My fellow citizens,
I come to you during a time of great peril. At no time since war between the states has our great republic been so close to faltering. More that 200 years ago, through divine inspiration, our Founding Fathers created a wonderful design to free their brethren from the tyranny of a distant king, a king who had fallen deaf to the grievances and distress of his people. During a hot summer in 1787, 55 men created a government of self-rule, by the people, of the people and for the people. No longer would the people of the American colonies be ruled by a king, wielding his powers at a whim against any an all. The American citizens would be governed, not ruled. And they would be governed by their own.
Once again we sit at the great precipice, looking into the detached eyes of those that rule us. Those eyes that are blind of our plight. We must respond. We must take action. We must once again become a great people, of the likes that have not been seen since that summer in 1787.
The American founders knew for this great republic to stand, its governing body must never become detached from the people. The first congressional representatives were not a body of special men. They were not royalty, lords or governors. They were friends, family and neighbors. They were hometown doctors, farmers, local businessmen, lawyers and honored men of the community. They assembled in Congress to govern those that had sent them, and then returned to their communities, farms and business. They were not men who saw themselves as governors, merely as servants to the people. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives knew they would have to answer to their neighbors for every action they took. They did not become so removed from their base as to forget their charter. This is no longer the case.
Our founders also knew they were forming a very unique country. They were challenged with taking 13 individual commonwealths and forming a bond between them that would last to eternity. The British king commanded great power over all his land, and there was no avenue for redress. Many early Americans feared this of a central government over the 13 colonies. If too much power were granted to the federal government, those elected could wield it as though they were kings. Again, our founders, with divine foresight, placed controls within the Constitution that would constrain the Congress and prevent tyranny.
The founders also wished to empower the several states, and allow them an active role within this new government. Under the Constitution, as originally designed, the legislatures of the several states would select two senators to represent their interests in the Congress. The legislatures were free to select whom ever they saw fit, regardless of stature, lineage or political prowess.
In these ways, and so many others, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and 52 others guaranteed prosperity and freedom for the newborn country they had created. These safeguards guided Americans for generations, but today they are failing.
For the past century, there has been a terrifying effort to erase the grandeur of our founding and to end the safeguards that have protected us from tyranny. Our states have become impotent in their efforts to protect us. Our governors have lost all power to affect the course of our great nation. Our legislators are no longer our neighbors, nor our friends.
Your elected officials are no longer members of your community. They no longer see the everyday strife you must endure to simply survive. Today we have professional politicians. The length of service of many current officials defies common sense. There are currently four congressional officials who have been serving for over 50 years, two over 40, and 10 over 30. Congressional occupation is a new cancerous growth on our republic. This was not the intent of our founders. Of the 83 most senior congressional officials in our history, merely 11 began their service prior to 1900. And of those, only two prior to 1877. The people govern the people, not the politically elite ruling for a lifetime.
In 1913, in an effort to create a “true democracy,” the early Progressive movement passed the 17th Amendment, thereby stripping the legislatures of the several states of any authority they had over the federal Senate. The 17th Amendment to the Constitution ended the legislative appointment of Senators, and required election by popular vote. On the surface, this very democratic idea does seem appropriate. But we are not a democracy! We are a republic! In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49.” The constitutional delegates created a true balance of power between the people, the state, and the federal Congress. No one could rule the country and overpower the other. Your states have lost their voice.
Most will complain about the ills of our current Congress, but few believe their officials are to blame. My fellow citizens, they are to blame. Our system has been so corrupted by special interests, campaign donations and congressmen who believe they own a seat in Congress that short of a miracle, there is no solution. My friends, I have your miracle – term limits, and the repeal of the 17th Amendment!
First, repealing the 17th Amendment will return the balance of power to where our founders placed it. It will re-empower the states to assert their sovereignty from the federal Congress. Repealing an amendment is not as radical an idea as one might think. Remember your history; at one time the 18th Amendment prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol. It was repealed by the 21st Amendment 13 years later.
Second, term limits. This is a much more difficult and sensitive to topic. Recently, I corresponded with my state governor directly regarding this issue. His view was that by installing term limits we would be removing the citizen’s right to choose. I respect the man greatly, but could not more firmly disagree. If this were true, then why do we only allow our president to serve for two terms? Again, this was not the way of our founders. Presidential term limits were not in place until Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected for an astounding four times. In more than 150 years, no person had been elected to more than two terms, and very few even tried. Our first president, the Honorable George Washington, stepped down after two terms, and refused to even run for a third. He knew this would set a dire precedent and pave the way for a king.
Our politicians have lost that honor and respect for our great republic. Thomas Paine wrote in his pamphlet “Common Sense,” “… and that the elected might never form to themselves an interest separate from the electors, prudence will point out the propriety of having elections often; because as the elected might by that means return and mix again with the general body of the electors … their fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudence reflection of not making a rod for themselves.”
Oh, how do these words speak to us today across the echo of time.
The elected have formed themselves an interest separate from the electors! Countless times in the past decades has the Congress passed laws that do not affect themselves, and today again they try with health-care reform. The elected officials today feel themselves above the common man; they have created themselves into a political class. How long has it been since the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have returned home and served as an employee of anything but the U.S. government? This political class planted its roots so deeply within the Congress, nothing short of an act of God will remove them. Since 1952, a Kennedy has owned a Massachusetts Senate seat! And it is currently being discussed if the seat should remain a Kennedy seat. Americans! We have no kings, yet we allow self-proclaimed royalty to dominate our government! And these royalty have turned the daily workings of our government into campaign speeches and preparation for the next election. For the past decade, Washington, D.C., has not allowed itself to step back from campaign mode. By only allowing them to serve one term, there is no campaign mode on the Hill. The campaigners will be in your hometown, talking to you about what they will do if you select them to serve their one term. Washington, D.C., will no longer be passing legislation that is counter-productive to everything this great nation stands for, simply to maintain their death grip on their seat! Removing the campaign from the Hill will allow Washington to concentrate on running the country as it should be, not running it into the ground.
My governor’s claim that term limits would eliminating choice is false. I proclaim it would create choice. Your elected officials may be good, but they are not replaceable. Term limits would force the pool of electorates to be churned. It would bring forth those true American Patriots that are currently hiding in the shadows because they do not want to get involved in the dirt of politics. It will give you a choice of how you want YOUR country to be run! Not remain as the status quo! No longer will the American people proclaim that Congress is destroying the country … but not my congressman.
My fellow Americans, do not contact your congressmen regarding this issue; they will not pass legislation that will remove themselves from office. Contact you local state official! The Constitution of the United States provides for two avenues of amendment. Congress may pass the amendment, then provide it to the states for three-fourths ratification. This will not happen! The Constitution also allows for the states themselves to petition the federal legislature demanding reformation. Demanding a Constitutional Convention is too dangerous; this would allow all aspects of the Constitution to be debated and changed. However, if three-fourths of the states pass legislation on the same proposed Amendment, a Convention can be called on solely this Amendment.
Congress will not listen to you; your state representative will. These people are your neighbors; they know they must answer to you. You will not run into Pelosi or Boehner picking up their mail, or at the bank. You will with your local official. Contact your local representative and demand a state debate regarding term limits. Let your voice be heard. Let your state be heard. Return senator selection to the states and only allow them to serve one term. Extend representatives’ terms to four years, and only allow them to serve one term. No longer will the American political class trample over the rights of its people. You have the power, not them. Take back that power today!
Paul Revere (Blake Furman)