Sunday, November 4, 2018

Still "We The People"

On November 6, 2018, just two days from now, America will have an election.

In just two more days, America heads to the polls, in what is undoubtedly the most closely watched mid-term election at least since World War Two, if not in the history of the United States.

In just two more days, the entire House of Representatives will be (re)elected, and one third of the Senate will be (re)elected.

In just two more days, the political composition of our nation's government will be decided, and we will know how many Democrats and how many Republicans will sit in either house within the Congress.

There has been prognostication, punditry, and arrogant analysis on both sides ad nauseum. As of this writing, both sides are alternately acting as if they are on the cusp of electoral greatness and teetering on the brink of electoral disaster.  

As regards to which party might take control of either the House of Representatives or the Senate, my sentiment is best expressed by Clark Gable at the end of Gone With The Wind--"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

The Democrats may take control of the House. It is unlikely they will take control of the Senate. In no likely scenario do they have enough votes to impeach President Trump and throw him out of office.  

Regardless of the electoral outcome, Democrats and Republicans and President Trump will still have to work together to advance American interests and cultivate American prosperity.  In this regard the election of 2018 is exactly like every other mid-term and Presidential election we have had since the founding of the Republic.  On November 7, just like on every day after an election, the government will still have to govern, and the rest of us will still have to get up, go to work, and work to move our individual lives forward in whatever direction we have chosen.

Regardless of the electoral outcome, I hope the public discourse will shift away from politics and  towards policy.  Instead of discussing the merits and demerits of this or that political figure, the fitness or unfitness of Donald Trump for the Oval Office, let us instead discuss the merits and demerits of this or that policy. Let us sound off on whether more tax cuts are needed, on whether President Trump's border wall should be funded, on whether the government should continue to use tariffs as a weapon in internecine trade warfare with the world. Let us voice our opinions on immigration reform and on birthright citizenship. Let us turn our energies away from perfecting politics and towards perfecting policy.

Regardless of the electoral outcome, let us realize that we are defined by things other than how we cast our ballots. We are defined by our jobs, by our communities, by our families, and we are defined by our country. 

We The People are not merely Americans, we are America.  Whether we vote for Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, Libertarians, Greens, or for any other political party, we are still just Americans--one people, not many hyphenated subdivisions of a people.

President Kennedy, speaking to the 1963 graduating class at American University, stated that "...our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal." 

A quarter century later, President Reagan, in his Farewell Address at the conclusion of his Presidency, reminded us that our government begins with us, with "We The People":
"We the People" tell the Government what to do, it doesn't tell us. "We the people" are the driver - the Government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world's constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which "We the People" tell the Government what it is allowed to do. "We the people" are free.
Regardless of the electoral outcome, we still inhabit this one small planet. We still inhabit this one nation. We still breathe the same air. And we are all still mortal.

Regardless of the electoral outcome, we are still one people. We are still one nation. We are still the masters of our government, and never its servants. We still tell government where to go, how to get there, and how fast to go.  We are still free.

Regardless of the electoral outcome, we will never fully agree on either politics or policy. We will never, as a people, be unanimous in either support or opposition to a President, to an Administration, to a Congress, or to any act or policy they might seek to enact. We are one people, but not of one mind, and we are not meant to think and act in perfect uniformity. 

We are one people, and as a people we are meant to discuss and debate, to share ideas, to let ideas compete with ideas so that the best thoughts will prevail. Our more perfect Union was formed by debate, and it grows by debate. The true American Revolution came not on the battlefields of Lexington, Concord, Trenton, or Yorktown, but in the meeting hall in Philadelphia where Americans joined together to create a constitution and thereby recreate a government. 1787 was the first time in history men redefined their government without a shot fired in anger--a true political revolution unlike any before or since.

Let us remember that, let us be mindful of that, and let us always strive to live up to that. Let us be, now and always, "We The People".

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