A few years ago CBS News conducted a poll about Americans’ perception of government.
The headline of the resulting story: Alienated nation: Americans complain of government disconnect.
The first sentence reads: ‘Americans see their leaders in Washington as overpaid agents of wealthy individuals and corporations who are largely disconnected from the concerns of average Americans’.
Right now there is no credible outside threat to our American way of life.
No other nation is sounding the death knell of ours.
But the rapid proliferation of a system akin to oligarchy – within our own country – threatens to cripple our march forward.
Seen in this light government is us.
Or it should be.
We give our government our money – in the form of taxes.
Then we hire its executives through elections.
Then we imbue it with directions and instructions in the form of legislation.
If all goes well our politicians utilise our tax dollars to manifest our brightest ideas.
The most exquisite dynamic is achieved when the common good is served while individual liberty is protected.
No kings – no dictators.
Us in charge of ourselves – leveraging our resources behind our highest hopes – while protecting each other’s freedoms – shaping our country – forever working to form ‘a more perfect union’.
Yes of course: there were – and always will be – bad people and bad pieces of legislation.
The factions and special interests will fight for their legislative handouts and carve-outs and politicians will lose their virtue.
Corrupt moments in our future are inevitable.
And of course for centuries women, – people of colour and non-landowners were legally excluded from voting and running for office.
But powerful popular grassroots movements like suffrage – abolition and civil rights – fuelled by the early American Enlightenment’s dreams of liberation and equality –
– forced profound course corrections that are among this country’s greatest accomplishments – not just for United States citizens but for humankind.