Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Oct 10, 2009 7:53 AM PDT
This essay is dedicated to Noam Chomsky, who deepened my understanding of how America fell into its current state through the human failings of the Founders. He is a tireless antiwar activist who has been blessed by the ability to have a clear vision of reality as it is. Let us pray that we have the strength and resolve to show him a better world to come.
Adams was far from perfect, despite his dedicated and principled work in arguing for the necessity of rebelling against the aristocracy and the corporation representing them, the East India Company. He also avoided war with the French in 1798, at some political cost. Even if he did nearly strangle democracy in its infancy, through the Alien and Sedition Act, he always did what he felt to be right.
Senators in the Roman republic claimed special rights and abilities to speak for the people of Rome. Their legitimacy was undermined by their eventual capitulation of all power to an imperial executive, Julius Caesar. Even after the assassination of the first Roman Emperor, who had dared to cross the Rubicon and challenge the rule of the representatives of the Roman citizens, the by then complacent Roman citizenry eventually accommodated to rule by the winner of the civil war that followed.
This is much as the situation in which we find ourselves today. The average citizen seems content to rail against the government, not accepting his responsibility to ensure that the government is run by the just or bothering to discover why our government no longer is so. It is a seemingly simple matter to discover the truth of what has gone wrong with the American experiment in democracy but the corporate media obscures the truth from the confused and angry citizens of our once proud nation.
When Madison witnessed in the actions of Adams during a time of threatened war the consequences of placing too much confidence in democratic ideals, he saw the danger of placing too much power in a Senate unanswerable directly to the people.
After seeing the fruits of the Revolution threatened by the conservative fears of an Adams who could not fully accept the assumptions necessary for self-rule of the majority, Madison joined forces wholeheartedly with Jefferson in advocating for a noninterventionist policy. He had come to the recognition of the fact that during times of war democracy itself is threatened. He further pointed out that in a state of perpetual war, democracy will inevitably cease to exist.
Americans must start to see each other again as fellow countrymen and not as enemies. Those who do recognize our interdependence must reach out to our fearful and angry brothers and sisters who do not yet recognize that the true enemy of democracy is the corporations who have seized control of our government.
In a spirit of genuine concern, let us reassure our fellow Americans of the essential goodness of man, proving the strength of our convictions in our loving and respectful acceptance of them despite their misdirected anger. Democracy is predicated on the assumption that men and women are essentially good and thus capable of ruling themselves. Together we can help them to see that they need only listen to the angels of their better nature to understand the truth of how we have come to the brink of fascism and how we can pull ourselves back.