Just words

Friday , September 14, 2012 - 10:51 AM

John W. Reynolds

Some words just don’t go well together such as; "gonna put y’all back in chains" or, "you didn’t build that," and "legitimate rape." These words were spoken by two Democrats seeking re-election and a Republican seeking election. Voters will determine who is successful; it may be "none of the above."

Charley Reese, a columnist for 49 years, is now retired from the Orlando Sentinel newspaper. His final column excoriated the Washington power base and placed blame for our dysfunctional government and soaring debt squarely on the shoulders of 545 people; 435 representatives, 100 senators, nine Supreme Court justices and one president.

He gave a pass to special interest groups, bureaucrats and lobbyists and overlooked one large group who have direct responsibility — "We the people". In a representative form of government such as our constitutional republic, We, are responsible for electing all 545 in office even if indirectly as is the case with justices.

Now, it may make us feel good to place blame on our elected officials, and they do deserve a generous portion, but the fact of the matter is. we, have responsibility for them. There seems to be a disconnect; the question is, why. Is the disconnect because the people we elect once in Washington succumb to "Potomac fever" and immediately become corrupt and uncaring? In some cases you might think so, particularly considering how longevity and the seniority system in Congress have impacted their performance or lack thereof, and the perks and benefits they lavish on themselves.

Are we in a crisis because government has become so large that it is simply unmanageable? Much of the growth of government is due to adding new agencies to enforce more and more regulations and to intrude into our lives at every turn.

Another good question is, "Are We the people just not interested enough in good government to give a darn about participating as required in a constitutional republic form of government?"

George Washington said it best — "The power under the Constitution will always be with the people." If the people don’t care, where does that leave constitutional government? The answer is obvious; it leaves government in the position of being an "ineptocracy," a dysfunctional, inept organization. And, in the hands of those who seek only what is beneficial for themselves or their special interest, it leaves it in the hands of those who will promise anything to keep power and pander to those who help keep them in power.

Our Constitution defines who can vote; this has evolved over the years. There are no race or gender restrictions and age has been lowered to eighteen. Citizenship and residency have requirements and a criminal record can disqualify a person. For the average citizen, voting is a relatively simple process; making an informed decision is an altogether different question and requires some research and thought.

But this is all part of the bargain when our country was founded, citizens are supposed to, in fact are required really, to care enough to participate in electing those who will represent them.

It was even believed back then that standing for re-election every two and six years for members of Congress would insure that the most qualified would prevail without having term limits as we do for our president. A belief that time has proven untrue.

The three previous quotations from politicians were just words; no one was physically hurt as a result. But just as words have the power to tear down, they also have the power to elevate and bring positive results.

Our Constitution was originally just words from well-meaning and dedicated individuals, but the people believed in the words and the men who wrote them and acted accordingly thus creating a magnificent form of government and a people who prospered and became a beacon for the world. That beacon today is dimmed and somewhat tarnished because of too many negative thoughts, words and deeds.

Our hope today is to regenerate the spirit that was there at the beginning, the Spirit of ’76. We have a decision to make when we go to the polls in November; primarily a decision of leadership. Will we choose a leader who embraces America’s potential for success and reaffirms our values — or not?

If not, it won’t matter what form of government we call ourselves. The decision is one worth giving our best effort. Nothing less than America’s future is at stake. Failure to recognize this fact will likely result in a greater loss of freedom; once lost these freedoms and our way of life may never be reclaimed. There are too many "wolves" howling at the door of America’s greatness for us to ignore our responsibility or to make half-hearted responses.

Reynolds lives in Pleasant View. He is a retired businessman and member of the Kiwanis Club of North Ogden

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