Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Role of the Governed

Literature, history books, various news outlets and my life are my only opportunities for understanding the lives of the people. "We the people . . . " The role people have to play in their government will definitely change depending on the form of the government.

A true democracy works wonderfully well when there aren't a million people wanting a million different things. Everyone has a vote that counts. Everyone is required to make a choice. Every choice is required to be made by everyone. All laws are made by everyone.

A republic is based on representatives of some kind. These representatives represent the people. Providing a service to the individual, the representative votes for everything. The role of the people is limited based on how the representatives are chosen. If the representatives are appointed for the people, there is little the people have to do with their government. This form of government can be a very fair one or a corrupt one, depending on how it is implemented.

Monarchies, Dictatorships, Theocracies, etc. Many versions of various kinds of government, each with varying degrees of "people" involvement.

Our government is a democratic-republic. We vote for representatives who are then sent to the capitol to represent our needs. Still, the representative is expected to decide certain policies without direction from the "people". We can be more or less involved in our government to suit our individual needs. Pretty simple, really. Well, is it?

"We the people" are willing to step on the liberties of others who do not believe the same as we do.

"We the people" simply do not care. Most of us don't.

"We the people" are more interested in obtaining security at the cost of liberty.

"We the people" are willing to give the government more power and allow more interference in our lives because we do not care enough to take care of it ourselves.

"We the people" want others to give up their liberties and give up their possessions so we can have more.

"We the people" care more about ways to manipulate the system and still look good to others than we do about making real change.

"We the people" look upon self-sufficient people and entities with greed and envy.

I do not like the things I see in our society. I hear about the evils of corporations from our leaders in government and calls to increase their taxes. What? Many, many people depend on corporations for their livelihood. Whether that livelihood is gained through employment or investments, taxing the corporation will damage people.

I continue to hear about those evil people who make more than $250,000.00 annually. They must have done something wrong to have gained more than their share of the money so we must tax them at extreme rates. Do people who earn over 250,000 dollars spend their money? I bet they do. So if you take that from them, are they going to be able to spend it? Nope. Who does that help? Look, it isn't about that anyway. Fairness. Equal taxation. These seem foreign to "the people".

Global warming. There is a concept science has "proven" to be caused by the actions of humans. OK, I'll buy it. We are causing global warming. I hear about purchasing "credits" that let "the people" live their lives the way they want and still feel good about how much they are affecting global warming. What kind of hypocrisy is that? Preach the evils of living in certain ways, consuming what you feel you would like and purchasing your way out of a sore conscience. If you truly believe the human experience is causing global warming, change your life. Do not burden others with your excesses.

Apathy. The fall of Rome was founded on apathy. The fall of any great civilization is based at least in part on apathy. So, should we do anything about it? I don't care.

OK, I care. The only way for us to be the best is to care enough to do the right thing. "We the people" do not care. Generally, our lives have become too complicated to care about doing anything besides those activities that have a direct and immediate affect on us and those for whom we care. Sad, really. A self-centered attitude breeds selfishness. Simple and obvious. How do we change? Make time to do things for others. Yes, it comes down to a seven letter word. Service. Serving the needs of others helps us keep our perspective where it belongs - outward.

In Bloomington, Illinois a man complains about an unrated foreign movie he rented from the public library. He said is was soft porn and should not be part of the library's collection. Whether that is true or not, I don't know. Based on this man's complaint, the library board decided to remove it from their DVD selection. I do not wish to suggest the library should have everything available nor do I wish to suggest there should be no limits. I wonder, though. Upon whose morals do we rely when we are deciding upon the limits of our liberties?

The constitution is only going to protect "we the people" as long as "we the people" are willing to do the right thing. It is not the government's job to take care of us. It is not the government's job to provide for the poor. It is not the government's job to provide health care or decide who must purchase what. It is not the government's job to tell me what to say. It is not the government's job to tell the radio talking head what to say either. It is not the government's position to do much of anything in my life.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

There needs to be a limit to what the government can do. Conversely, if "we the people" do not step up to the responsibilities endowed upon all men, the government will and the limits of the government will start to be loosened.

One day, "We the people" are going to say to our comrades, "where are we going and why are we in this basket?" We will not have to worry too much about it because the road will have been paved and paid for by our tax dollars, or rather borrowed from the taxes our children will pay.
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