“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,….”
An often overlooked component of the Declaration of Independence due a closer look; it is the enabling mechanism of the rights as described in the statement which precedes it. Implicit in its affirming fringe the declarants announce to the world the birth of representative democracy.
“…deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,….”
The American form of government was not designed to represent itself but instead to represent the consenting governed; true as this statement may be still we clearly know that government does indeed possess the great risk of serving conflict. To understand these risks and the counter-mechanisms as precursor to this affront let us draw upon the brilliant observations of James Madison in his essay, Federalist No. 10:
“AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice.”
To understand Madison with clarity and to appreciate the prescient grace of his essay one should consider that much of what this Country is presently enduring finds its root cause in the context of the environs Madison himself observed in his own time and ably filters with the aid of his well-seasoned acumen. Does one not find a rather curious déjà vu in the following excerpts excised from the very same essay?
“The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished;”
“Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”
“It will be found, indeed, on a candid review of our situation, that some of the distresses under which we labor have been erroneously charged on the operation of our governments;…These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.”
In his writings we observe an acute warning which all Americans must accept as a stern admonition and as a reminder of their sovereign duty obliged to the processes of representative government. It is, to be sure, that all must be willing to hold the machine of governance to its narrowly defined roll and never, as it were, permit the device of excess to consume the construct of governance untethered by the oversight of a vigilant consenting governed!
The role of representative government is to perfect the environs which cater to the well-being of the People and therein lies the substance, the preeminent and most sacred role of government and to do so not with an overriding bias of the minority-at-rule but singularly in and with deference to the majority to which the minority-at-rule are obliged. This can, as we most certainly can bear witness to the same, occur when government is intoxicated with the bias of ignorance, the overt and implicit overbite of indifference to public deference and to the underlying code of conduct who fundamental mandate is expressed singularly by Providential Law – a moral and just code of conduct which serves to meter the excesses of personal bias. Madison understood this vexation and its intimate temptation:
“…leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.”
And so, we fight amongst ourselves and not in opposition to our common enemy; a government untethered from its fundamental mandate and unobstructed by a vigilant consenting governed.
I have been reasonably conscious through seven presidential election cycles accompanied by both houses of congress as well as state and local government elections; throughout this period of time I have observed and studied the ebb and flow of public demeanor and with uniform regularity the public routinely swings their votes in the direction of hopeful representation regardless of their designated party affiliation. Again, in the direction of hopeful representation! This movement has been largely misunderstood so as to suggest that the Public at any given time is either left or right in their political leanings and I’m of the opinion no observation could be further from the truth. Madison similarly intimates the consequential effect of political indifference as well as its capricious nature; a further endorsement of why the American People respond as they do:
“It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. Nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made at all without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another or the good of the whole.”
When Government no longer represents the will of the consenting governed it also attempts to perfect mechanisms so as to insure its ability to persist in doing so and the only near-immediate means the Public has at its disposal to correct the abuse is by way of the ballot box. However, it is also true that the public has for far too long been indifferent, incongruent and largely absent from affecting a discriminating choice all of which has been to further license political-abuse of the processes if government.
A true testament of sovereign will is that despite public-fatigue we do see a slow rebirth; a tepid awakening on the part of the consenting governed who, due to the increasing burden of neglect as well as the increasing loss of their unalienable rights all of which are the direct result of political-abuse of the processes of government, are increasingly animated. All Americans should welcome the advent of the Tea-Party movement and any other form of peaceful consensus in opposition to political-abuses. In doing so, we engage the processes necessary to perfect our system of government by restoring the only mechanism available to a People In Search of Representation; a vigilant consenting governed.
James Madison distinguished our self-perfecting construct in an extraordinarily precise manner:
“The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.”
We are “the rest” to which Madison refers. The very People which government MUST represent and most certainly NOT a People to be governed by the consent of a bewitched Government tethered to a selective bias or to a selectively biased outcome adverse or in direct opposition to your sovereign and unalienable rights.
Express, with absolute insistence, your influence accompanied by an absolute conviction that;
“Man must be Free for Independence to be at Liberty to be Expressed!”
In the will of one, in concert with the many, lies that which is the Ideal Common to All!
Curtis C. Greco, Founder