We The People...that means you
"Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent brave and pure it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. If the next centennial does not find us a great nation it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces"
- President James Garfield (July 4th, 1876)
As we look around us today and see our nation in complete turmoil and seemingly on the path to certain and inevitable collapse many of us look around for the problem. Who or what is to blame for this? How did this seem to just unravel so quickly? Most people come up with an answer pretty quick. Of course, the politicians are to blame! They are corrupt, ignorant, out of touch and maybe just plain evil. They are in charge, so it must be their fault! Except one problem, they aren't supposed to be in charge. The people are supposed to be in charge with elected representatives operating under consent of the governed. They are supposed to be representatives, public servants as they are still referred to even though for most that term is an oxymoron at best. They aren't elected to be rulers but instead to represent the will of the people and I would argue in most cases they are doing just that. Many people make it clear their will is to not be bothered by boring politics, they make it clear they would rather be taken care of then free, they make it clear that they don't care what the leaders of the country do as long as it benefits them in the moment and many make it clear they simply just don't care at all. I think President Garfield absolutely nailed it when he gave this speech at the first centennial celebration. The founders set up this nation in such a unique and beautiful way, such that when operating as intended it is unstoppable, but at the same time it is fragile because it relies on the people being "intelligent, brave and pure." John Adams said "Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people, it is wholly inadequate for the governing of any other." It isn't easy, nobody promised it would be but you have be part of the solution, no more excuses. Your citizenship can not consist of showing up to vote in the general election every 4 years and feeling like you did your civic duty. That doesn't mean you have to run for office, but it does mean caring enough about your country and future that your children and grandchildren face to take a few extra minutes here and there to make sure you know the Constitution, know how the Government is supposed to operate, know the role the Government is supposed to fill and the limitations it has, know what is being taught in the schools, know what the people you are voting for stand for, and last but not least knowing if your elected representative actually represented the values they claimed and if not holding them accountable from the city council all the way up to the presidency. If you want to be free you have to be a citizen or you will end up at best a serf.