Do we gain by listening to the teachings and warnings of our predecessors? Did they know things that we have yet to learn? Can their hard-won wisdom save us from committing critical errors that will cause us grief and misery? Yes, especially if we have enough sense to act on their warnings.

Let's examine the writings of some wise men of the past: John Adams our second President, and the man primarily responsible for shepherding our Declaration of Independence through Congress, said: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

H.R. Haweis, an 1800's English clergyman, left this ominous warning, applicable to America's growing ranks of lawless and violent citizens: "It is useless to make good laws for bad people."

Edmund Burke saw the horrifying excesses of the French revolution and, rather than romanticize them, as was and is the norm, he recognized them for what they were. He warned, "Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without... It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free... Their passions forge their fetters. "

Grover Cleveland, our President in the early 1880's, said: "A government FOR the people must depend for its success on the intelligence, the morality, the justice, and the interest of the people themselves."

Considering the above, I would say we are in big trouble. So, is there a solution? Indeed, there is: For a starter, we had better become good enough people to be governed by our Constitution, because it, and it alone, stands between us a growing cadre of government officials who are anxious to: 1) relieve us of our freedoms and 2) destroy our sovereignty.

We must cease to be apathetic. Americans seem not to care about much of anything anymore, especially if it takes place outside their TV screens. An amazingly small number of people bother to register and vote, even though the very life of our nation depends, according to Grover Cleveland, on the interest the American people take in their government. When common, everyday citizens abdicate their sacred responsibility to their nation, political predators in the states and in Washington eagerly take advantage of their sloth.

Let's make those who want to govern us meet Haweis' and Adams' standard; they must be moral, honest and decent, free of greed, ambition, and a desire to see the world at the taxpayer's expense. They must be willing to forego the temptation to implement a social agenda contrary to the values of the majority of those whom they govern. Let's vote for individuals eager to be public servants, while avoiding giving power to those who can't wait to become public parasites, predators and/or social engineers.

James Garfield, elected President in 1881, said, "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..."

That's the answer; let's apply the Adams, Haweis, Burke, Cleveland and Garfield test; if we have a Representative, Senator or even a President who measures up, let's keep him; otherwise, let's put him out to pasture.

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    C.L. Beck said...

    Well phrased. As someone once said, "Those who don't learn from the past are bound to repeat it."

    Thanks for a thought-provoking blog.

  1. ... on June 7, 2008 at 8:14 PM