Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Who are We Beholden To?

    Well, I tried to be all cool and converted this to a PDF and everything, but couldn't figure out how to upload a PDF from my computer to this blog. Oh well. But I have been doing some reading and I just decided to write something that I believe is a good starting point for a lot of topics. I will expand on this article shortly, but wanted to get a general concept of what my thought process is. Comments are welcome.


Who are we beholden to? This idea is not a new one. Philosophers such as Rousseau, Jefferson, and John Adams have all voiced in on this topic. But in today's society, who are we beholden to.

    Some might think that we are beholden to our jobs, our spouse, or our mortgage payments. Things that we are beholden to are created by our own choices and decisions. We choose to be beholden to our mortgage payments because we wanted to buy a house in a certain location, attend a 4-year prestigious university, or buy a new car. We might feel beholden to these things, but they are not bad: just a temporary lien that can and will be paid off within our lifetimes.

    With a spouse, we choose to be married to them. We share in the ups and downs, the good times and the bad, but this bond is no longer binding once one spouse dies. The other is free to re-marry again, if they so choose.

    Even our jobs, we may be miserable or forced to work at a job for one reason or another, but eventually we are no longer obliged to continue working at that job. The military expects people to become soldiers for four years, but after that time is up, the person is free to move on to either a new occupation or re-enlist.

    But what are we beholden to? As citizens of the United States, can it be said that we are becoming beholden to other people from other countries and that even once this generation passed, the lien on our children due to us will remain? Unlike being married, working a job, or having debt for a house, this bondage is something greater than just what this generation can repay: We are creating a generation that is becoming bound by its predecessors.

    Without regard to the party of the person in charge, for the past two decades – at least – the United States has been steadily been focused on the domestic needs for consumption while not realizing the costs that have been incurred. When people do speak up, they are looked upon as partisan; to be believed only by the people who already follow a set of political doctrine and to be discounted by all others.

    John Adams saw the danger to this type of thinking. Adams wrote of previous republics and how they had been brought down by this very type of partisan politics. But people, myself included, have taken stances in the past based solely on what their political religious leaders have said. The future seems to be in no danger of changing.

    Adams ideology does not permit a blinded following and supporting of leaders in order to change things either. A basic understanding of a republic or democracy shows that compromise brought by intelligent open debating is necessary. What Adams point is is that voting, following, or supporting politicians solely by partisan lines is doing the democratic system no favors; it is no less than mob rule with agenda's based on numbers, not logic and foresight.

    Recently, many people were disillusioned with the way our country was going and decided to change that direction. Many people, though, voted solely for the sake of a partisan change, not a logical change. The changes that many would like to see are as numerous as there are letters in this article; but there is only one policy that needs to be changed: The giving away of our future generation's freedoms.

    The economic state of our country has been highlighted recently by the current recession, but the truth is, the chains have been dragged from across the ocean years ago. It was not just yesterday that the United States started living on a negative trade balance with other countries. As of May 13, the current deficit trade balance of the latest 12 months for the United States was $730.4 billion dollars. This is just for the past year, not including the nearly past 20 years of trade deficits.

    It is time now for Republican's who did not demand a change in spending to admit their massive failures. It is time for Democrat's also to become rational and drop the "they did it so I can do" motto, and demand the change that they voted for. What is needed, if even for just this issue, is not two political factions looking for a way to destroy the other by wishing failure or success; this is much too important and vital of an issue to be deciding things based solely on politics. What is needed is fierce debate; plans of action, change, and resolve. As Henry Knox wrote, we are in a pressing need for great men who when fortune frowns will not be discouraged.

    The alternative is the collapse of our economic system, our international leadership, and our way of life. With crushing entitlements that are not sustainable, how is it that people can demand of their government to take on more and demand to pay less? Is it not time for all people of all backgrounds to finally stand up and take the responsibility of their outcomes on their own shoulders and not blame their failures on others? Or is our country destined to become unaware that we have progressed from the 1800's. We have marched away from the 1960's. We have developed into what our forefathers envisioned: E pluribus unum. But are we destined to be destroyed from within due to those ghosts of the past, kept alive by the decedents of today?

    Adams was correct. Partisan politics will lead democratic politicians inevitably to deceit. But we must demand change. We must demand action by our leaders, especially in this dire economic situation. If they choose to not listen, we have the power to bring in people who will. The change that people desired for will not be found in a label: Republican or Democrat. The change people desire will be found in an active participative public that demands open debate on issues. A public that will act more like a business; if their elected official does not produce, then they must be replaced with someone who will.

    Will we see true change in the next three and a half years? When will people realize that the change must not be partisan and rhetoric, but solutions? When will we as the public decide to become more active and demanding? When the debt that we have created forces us to default? When we feel that it has become vogue to become more politically active? And when would that be? Next month? Next year?

    Or have we decided that we have the right to give up our future generations rights to freedom? That making decisions that might make us unpopular, or actions that will be difficult to achieve, or giving up time that is better used for leisure, is our right and that the problems we create will be the burden of those who will come after us. Are the inalienable rights that were devised at the beginning of our country's revolution no longer self evident for those to come? Are we the masters and our children the slaves; that they will be born into a bondage to others without a vote in this?



Bob said...

Very profound, RJ!

I must agree with you on every point that you have made, however, there is one point that you did not approach. That point being the fact that partisan politics has already injected so much hate, distrust, and divisiveness among the American people that nothing short of a full blown revolution will ever bring this once great nation back to its founding principles. That within itself is an extremely sad and difficult situation.

Also, you and I both knowing that the future of this country is in true peril, I invite you to take a real good look at the Supreme Court's decision of this past Thursday, January 21, 2010, wherein big corporations and powerful unions will now be able to buy and sell our politicians with total impunity. The voices of the little guys will now be drowned out by the big money that will be coming on line to influence every election from the great to the small. From the foundation of the federal government to the leaders of Main Street, all politicians will now, now doubt, be in the pocket of someone with large sums of money to the detriment of the people and thus the country.

The lamb speaking as a dragon is in the process of being fulfilled before our eyes!



RJ said...

When I wrote this I hadnt really seen what you were talking about - the complete polarization of politics. I do see that now, and I agree, and I also think it is going to be a scary situation not far down the road.

The supreme court decision overturning the mccain/feingold, and hold your breath, is a bad decision. now, the originally law was passed in 2002, so pretty much campaign finance laws are being thrown back 8 years. on top of that, corporations still were able to donate an unlimited amount of money to nonprofits, which would then use their money to influence politics...without a cap.

both republicans and democrats will benefit by this bill...think goldman sacs seems to have in tentacles on both parties (tim geithner and hank paulson anybody?) and wal mart was saying it favored healthcare reform and banks seemed to have gotten a lot of money from this current democratic government...so to say that, as some msnbc newcasts are, that this benefits rebublicans...i dont quite agree.

but yeah, i do think it was bad to overturn this...as with the loopholes that were already in the law, tougher rules should have been put in place. something like this is what i would see as optimal: living individuals should be able to donate an unlimited amount, while nonliving institutions should have a cap of what they can donate.

but we dont live in a perfect world...oh well...