Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nobody Knows How to Save a Constitution


Once upon a time, there was a small boy who loved to climb trees, chase and shoot squirrels, and spend his whole day out in the woods. His father was a preacher and a farmer, but he wanted more for his son than just farming all day, so he told his son that when he grew up he should go to school.

Well, the son hated school…so he told his father that he wanted to be a farmer. The wise father said, “Okay, come out to the field with me tomorrow and see how you like it.”

After the young boy did a hard day’s work in the field, the father then asked him, “So, do you still want to be a farmer now?

“Sure,” said the small boy. “That’s what I want to be.”

“Well, you will not. You will go to school instead.”

Back then, fathers actually had a say in their son’s life…but to continue.

He grew up to become a fine young man. He went to the finest of schools…Harvard. He got a degree and became a teacher of small children. But, he got bored, so he moved to Boston, and set up shop as a lawyer.

And, then as history would report it, he had a cousin that was causing a lot of trouble…and before you know it, the young man agreed to represent some soldiers who had fired upon a motley and raging crew of people, who really were very angry about how heavily taxed they were, and how they were not being represented…in fact, they were being watched heavily by a militia for no good reason at all, as if they were “terrorists” in their own country.

And since this young man had gone to town meetings with his father, he knew fairness. And fairness was spelled out in the Ten Commandments which had been the guiding light of the freemen in his country for over a hundred years. There was a right, and there was a wrong. And even though he risked his fortunes by defending the soldiers, he went with what was right. And so, the young man won a victory for the soldiers, who were by all accounts, not really guilty.

The lessons this young man learned about mobs ruling without rule of law were plenty.

As time went on, he saw the opportunity to finally form, for the first time in history, a more perfect government. His cousin was already on it.

He joined his cousin, and others called the Sons of Liberty, and he didn’t say, “We want a change.” just because it sounded good…no, he locked himself up and studied all the governments and peoples that had ever existed in the world…to come up with a more perfect system. He had to see what didn’t work. This took him some time of course, and he got pretty smelly because there was no air-conditioning at the time…but he was on a mission.

After all his readings, he decided that yes, power corrupts every man, and causes a lot of people way too much misery…and so a system of checks and balances must be put into place to stop this nonsense of a few elites running people’s lives.

He became famous after his honest work of representing the soldiers, and developed a reputation as a man of character, (this was back when being honest was actually preferred) and so the leaders ask him to write the first Constitution of Massachusetts in 1780.

So he did. And it pretty much was the blueprint for the new country’s first constitution, which they called the United States Constitution…and that sounded pretty good.

Later on, the new country and its leaders formed a convention…in order to ratify this new Constitution of their country. And one of the most famous of the men, Ben Franklin, believed in unicameralism…and when the young man heard that the new United States Constitution was not going to have any checks and balances in it, he just went a bit crazy. So he got out his pen and wrote a letter to a friend…and in it he said:

“Every western wind brought us news of town and country meetings in Massachusetts, adopting Mr. Turgot’s idea, (The Duke de la Rouchefoucauld of the Assembly of Notables in France) condemning my Constitution, reprobating the office of governor and the assembly of the Senate as expensive, and pernicious. I knew (Ben Franklin’s ideas) would establish a government in one assembly and that I knew would involve France and all of Europe in all the horrors we have seen; carnage and desolation for fifty, perhaps for a hundred years. I was determined to wash my hands of the blood that was about to be shed in France, Europe, and America.”

I guess those tar and feather scenes in Boston were just a bit much.

And he was right as history proved. While a few thousand French rolling heads did not upset Thomas Jefferson’s stomach at all, John Adams knew it would lead to tyranny right around the corner, and it did.

Thomas Jefferson would also have been able to stomach Saw III, which makes you wonder what he ate…but to continue….

So, again, the young John Adams locked himself up every day in another smelly room and wrote: “A Defense of the Constitution” something I can pretty much guarantee is not in Barney Frank’s library.

He wrote two volumes. The first volume had ten chapters: Modern Democratic Republics, Aristocratic Republics, Monarchical or Regal Republics, Opinions of Philosophers, Writers on Government, Opinions of Historians, Ancient Democratical Republics, Ancient Aristocratically Republics, and Ancient Aristocratically Republics. Another volume was devoted to the Italian Republics of the Middle Ages, because every one knows that the Italians deserve a whole book of their own…look how many cookbooks they’ve given us.

He sent every one involved in voting on the United States Constitution a copy. It was said that most of these men didn’t read it, which started the very wise and fine tradition carried on to this day of Congressmen never reading any law about to be passed so as not to be blamed for any mistakes.

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t skim through it.

Nevertheless, they didn’t have to read it. They knew the man. And they knew he was right. And Ben Franklin, thank goodness, became known more for flying kites, wooing French Ladies, and saying incredibly wonderful aphorisms like: “The early bird catches the worm.”--- Even though he was never known to rise before noon, because his worm was pooped out.

And thank goodness for us, because who else could get along with the French?

John Adams was that simple man. He was an opinionated man, who spoke upon every issue, and studied books and searched for the truth in all matters. He had a simple love of his country, and a maddening tenacity for the truth. He was the only man to not have slaves amount the founders, and still, you never see a President putting Mr. Adams picture in a background photo-op, or a big fancy monument thanking him for his efforts.

He started the Navy, and helped to form the first tea party with his cousin Sam. He was the head of the War department in the Revolution, and it was John and Sam who got George Washington appointed as first General in the first place...I'm just saying.

John Adams is proof that the common man is sometimes just forgotten, yet his ideas are one of the main rocks upon which American has stood for so long.

The current President, Obama, wouldn’t know a rock from a sand tick.

But there is one thing that we can do as Americans to show appreciation for simple John Adams. We can go to more tea parties. We can fight for our rights and liberties, knowing that the whole world, including our President, our congress will call us “terrorists:

Every day there is proof…we have new Kings to fight.

You know, I would like to see before I die, a monument as big as Jefferson’s to John Adams on the National Mall. So would David McCullough. But that’s not bound to happen.

And if you asked John Adams if he would like a monument today, he would tell you, “You want to build me a monument? America. That’s my monument. Save it.”

How do I know he’d say this? Because the last thing John Adams was, was a politician. He was a farmer’s son. He was opinionated, blunt, grumpy, and above all…honest.

And in this world of globalization he would say, as he did on the day he died, July, 4th, 1826.

”Independence. forever. Nothing more, nothing less.”

If you would like to arm yourself for the fight ahead…read, “In Defense of the Constitution.” You can find it in, “The Political Writings of John Adams”

So---put down your cell phone for a night, and spend the night with John, and help build him a monument.

The Constitution is calling…it might be your last chance to answer.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Kathy said...

WOW! Great touch! Now if we can get teachers to teach history in such an interesting light, more kids would know history. Oh wait, that's the point isn't it? We don't want them to know, least they become right ring wacko nut jobs. Thanks Joyanna. =) I didn't know about the defense of the constitution but it will be the next book I read...I've already been surfing to find it online

11:10 AM  

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