions.

As the country evolved into an industrial age, with manufacturing becoming the mainstay of our economy, the potential for achievement expanded as inventiveness, entrepreneurship, and hard work in an economic system based on free markets increased the riches of the nation and the establishment of a strong middle class. Whether by a contrived subversion, a natural evolution, or a combination of factors, the reality is that presently “we the people” have changed and are, as if having a death wish, leading our country to its destruction. Where we were defending the rights of the minority in fear of the called “tyranny of the majority”, we are now on a reverse course. Our first amendment is being misinterpreted and used as an excuse to make most of us, like sheep, follow the demands of the activist minority.

The amendment is simple and reads; Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. It does not prohibit our leaders from being and/or demonstrating their spiritual ideals, only imposing them unto others. If you are an atheist, schools should not force you to pray, but you do not have the right either to force others to stop. Unfortunately, this is exactly what is happening and with the label of “political correctness”, the few are imposing their will upon the ones of the many.

Our government obviously has become a reflection of our societal dysfunction. All three branches and both political parties are to be blamed. A Congress branch that only opposes and does not act, an Executive that steadily increases its power, and a Judicial that responds to political ideology not our Constitution, has been the result. Our population is basically uninterested, lacking education, becoming more dependent on the elite and simultaneously missing a strong family unit, principles, or values, and have become prone to being manipulated by demagogues, and unethical candidates. We were ripe for the worst, and it has happened.

After eight years of suffering from a twice elected president that has imposed his will, expanding the regulations that destroy small businesses, as if favors “crony capitalism”, decreasing the middle class, and increasing the dependency of the population, the desire for change and calls against the “establishment”, have guided the voters. How then, can “we the people” support as the ones that will change the “status quo”, the very ones that have thrived by exploiting the mere system that we claim to oppose? It can be only the result of an America that “has ceased to be good”.

I fear for the future, when we will be governed by an “elite” that will ignore our Constitution and keep power by joining forces with their rich cronies and elected by votes from the increasing dependent population. A changed and weakening America will forgo its world dominance that has served to balance the ambitions of other powers, resulting in the vacuum been filled by other nations with potentially great dangers to all. I only hope that I am wrong!

Fernando J. Milanes, MD

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