Sunday, August 7, 2011

Founding Fathers



 "A statesman is a dead politician. We need more statesmen."


Oscar Wilde

I am a huge fan of the Fourteenth Amendment.  More than any other amendment, it brought the "blessings of liberty" to the greater bulk of the American experiment.  The founding fathers were in fact a bunch of politicians who were incapable of passing a bill with meaning and teeth, so they punted the problem down the line.  Took us around eighty years, a civil war, and the violent death of four percent of the male population to complete the process.

But we have a group of people here in the USA who truly worship the founding fathers.  When I hear some f-ing loony start to spout off about the intentions on the founding fathers and what they wanted from the government of the newly formed country and how divine help was imperative to the process, I immediate start mentally planning what's for dinner tonight while I pretend to listen.

You always have some christer bozo claiming that God wanted this or that and if you read between the lines and look for the "founder's intent" you will immediately come around to their way of thinking.  I usually find that these folks are the most likely to have a set of robes in the closet and spend their spare time reading Leviticus.

Hell, for that matter, the constitution wasn't even a first effort.   If it was divinely inspired, would we have needed practice swings?   It took us eight years of wrangling to reach the compromises required for the Constitution to come into force.  That kind of time-line has committee and compromise written all over it in my mind.

So, I would consider it a kindness and a sign of maturity if we got over the puerile hero worship of the founding fathers and the idiotic channeling of their thought and got on with the hard work of compromise and self-denial necessary for a mature society to be able to govern itself.

3 comments:

Craig Cavanaugh said...

Yep, I got over it. Though I do like a lot of Jefferson's and Henry's thoughts... The Constitution is dead, has been since the ink dried. Nothing "divine" about it, or there would have been no need for the 13th Amendment. As to the Fourteenth, it is being trampled daily along with the Bill of Rights.

"Compromise and self denial"? Now you're starting to sound like Obammy. Sorry, but any more "compromise" or "denial" on my part will leave me living in a box under the bridge. "Mature society"? When you find one, let me know. I'll leave you with this thought (author unknown)-

"There is no alternative to Liberty."

sofarfromheaven.com said...

There's a lot to what you say here. Particularly about the hero worship. But the document was an attempt in the form of a contract between a group of communities to impose concrete standards of due process upon the agreeing members.

In a lot of instances it worked, in a lot of others it didn't. But without an abiding determination to impose due process you end up with Mexico, Rhawanda and what happened all over the lands that later became states with the various tribes living out there in no-due-process land.

Nothing much left of the US Constitution except lip service, but there never was when it got in the way of immediate concerns.

Bustednuckles said...

Standing on my chair, clapping.

Well said.