Back in the days of this great country's infancy, our founding fathers invested great amounts of intellectual capital crafting the blueprint for our democracy. They envisioned a system where the people had a say in how their country was run by electing representatives to be their voices, and three branches to ensure no single branch held too much power. Eighty-seven years later, Pres. Lincoln summarized it succinctly as "Of the people, by the people, for the people". This what we have always believed, that government is "us", not "them"... that is - until (relatively) recently.
Despite Roosevelt's exhortation that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself", those that wish to manipulate the uninformed have persistently beat the drum of paranoia, telling the fearful that government is bad. Government is "Them", with a capital T. It is not us. Such is the reaction when the government that comes into power at the hands of the voters does not represent the views of the fearful minority. To them - majority rule is tyranny, and perceived tyranny breeds hatred and mistrust.
Although this "loser's rage" is nothing new, the machinery of propaganda and mass communication has made that rage much easier to manipulate. If people are willing to believe that a majority-elected government is the enemy, they are willing to believe anything. This results in satire comedy like this Onion article
uncomfortably close to the truth, with the names changed to protect the idiots. Again, the linked article is facetious, yet all of these assertions by the anti-government "Constitutionalists" ring familiar:
- We are a Christian nation
- Anti-gay marriage is unConstitutional
- Taxes are unConstitutional
- We are headed toward Socialism (if not there already)
- Being anti-immigration is pro-Constitution
The article (once again - satire) points out some of the fallacies of these arguments: There is no mention of God in the Constitution; there is no mention of marriage in the Constitution; Article I, Section 8 grants Congress the right to collect taxes (with the 16th amendment - ratified by, once again: a majority - including income taxes).
With regards to Socialism, perhaps these people should actually read up on what defines socialism
Socialists advocate a method of compensation based on individual merit or the amount of labour one contributes to society. They generally share the view that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and derives its wealth through a system of exploitation. They argue that this creates an unequal society that fails to provide equal opportunities for everyone to maximise their potential, and does not utilise technology and resources to their maximum potential in the interests of the public.
Hmmm... being empowered to earn based upon your contributions, while those with piles of money no longer being able to earn piles of money just because they already have piles of money? Who could argue with that? The people with the piles of money, that's who. The same people who prey on the fears of the "just getting by". Just tell them that the Big Bad Government is out to take what little they have and give it to lazy crackheads that don't want to work, and they're like putty in your hands.
The anti-immigrant fervor has been rampant since the day the country started, despite the welcoming prose on the Statue of Liberty. There has always been a xenophobic slant to it, and the current anti-Hispanic (ie: Mexican) flavor has a rich genealogy of Cuban, Irish, Russian, Chinese, etc. behind it. The strengthening of the anti-government mood, however, has provided inspiration to Arizona to craft it's over-reaching anti-immigration state law. The problem, of course, is that the "Let's get back to the Constitution" types that crafted it forgot to read the Constitution:
(there's also the 14th amendment granting citizenship to anyone born here...)
Article I, Section 8:
- The Congress shall have power to ... provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; ...
- To establish a uniform rule of naturalization...
- To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;...
- To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
In a welcome rebuke to this anti-Constitutional power grab, the U.S. Justice Department is filing suit against Arizona
. If this were reported correctly and people were honest, this would be seen as the proper approach to rebellion. Of course, this will be reported as more tyranny by the Tea Party crowd, and their willing enablers in the media. And why not? A new Gallup poll shows the 80% of Tea Party members self-identify as Republicans
. By virtue of their party membership, they will be inclined to protest the actions of this Administration. By virtue of their association with the Tea Party "patriots", they can couch their protests in the rhetoric of their movement.
It is dishonest on all levels.
When a tyranny of the minority decries the government of the majority while creating a false litmus test of patriotism, and the government is forced to kowtow to their demands rather than face the relentless media barrage, it is no longer government of the people, by the people, nor for the people. It is no longer the voice of the majority as guaranteed in the Constitution.
That is - if they succeed.