Jul 17, 2019
OPED by Terry Kully
Together they tell the who, what, when, where, why, and how of our country. While most of us are familiar with a few of these documents, not all of us are as familiar with all of them as “WE” might be.
Speaking for myself, I could stand to be much more familiar with all of them. The Declaration of Independence; the Bill of Rights; The Constitution; The Federalist Papers. Add to these the farewell address of George Washington, Benjamin Franklins’ speech at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and there are so many more.
Since there are no pearls of wisdom that a modestly educated person like myself can add to these remarkably insightful tracts, I will begin this public “discussion” by simply sharing them in this public space, and encouraging everyone to join in. Perhaps there are thousands of you out there who will decide to write to this wonderful publication, and share your thoughts with your’ fellow citizens!!!..
All of this information is public, and can be found either in print, or online. One of my favorite online sources is:American History from Revolution to Reconstruction and Beyond…..there are many other great U.S History sights to explore, and the Mueller Report is available as a download.
A Patriots’ Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love; selected and introduced by Caroline Kennedy ( Hyperion Press ) is indispensable to me, and I recommend it to everyone I talk to.
Let’s get all of these together and start troubleshooting our current administrative situation, using the documents as the “rules”, and the Mueller report as the evidence of wrongdoing,.. or not,”High crimes and misdemeanors”, as it were.
I am not working to influence your’ opinion, only to influence you to use our wealth of documents to decide for yourself, and to encourage public discussion and debate on the subject. Because there are real-time constraints for congressional action, and therefore your time to inform your congressional representative of your findings in the matter, let me begin here and now by sharing one of my personal favorites; Benjamin Franklin’s speech at the end of the Continental Congress on September 17th, 1787.
“Mr. President, I confess that I do not entirely approve of this Constitution at present but; Sir, I am not sure I shall never approve it; for, having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or or fuller consideration, to change my opinion even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that, the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgement of others.
Most men, indeed, as well as most sects in religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them, it is so far error. Steele, a Protestant, in a dedication, tells the Pope, that “the only difference between our two churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrine is, the Romish Church is infallible, the Church of England is never in the wrong.”
But, though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as that of their Sect, few express it so naturally as a certain French Lady, who, in a little dispute with her sister, said, ”I meet with nobody but myself that is always in the right.”
In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people, if well administered; and I believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as others have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.
I doubt, too, whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better constitution; for, when you assemble a number of men, who have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected?
It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear, that our councils are confounded like those of the builders of Babel, and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another’s throats.
Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution, because I expect no better, and because I am not sure it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors I sacrifice to the public good. I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad. Within these walls they were born , and here they shall die.
If every one of us, in returning to our Constituents, were to report the objections he has had to it, and endeavor to gain Partisans in support of them, we might prevent it’s being generally received, and thereby lose all of the salutary effects and great advantages resulting naturally in our favour among foreign nations, as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity.
Much of the strength and efficiency of any government, in procuring and securing happiness to the people, depends on opinion, on the general opinion of the goodness of that government’s well as of the integrity and wisdom of its governors. I hope, therefore, for our own sakes, as part of the people, and for the sake of our posterity, that shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this Constitution, wherever our Influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts and endeavors to the means off having it well administered.
On the whole, Sir, I cannot help expressing a wish, that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and, to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument”. ~ Benjamin Franklin; 1787
These Documents are among the most beautiful working Documents that the world has ever known, written by the Founders of our Nation , at its birth, to create a framework within which “We”, as a society could agree to go forth, as a Union. These Documents can be used by “Us” to fact check our Government at ALL times, so, familiarity with them is important, and useful.
The Federalist Papers (2-6) address our concerns as Americans regarding the dangers of foreign influence, while Federalist (51) lays out the need for a check and balance system by which co-equal branches of Government will “ keep each other in line”.
The Constitution, (in article 1, section 9, #8), tells “Us” that The President, or any official, may NOT accept, or receive, ANY Emolument, that is, ANY gift, of ANY kind, whatsoever from any foreign State or entity, without the consent of Congress.
In George Washington’s farewell address, He warns of the dangers of factions, and complacency, and, again…
Benjamin Franklin’s speech at the close of the Continental Congress of 1787 warns of a society that may become so corrupt that a despotic Government is all they will accept.
These, and many more Documents are at our fingertips at all times and can help “Us” to fact check a rogue Government … should one ever occur… I would like for “Us” to share more of these beautiful Documents. I hope to encourage everyone to readThe Constitution as a matter of daily practice.
I wish for all of “Us” to be as familiar with our Bill of Rights as we are with our friends.
In this country, the People are The Boss! Congress, and the President work for “US”! NOT the other way around!!!
Call your Representative! Let your voice be heard!
If you live in this district ( district2) your Representative is (The Honorable) Jared Huffman. There are the most wonderful people wanting to hear from you at any one of three offices Mon.- Fri. 9-5 P.T.
Here are the phone #’s:
Washington D.C 202-225-5161;
San Rafael 415-258-9657;
- AND Jared Juffman’s WEBSITE:https://huffman.house.gov/
and Facebok page: facebook.com/RepHuffman/
If you feel that this (or any administration ever) is in need of a fact-check, it is OUR responsibility give it !!!!
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