After studying the United States Constitution under teachers such as Dr. Harold Rakov—and teaching about it for 34 years—it is hard for me to think I could appreciate it much more than I do.
But only time will tell whether the efforts by the “Founding Fathers” to create a foolproof republican system were successful.
To work as they intended, the Constitution—and the republic it bestowed upon us—require a serious commitment from our citizenry. Our country is not on auto-pilot as a result of the design put in place by men far more experienced with tyranny than we.
We are where we are 230 years later largely because WE haven’t done OUR “homework” and viewed OUR responsibilities with the gravity they deserve. Without a renewed commitment to our duties as informed citizens, as well as a willingness to get engaged, we are headed for a national crisis to rival any we may have studied in American History.
Thomas Jefferson may not have had a crystal ball, but he was totally convinced that a free press was an absolutely essential prerequisite in a working republic that would be a lasting tribute to those who pledged our “lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor” to bring about. Any persistent effort to discredit the press and silence critics of those in power is—wittingly or unwittingly—an attack on an institution vital to a representative democracy.
The existence of a concerted attempt to erode public confidence in the independent judiciary undermines yet another institution the public and a democratic society can ill afford to have subverted.
Convincing those who participate in elections that significant numbers of people vote illegally—even if it is not supported by fact—has the potential to build dangerous cynicism within the electorate. Once such disinformation raises public doubts about the validity of election outcomes, the decision not to bother voting becomes all the more likely. Roughly half the population seems to believe that nothing will change regardless of who gets elected as it is.
Who loves this stuff? Those who wish the United States of America would go away, that’s who!
Presidential historians such as Douglas Brinkley and Michael Beschloss might suggest we take a long, hard, thoughtful look at Article 3 in the document The Founders labored so strenuously to provide for future generations.
Gary F. Kent