Special to the Mirror by Paul Plante
To the People of the State of Virginia:
AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficacy of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America.
So says Chris Edelson, an assistant professor of government in American Universityâ€™s School of Public Affairs and the author of â€œ Power Without Constraint: The Post 9/11 Presidency and National Securityâ€ published in May 2016 by the University of Wisconsin Press, in a Marketwatch article entitled “Opinion: Why a new U.S. Constitution may be the only way to fix the divided state of the union” by Chris Edelson, published: Jan 30, 2018 1:18 p.m. ET, wherein the author states as follows:
If you were writing a Constitution for the United States from scratch today, how many provisions from our national charter would you keep?
As was said by Alexander Hamilton in the original Federalist No. 1 back in 1787, the subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the UNION, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world, and so it is again today, in our times.
In the original Federalist No. 1, writing as Publius, Alexander Hamilton informed the people of the State of New York as follows:
It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.
As is incandescently clear from the Democratic State of the Union Address delivered by Congressman Joe â€œDrooling Joeâ€ Kennedy III with its powerful and captivating theme â€œthe Democrats offer ‘a better deal’ for America,” it has once again been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.
Look at what the Democrats are telling us here in their State of the Union Address:
Like many American hometowns, Fall River has faced its share of storms.
But people here are tough.
They fight for each other.
They pull for their city.
It is a fitting place to gather as our nation reflects on the state of our union.
This is a difficult task.
Many have spent the past year anxious, angry, afraid.
We all feel the fault lines of a fractured country.
We hear the voices of Americans who feel forgotten and forsaken.
We see an economy that makes stocks soar, investor portfolios bulge and corporate profits climb but fails to give workers their fair share of the reward.
A government that struggles to keep itself open.
Russia knee-deep in our democracy.
An all-out war on environmental protection.
A Justice Department rolling back civil rights by the day.
Hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets.
Bullets tearing through our classrooms, concerts, and congregations.
Targeting our safest, sacred places.
And that nagging, sinking feeling, no matter your political beliefs: this is not right.
This is not who we are.
As was said by Alexander Hamilton in 1787, if there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.
Consider that again, people – a wrong election of the part we shall act may deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.
And is that something we want to wish on our children and grandchildren?
As was the case in 1787, happy will it be if our choice should be directed by a judicious estimate of our true interests, unperplexed and unbiased by considerations not connected with the public good.
But as Alexander Hamilton said back then, this is a thing more ardently to be wished than seriously to be expected.
Because no one any longer has a clue as to what the â€œpublic goodâ€ might be, or is.
To the contrary, as the Democrat State of the Union address makes clear, there is a Democrat version of the â€œpublic goodâ€ and there is a conflicting Republican version which the wily and canny Democrats characterize as follows:
It would be easy to dismiss the past year as chaos.
But itâ€™s far bigger than that.
This administration isnâ€™t just targeting the laws that protect us â€“ they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.
For them, dignity isnâ€™t something youâ€™re born with but something you measure.
By your net worth, your celebrity, your headlines, your crowd size.
Not to mention, the gender of your spouse.
The country of your birth.
The color of your skin.
The God of your prayers.
Their record is a rebuke of our highest American ideal: the belief that we are all worthy, we are all equal and we all count.
In the eyes of our law and our leaders, our God and our government.
That is the American promise.
But today that promise is being broken.
By an Administration that callously appraises our worthiness and decides who makes the cut and who can be bargained away.
They are turning American life into a zero-sum game.
Where, in order for one to win, another must lose.
As was said in 1787, among the most formidable of the obstacles which a new Constitution will have to encounter may readily be distinguished the obvious interest of a certain class of men in every State to resist all changes which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument, and consequence of the offices they hold under the State establishments; and the perverted ambition of another class of men, who will either hope to aggrandize themselves by the confusions of their country, or will flatter themselves with fairer prospects of elevation from the subdivision of the empire into several partial confederacies than from its union under one government.
In this case, those several partial confederacies are today known by the appellations of RED STATES, controlled by one of the warring political factions in this country, and BLUE STATES, controlled by the other of the warring factions in this country, to the detriment of those of us not aligned with either of the warring factions, and as Alexander Hamilton told the people of the State of New York in 1787, a further reason for caution, in this respect of a new form of government for this nation, might be drawn from the reflection that we are not always sure that those who advocate the truth are influenced by purer principles than their antagonists.
Are the Democrats more right, more pure, more holy than the Republicans?
Afterall, just as was the case in 1787, ambition, avarice, personal animosity, party opposition, and many other motives not more laudable than these, are apt to operate as well upon those who support as those who oppose the right side of a question, and were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties, for in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword.
As Alexander Hamilton so wisely said back then, heresies in either politics or religion can rarely be cured by persecution, and yet, just these sentiments will be allowed to be, we have already sufficient indications that it will happen in this as in all former cases of great national discussion.
A torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose.
To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectives.
An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty.
An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretense and artifice, the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the public good.
It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual concomitant of love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust.
On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government.
History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.
All of those words are from the original Federalist No. 1, and I repeat them in here, as they are once again applicable to the times we now find ourselves in, in this divided nation.
As did Alexander Hamilton back in 1787, in the course of the preceding observations in here, I have had an eye, my fellow citizens, to putting you upon your guard against all attempts, from whatever quarter, to influence your decision in a matter of the utmost moment to your welfare, by any impressions other than those which may result from the evidence of truth.
So I too propose, in a series of papers, to discuss the following interesting particulars:
THE UTILITY OF THE UNION TO YOUR POLITICAL PROSPERITY
THE INSUFFICIENCY OF THE PRESENT CONFEDERATION TO PRESERVE THAT UNION
THE NECESSITY OF A GOVERNMENT AT LEAST EQUALLY ENERGETIC WITH THE ONE PROPOSED, TO THE ATTAINMENT OF THIS OBJECT
THE CONFORMITY OF THE PROPOSED CONSTITUTION TO THE TRUE PRINCIPLES OF REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENT, and lastly
THE ADDITIONAL SECURITY WHICH ITS ADOPTION WILL AFFORD TO THE PRESERVATION OF THAT SPECIES OF GOVERNMENT, TO LIBERTY, AND TO PROPERTY.
In the progress of this discussion I shall endeavor to give a satisfactory answer to all the objections which shall have made their appearance, that may seem to have any claim to your attention.
It may perhaps be thought superfluous to offer arguments to prove the utility of the UNION, a point, no doubt, deeply engraved on the hearts of the great body of the people in every State, and one, which it may be imagined, has no adversaries.
But the fact is, that we already hear it whispered in private circles that the fifty States are of too great extent for any general system, and that we must of necessity resort to separate confederacies of distinct portions of the whole.
It will therefore be of use to begin by examining the advantages of that Union, the certain evils, and the probable dangers, to which every State will be exposed from its dissolution.
This shall accordingly constitute the subject of my next address.