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July 4, 2018


We celebrate today as our nation’s birthday with our declaration of freedom from British colonialism. We (with the critical aid of the French) were successful in achieving our independence and were thereafter and are still free to conduct our own affairs in matters of taxation, trade and all the other tokens of sovereignty practiced by free and independent states.

So how are we doing in conducting matters of state as well as fairly and equitably balancing the tensions between citizens and state now, some 242 years later? How well are we carrying out the visions and mandates of Madison and Jefferson who, for instance, thought of public service as “noble?” I submit that the ride from then to now has been a bumpy one, that the “public service” rendered by politicians these days is hardly “noble” since polls today show politicians to be about as popular as head lice.

Thus the Constitution adopted in 1789 was not a perfect instrumentality; it was subjected to the Ten Amendments only two years later and has been amended many times since to conform to new realities in governing and the wants, needs and rights of citizens. Many good laws have been passed and Marbury v. Madison, perhaps the most important case ever considered by the court, cemented the right of the Supreme Court to keep unconstitutional laws from seeing the light of day.

That court has since declared many unconstitutional laws unconstitutional and unenforceable, reversed earlier decisions that no longer fit the times, and in general has prevented much anguish that such laws perhaps passed in the heat of the moment via congressional overreach would have brought to America. The court has not been perfect in its holdings such as Dred Scott, Plessey v. Ferguson and others, but has subsequently reversed such decisions to conform to later realities based on a relook at what the Constitution and justice require. With Citizens United and now the Janus case wrongly decided recently and the unjust consequences sure to follow perhaps we can (hopefully) look for reversals to reduce the political and economic pain to America sooner rather than later, though an increasingly ideological court may take its time in these “pay for play” days.

Trump’s lust for power and how it is playing out in the absence of countervailing resistance from within his own party is an enormous problem that neither Madison nor Jefferson could have envisioned in their world of nobility of service and democratic idealism.  Under the pretense of ignorance and inexperience (apparently regarded as a plus by many as well as a ready excuse for his authoritarian moves) he has usurped legislative and judicial prerogatives, acted unconstitutionally, insulted our allies, given aid and comfort to our enemies, and has in general acted in an arrogant and insulting manner to both friend and foe, from questioning the integrity of a federal judge of Mexican descent who was presiding over one of over 4,000 lawsuits he has been involved in to demeaning names given anybody and everybody, even to organizations such as NATO, which has been a bulwark against Russian expansion since Trump was five years old. Putin could not ask for a better spokesman for his annexation of Crimea, invasion of Ukraine, and continuing threats to Western Europe.

So how are we doing with the fragile democracy bequeathed to us by Madison, Jefferson, Adams and the Marbury decision on this, our 242nd birthday? It appears from the evidence that the democracy our Forefathers gave us is in real danger of falling to a similar authoritarianism practiced by the British in their day, substituting “latter day capitalism and its greedy leader” for the “British” to fit today’s factual situation, and that we have a constitutional crisis on our hands – but this is still a democracy (if fleeting), so you be the judge.      GERALD        E



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One Comment
  1. Could not have said it better dear friend. From one vet to another….a happy day of freedom, liberty and that presumed pursuit of happiness, wherever one can see, find and or experience such a state or feeling.

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