We are entering another election year. Campaigning never seems to end in this day and age, especially with a president who seems to always be in campaign mode. We will be faced with on-going advertisements and promises from candidates. As Nancy Pelosi reminded us all last week, many things are said on the campaign trail with no true intention of upholding those statements or promises once your vote is cast.
This year we are seeing a growing movement from a grassroots nation of frustrated citizens. At the root of the movement is people’s frustration combined in abundant laws of restriction. There is a real awareness government is growing oppressively out-of-control at all levels. This is understandable if we understand the gears driving our societal self.
Inherent within each of us are a natural, commercial, and governing gear. Studying history we find political philosophers across the ages that recognized these inherent gears. As Charles de Montesquieu observed education is a single key factor in determining the type of government a people would tolerate living under. The least educated populations were geared toward tyrannical despotism, known more commonly today as dictatorship, caring for all needs through singular and powerful oversight. Somewhat educated societies were more comfortable giving honor and loyalty to a monarch or oligarch, where kingly or noble heredity knew better what was good for their subjects while a sense of freedom could be felt.
Our United States heritage was built upon the final stage of education. An enlightened citizenry understood self-government was best. This simply meant smaller governing oversight was necessary and government at the lowest levels was best. Federal government was the least efficient and most oppressive in taking care of daily needs. Thus our states, and the citizens of those states, defined specific and enumerated areas for the federal government to watch over. States would have more oversight of common needs, counties and cities even more for daily life, while neighbors, family, and individuals would be responsible for the main governing over their lives. Freedom under an educated, self-governing society naturally blossoms.
Rather than a monarch, oligarch, or despot driving society through power it was people who drove the power through representatives at each level. Representatives were of like mind understanding people govern their own lives best when government is least intrusive and their task was limited as well as short termed. Career politicians seeking power and control were easy to identify by an educated population that accepted their self-governing responsibility. Even when such a person was elected their actions identified them as someone to replace during the next election, or sooner if abuses in power warranted it.
Harder to identify today, politicians focused on power deceive to achieve their goals. However, their deception is easier to identify when we study our heritage, accept our responsibility and demand our right to be self-governing in most of life’s challenges. This is the very heart of our U.S. Constitution’s 9th and 10th Amendments. This election cycle our first choice is whether we choose to self-govern or be governed in areas impacting us daily.
If self-government is our choice we must educate ourselves, family, friends and neighbors. Then we select like minded delegates and candidates to represent us. 2010 begins the opportunity for restoring self-government. In the decades ahead people will need to continue this reaffirmation of the decision in every local, state, and federal election. This is the path leading to one of the six goals of the preamble; to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.
Gary Wood is the Educational Advisor for the Utah Tenth Amendment Center. Co-founder of the Heritage Training Center, focused on helping end constitutional illiteracy. With 35 years of devoted study of our Constitution his desire is to help others rediscover the inspiring heritage of the United States. Radio show host, training officer, lifetime member of the VFW and most importantly Grandpa.
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