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The Chicken Littles of the WorldPosted Thursday, February 17, 2011, at 5:20 PM
To say that if we were in Congress things would be different, or if we were in Congress this is what we would do are all fun things to say to our friends. Would things be different if we were in control? Look at the states' houses of government where typically more people like you and I reside. Are things really all that different at the state level than at the federal level?
Here is a fun little fact, what we consider normal Americans have never held a seat in Congress. Not in over two hundred years. At the start of this country the only people that could even be elected to the House were white landowners. Right there a huge segment of the population was already cut out as women and men of minority skin color were not allowed to even run, much less get elected. It was not just simple landowners who could get elected though. Then, as today, it took money to get elected. Typically large landowners were elected to the House. Those landowners still living a mostly subsistence life could neither afford or have the time to serve in Congress. Forget about the Senate at this time as only state legislatures could elect Senators. Do you think there was a large clamoring to elect the common man? Not hardly. We have to remember that our country is not a true democratic nation and it was never set up to be so. Ours is a representative democracy. We send representatives to Washington to speak for us.
As time passed it became only slightly easier to get elected into Congress. When the 17th Amendment became law and gave people the right to vote for Senators it was believed, at the time, by those Progressives, that it would give the American people a stronger vote by putting members in the House and in the Senate.
The main point here is that as long as there has been a federal government there have been people claiming the United States was going to cease to exist because of the actions of Congress and/or the United States. People used to point to the Civil War and tell those that would listen that the war was a perfect example of how close the United States came to blinking out because of the federal government. They typically ignore a lot of facts in jumping to that conclusion, but that has always been the way.
Whether those in power are Republican or Democratic there have always been and always will be people that predict that the sky is falling.
The United States is in it's 223 consecutive year of existence. We can thank the Constitution for this and those that defend it (whether it be a strict interpretation or a broad one). It is the majority of the people that love this country that have helped it make it this long. Their voice has drowned out for 223 years those on the edges that try to shape the government in their image (whether it be a socialist country or a theocracy).
Those on the edges are the ones that shout the loudest about the sky is falling and that the United States is in dire trouble. We are not. We have weathered horrible situations in our past and because of that past we will continue to have the tools to weather future crises.
Am I saying that all criticisms of the federal government must end? Of course not. Criticism of our federal government is a linchpin of our democracy. Outside of voting it is the only other true way that our federal representatives are going to know if we are happy with what they are doing or upset with what they are doing. It is only when the fringes voices get so loud that for the time we forget that they are the fringe. We will weather this storm and the United States will go on.
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