Saturday, December 19, 2009


John Adams once wrote "Government is nothing more than the combined force of society, or the united power of the multitude, for the peace, order, safety, good and happiness of the people".
Quite a contrast to the famous Reagan quote of "government isn't the solution to the problem, government is the problem"

I think a too many people, especially on the right, identify with the sentiments of Reagan versus Adams. We have lost a sense of "we the people" and have an "us vs them" mindset. I hear it in the constant complaint of those who oppose the current attempt at health reform. They say they don't want government-run programs, like the very notion of government running something makes it bad. Aside from their obvious blind spots (national defense, drug laws, etc) they have developed an attitude that borders on anarchism. They use quotes like ,"government is best which governs least" by Thomas Jefferson (it actually was Thomas Paine who said it), and balk at anything being done by government doing anything except national defense.

They figure that if things were just left up to the states everything would be fine. I do not think any person of color would agree with that, since left to the states there would still be segregation at least , if not outright slavery. It was the intervention of national government that ended both of those, one requiring a civil war. Even at the state level, here in Washington , the state legislature is discussed in some quarters (Republicans) with such contempt that it is a wonder that anyone from the right takes the time and effort to participate.

The tea party and town hall rucus is a legitimate expression of popular views, but some of the language is downright dangerous and begs borrowing a phrase from post-911 questions "why do they hate us"...I would ask, why do those on the right hate government?....and there are some out there who evidence that hatred....when you think about it...they hate our government.

No one wins when anarchy comes and we must guard against it....We the people means "we" and we need to play our part responsibly, not just grumble against what we don't like.
There is a quote, by Thomas Jefferson, which has been used by the tea party crowd , which people should think about before they use here and now, think about the context. "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is a natural manure." it was said in 1787 in response to the Shay's Rebellion in Massachusetts. What were a few lives lost?, Jefferson asked. Later Jefferson supported the French Revolution, with all the chaos and bloodshed that occurred (in contrast to our own Revolution) . Is that what these people really want?

Not I.

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