Do you feel like you are being scammed? Being lied to repeatedly? Being fed more propaganda than real news? Being prevented from knowing why your freedoms are being challenged? Being considered bigoted because you have "faith"? Being herded into a feed trough of political correctness? Being manipulated? Being pitted one against another for political purposes?
Thomas Jefferson said he would rather have newspapers without a government, than a government without newspapers. He fully expected that the newspapers (today, the media in all its forms) would provide the people with the information necessary for them to control the government . . . a government of, by, and for the people.
Thomas Jefferson also said that people get the government they deserve. He evidently believed that, given an accurate accounting of the government's activities by the newspapers, the people would ultimately be responsible for ensuring the government was functioning to their satisfaction . . . ergo, the rise or fall of the government was the people's responsibility.
If he were alive today, Jefferson would be thrilled with the technological diversity of the media, its ability to communicate to the citizenry within minutes, its ability to present visuals all across the country and the world, and to provide real time commentary from those we elected to various government positions, be they local, state, or national.
It is doubtful however, that Jefferson would be thrilled with the integrity of today's media, and its failure to accurately report the news without bias. He probably didn't think the media would choose sides. But they have. He wouldn't be pleased with the apathy of the citizenry either . . . he probably would have expected the people to demand the best from their politicians. Initially, those who served in politics at all levels of our government were essentially "volunteers", not professional politicians. Of course it is highly probable that he would be first to challenge the "professional" politician. The difference between the volunteer and the professional politician is that the volunteer "gives" of him/herself for the good of the community, while the professional politician seems to be more concerned with achieving some level of personal tenure, and a desire for personal power and enrichment. In short, we are not being "served", we are being "used".
While I can't speak for Jefferson, I think it's reasonable to assume that he would do everything within his power to challenge the ever growing federal bureaucracies; the cabinet level departments that basically serve themselves and continue to grow without ever achieving the objectives for which they were established. The result of their continued presence is that we, the people, are in many ways being ruled by the non-elected. Adding salt to those bureaucratically inflicted wounds is the fact that "regulations" issued by those departments can have the force of law without ever having gone through the rigor of the legislative process necessary to enact a law.
So, where do we place the blame for the bureaucracies, or the career politicians? Do we blame the bureaucracy? Do we blame the politicians? No, we can't blame either as they are simply taking advantage of the lack of attention we, the people, have paid to our government and our political process.
We have come to accept "political correctness" as a substitute for both civil laws and moral tenets. We have allowed the citizenry to be divided by income, sex, race, political party, race and ethnicity, education, religion, and more. The "professional" politicians have promoted those divisions as a way of pitting one group against another, and for sorting them into groups to be pandered to. The "professionals" will offer (shallow) words tailored to each group in an effort to convince each of them that they are the one most deserving of their vote. And will the political candidate campaign on a promise to rein in the various bloated bureaucracies? Or to reduce the size of government? Or to restructure the "legacy" costs for those in government to make them more closely resemble the personal retirement plans of the majority of the citizenry? Or to enact laws that require every bureaucratic "regulation" to have to be approved by the Congress and signed by the Executive branch?
We can't expect those running for elected office to campaign on traditional values and integrity unless we, the people, demand that they do. Our country has lost its moral compass because of our apathy and that has resulted in our being ruled by the non-elected, our freedoms have been diminished as the Constitution is ignored, and our national debt and unfunded liabilities may be beyond recovery. If you, me, and we don't shed our apathy and become an informed and active citizenry that demands a return to adherence to the Constitution, our great nation will continue to decline. It's up to you.
What would Jefferson do?
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
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