They were all important questions about the future of our nation. They were important questions about fixing the culture of politics in the nation’s capital: how to deal with the national debt, how to get our Supreme Court out of Politics; how to break the stranglehold that big money interests have on our government.
I tried to make it easy for them. Each package included an extra copy of the survey and a self addressed, stamped envelope to return the original when filled out.
Only one of the 23 candidates responded. Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump’s staff used my postage stamp to send me a nice form letter thanking me for supporting his campaign, assuring me that he is interested in whatever I am interested in, and enclosing a TRUMP bumper sticker.
Millions, billions, of dollars are being spent on the 2016 Presidential campaign. Hours and hours of television are being consumed by talk shows, interviews, advertising and debates. To what end?
Have the American people completely given up on democracy? Have we completely abandoned the idea that we are a free people, competent to select representatives who can make the laws that protect our lives, our liberty and our pursuit of happiness?
Are we so supine and indifferent to our welfare, security and happiness; so ignorant of our history, so distracted from our civic duties, that we want only a chance to wrangled over who will be our imperial leader?
I watch the parade of those candidates – from both major political parties – and I hear them ticking off all the problems with our government, all the real and imaginary difficulties associated with living in the United States, all the challenges we face as a nation, and the only solution anyone proposes is “elect me, “ “I will be your leader,” “I can fix everything.”
Election of an American President has become the ultimate ‘Mister or Miss America Contest.” All that matters is popularity. All that matters is “Who do you like?” It’s a vast, nationwide, two year reality show.
The talking heads on television are making a lot of noise about “outsider” candidates, the point being that the public seems to be more interested in electing a President who has never held public office than a President who has been a professional politician.
It’s sort of like people on a bus who have no idea where they are going, and all they want is to get someone to drive the bus who has never driven a bus before.
Isn’t it time to return to first principles? Who decides the laws? What laws should be national and which should be left to the States? How should we elect Congress Members and how should they function? Who decides to send our young people into battle? Can the Supreme Court amend the Constitution?
The great French Philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville, warned us against the “despotism of democratic nations” that arises when government imposes a network of small, complicated rules which can boggle the best of minds and stupefy the people, leading them to think that they can preserve their freedom simply by electing a new set of masters.
De Tocqueville believed that democracies only last until the people decide that they can vote themselves rich. A constitution that is nothing more than a grant of absolute power to a ruling class of political elite is not a constitution at all: it is no longer the Supreme Law of the land given by the sovereign hand of the whole people and confirmed by each generation’s conscious decision not to change its words.
Can we not agree to ask our candidates for President this one simple question: DO YOU SUPPORT A CONVENTION TO PROPOSE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS THAT THE CONGRESS REFUSES TO CONSIDER?