Comments: Good Job, Dead White Men

I admire The Founders, but think it necessary to admit they had an opportunity few ever have. I apologise for the busines-speak. It's the best way I can explain my position.

There was a window of opportunity unique in history and they recognised it. They had a tabula rasa and could ignore pardigms and think outside the box to imagine "what if". If was in their hands.

They designed a system as effective as they could imagine with checks and balances, representation for most people and personal protections.

The fact they came so close to a perfect system which could self-correct is amazing.

It took 230 years before Bush came along and dismantled what they built, a system that worked so well. And truth is, Bush couldn't have wreaked such havoc had Congress and the courts done their jobs per the Constitution.

I still have confidence in the Founders and believe their work has given us the tools required to salvage what Bush has all but destroyed.

Posted by spiiderweb at March 31, 2006 07:57 AM

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

No.

So:

I'm clearly not here to defend Bush-- we all know the man is a monster. But he's not an aberration; he's not even a particularly evil monster. Rather, he's quintessential: a paradigm of American leadership, and the inevitable result of the shit we let these guys get away with for, you know, 230 years.

We have NEVER had the functioning democracy that the Founding Fathers posited. Equality and the freedom from need are theoretical at this point. My parents were born before the Civil RIGHTS Act, and not too long after Truman decimated Nagasaki, either. The things we have come to see as the slowly-negotiated results of compromise, as shameful episodes in a history we are now capable of leaving behind, are the very things the Founding Fathers condoned by setting up an America that tolerated inhumanities from the beginning.

I'm sorry-- I wish you were right on this. I would be a much happier person, but the facts don't bear it out.

Posted by Sully at March 31, 2006 11:33 AM

Thank you, Sully.

I'd also like to point out that the functioning democracy posited by the "Founding Fathers" did not enfranchise blacks, women, people who held no property, and maintained the system of slavery AND the international slave trade. Hardly paragons of equality and freedom. A big improvement for their time, certainly, but let's not get carried away in our effusion of praise.

As for me, I'm a fan of Thomas Paine, one of the "Founding Fathers" who had the good sense to be opposed to slavery and favored universal public education, minimum wage laws, and other good things we take for granted these days. (Not too sure where he was on gender relations...)

Posted by saurabh at March 31, 2006 12:39 PM

He is too an evil, but evil, monster. Here on the border we learn to recognize them in Monsterology for Kindergarteners" normally taught by dread nuns on loan from the diocese. I got an A++.

Posted by Jesus B. Ochoa at March 31, 2006 04:11 PM

Sully, I agree. That's why I chose my words very carefully.

They designed a system as effective as they could imagine with checks and balances, representation for most people and personal protections.

They couldn't let go of the idea only landowners should have the franchise. They believed in a ruling class that would guide the country for the masses, but they came pretty close to getting it right. Subsequent changes, such as universal suffrage (well nearly universal), improved on their groundwork.

Its old but, do I think democracy is perfect? No, but its better than anything else out there.

But democracy won't work with a dictator at the helm and that's what we have.

Posted by spiiderweb at March 31, 2006 06:46 PM

Ever read Commonsense? Paine proposed that one half of the worlds population was always oppresed by the other half, namely men oppresed women, and it's true today. I'm sure he'd be unhappy about it, I am. The Fathers TOLD us the responsibility and power of government resides in the people. Sad to say, Fellow Taxpayers, but we've got just what we deserve in our government. Hopefully we'll be more vigilant with our TAXDOLLARS, perhaps November?
Mike Meyer--member Voter Initiative Political Party of Wyoming(VIPP)

Posted by M ike Meyer at March 31, 2006 10:17 PM

What's up with all the incredibly unfunny conversations? Haven't you noticed it's spring?

In other news -- the "Fathers" didn't give representation to most people. By disenfranchising women, that along cut off "most" people. And while the international slave trade kept the absolute number of Africans in the U.S. low, once it stopped in the early 19th century, there were soon areas all over the South that were majority African due to the presence of breeding farms.

The USA is an amazing, often beautiful place. It was founded by vicious self-centered people who intentionally made it difficult for more idealistic people in the future to succeed. They created rules that, for example, allowed nearly unpopulated districts to become states, thereby diluting the power of cities in the Senate and in the Constitutional process. They knew that rural areas were more conservative. They didn't have to set things up like that, but they did so, at the urging of some of the people liberals look back on most fondly, like Jefferson. One can draw a straight line from those decisions to the United States' lack of national civil rights (ERA, gay rights, etc.), a public media system, a public health system, and a living wage.

Posted by hedgehog at April 3, 2006 02:08 AM

Oh, good-- an angry hedgehog's got my back.

It's also worth noting that John Ralston Saul thinks that Jefferson was "genius."

In your face, Jon!

Posted by Sully at April 3, 2006 05:11 PM