Howdy from Texas. I thank Professor Baker for joining us today and for his wonderful essay! I also thank all of you who are joining us for our “90 in 90 = 180 History Holds the Key to the Future,” whether by reading or by blogging!
After reading Federalist Paper No. 47, I am awestruck by our Constitutional founding father’s tenacity and brilliant attention to detail. It is truly obvious that they loved their country. It is truly obvious that they loved their fellow countrymen. It is truly obvious that they knew their history and political theory. It is truly obvious that they had a reverence for the Republican form of government. It is truly obvious that they respected the “genius of the people.” (I just can’t say “genius of the people” enough times!) It is truly obvious that they feared, condemned, and yearned to triumph over tyranny. It is truly obvious they wanted the triumph to be pervasive and permanent.
Tyranny. This is an ugliness and cruelty that we have never, thanks to our Constitution, which has proven to uphold our Republican principles, had to experience. Yet, it was fresh in the hearts, minds and souls of our founding fathers and it was fresh in the spirits of the people.
The checks and balances have served us well. Tyranny has
yet to rear its ugly head, though, at times, the Constitution has been tested and continues to be tested.
After reading, Federalist Paper No. 47, I am more aware of the definitions of both the words, “checks” and “balances,” just as I am keenly becoming aware of the true meaning of “big government.”
“Checks” is obvious. The different branches must keep each other separate and accountable. “Balance” has a new meaning to me, however. The different branches must have a fluidity amongst each other. The branches must flow into the trunk to gather their nourishment from their roots.
The roots are the people and the roots need the rain. They reach across the ground in search for their nourishment. The nourishment is the knowledge, the information. Without the knowledge and information the people have no power and knowledge is power. Here is the most impressive aspect of early America, the representatives were not afraid to give the people the information. There was an honesty and transparency coupled with an intelligence and integrity.
This would answer the question of why our modern day representatives withhold so much of information, including what is in the bill and how they vote. The information is hardly transparent. But have the people demanded it? It is time we do.
I am struck by the intensity, desire and fervor with which the revolutionary citizens participated in the process. I am awed by the respect the representatives gave the citizens. They wrote 85 essays explaining a 7 page Constitution.
What do we get today?
Checks and balances are the delicate framework of our governmental structure. Yet, constituents should check their representative’s actions and balance the political process with the scales of participation and inquiries.
The republic stands on the balance beam of questions and answers for all.
Friday, July 2nd, 2010