We the people: An apology to our Founding Fathers
By Simona Gerdts and Kristen Speyerer
Dear Founding Fathers,
In 1776, shockwaves were felt around the world when you declared independence for the United States. Holding steadfast in your belief that all men are created equal and have certain unalienable rights, you issued a challenge that a king would not be the supreme authority of this land. Your vision of a free democracy has long been an inspiration for the thousands of Americans who have since sacrificed their lives in service to our nation in order to preserve our democratic way of life and our individual freedoms. America was to be a land of freedom and opportunity with a limited government that was to only derive its power from the citizens.
Recognizing the dangers of a tyrannical government, you crafted a blueprint to guide us into the future. Your plan was clear in its intent to distribute the power of the people among the three branches of our government. Our Constitution was now the supreme law of the land, and all were beholden to it. While drafting the Constitution you acknowledged that the values in a liberal democracy would evolve over time to reflect the moral tenets of society. Your wisdom in creating a “living” document has allowed us to expand upon your definition of equality to include equality for all.
Today, we are living in a society that you would not recognize as the republic that we were entrusted to protect. We the people are no longer united as one, selfishness and greed now fuel our individual and political motives.
Many of the problems that we face today can be attributed to the two-party system that you cautioned us against. Recently, we watched our government grind to a halt, leaving many Americans paralyzed in a state of helplessness. So shocked by Congress’s inability to compromise, we flocked to social media and expressed our support for one party over the other.
However, many are ignorant in their belief that it was your intent to allow a partisan divide to result in an inability, as the governed, to hold the legislature accountable as a whole. As our elected representatives have become more polarized from one another, this great divide has seeped into the collective conscience of the American people, spreading like a cancer. We have become so apathetic that we sit idly by and watch our government self-destruct without taking any action.
Over time, we have adopted the belief that political discussion is taboo. We have allowed politics to become a politician’s game where the people have no say, and as a result, protestation is now viewed as fanaticism. Our present-day Congress is as stagnant as our voice is silent. The political corrosion in our country has lowered our expectations of government to a state where we accept that merely doing one’s job is worthy of a “pat on the back.” Unless we awaken from this coma and start demanding that our collective voice be heard we will continue on a path that will only end in loss of liberty.
The Constitution that you championed is now routinely sidestepped by our elected officials who seek only goals that will further their own interests. While this is a nation for the people, it seems that only the wealthy have a voice. It would be easy to point the finger at our corrupt political system, but failing to take any personal responsibility for the current state of our union would also be a failure to acknowledge our duty as the governed. We will not continue to take the easy route and deflect all of the blame onto our elected representatives.
The two-party system that you greatly feared is now our reality. Party loyalty has replaced reason. We relinquish our sacred vote to candidates not based on principle or merit, but rather on the letter behind their name. We have lost the desire to think for ourselves and to look beyond the branding: Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal.
Our guiding light of liberty may seem dim, but rest assured, Founding Fathers, the hope for a brighter future is not lost. The revolutionary spirit that is so deeply engrained in us, as Americans, has merely been suppressed by anger, disappointment and despair. Our patriotism shines brightest when we unite during times of national tragedy.
Our nation was attacked on Sept. 11, and we seemed, if only for a moment, to put our differences aside and grieve with one another. This is only one example of how we have shared in solidarity during our nation’s darkest hours. Unfortunately, we seem to suffer from short-term memory loss and we quickly settle back into our state of apathy.
Why does it take a something so tragic to realize that we are in this together?
It is our duty as the people to no longer let fear and hate mongering suspend our individual liberties, the liberties that so many have fought and died for. We will hold our representatives accountable and no longer allow them to circumvent our fundamental principles.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the ideals that this republic was founded on. Our Constitution provides us with the instruments that we need to ensure that future generations of Americans enjoy the same liberties that so many have provided for us.
We promise to demand that our government represent the will of the people. We will no longer allow the wealthy few to dictate the fate of our nation’s future. We will no longer stubbornly hold on to political ideologies that do not support our best interests. We will learn to think for ourselves. We will become impervious to the manipulations of the corporate run media machine. We the people will not cower in the face of tyranny. We will rise up and honor the blood, sweat and sacrifice that our brothers and sisters before us have shed, by regaining our power as a collective people.
Finally, we must realize that the tools to rebuild this republic have been at our fingertips all along; we need simply to reach out and grasp them.
The People of these United States