It was August 22nd, 1996 when The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (welfare reform) was passed – 20 years later to the day there are more people dependent on the government than ever.
I asked myself how did that happen?
I’ve always wondered if Ben Franklin explained himself after he answered the woman who asked after the 1787 Constitutional Convention, “What do you have for us?” His answer, “A Republic if you can Keep it” is all we really know.
Could it be she knew what he meant?
I guess it doesn’t matter but I am fairly sure I know what most people would say today.
What do you mean, “If I can keep it? You’re the politician; it’s your job.”
There you have it. And because this is the attitude of most Americans, there isn’t much left of the Republic as it was handed to us by the founders.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]… it is neither the government’s role or the politician’s job to rescue the people in a Republic from themselves.[/mks_pullquote]
“We the people” have allowed the government to usurp the role of guardian for the Republic.
At the beginning of the 20th century, it was inconceivable that the government would ever overtake private enterprise in size or influence. But when things got out of control in the 1920s, it was Herbert Hoover and FDR to the rescue.
“We the people” weren’t so sure about their ability to rise to the occasion of an unstable stock market (or so they were led to believe) and they bought the lie that the government was the answer.
Enter the Fireside Chats. Gather round the radio and listen to the President tell us, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
The average thinking person looked around the room at his family and thought, “That’s Bologna…Who’s going to feed my family if I don’t?”
What I’m trying to say is simply this – it is neither the government’s role or the politician’s job to rescue the people in a Republic from themselves. It is up to the people – the individual person – to think for himself and act according to his good common sense.
The New Deal is what followed the Fireside Chats and it wasn’t just a New thing it was the beginning of program after program designed for the government to grow and become the “go to guy” for just about everything.
And it didn’t just happen – “We the people” gave consent by re-electing the New Dealer FOUR times. What did we get? More government, a false sense of well-being and an education system that did a number on the post-war generation.
It wasn’t business as usual after the depression–it was paradigm shift of seismic proportions.
It shifted the responsibility from the people and moved it to the government.
Once a Republic becomes overrun by people in places of influence who believe the government is the solution for all its problems, the consent of the governed becomes less important.
They become convinced by the professional politicians that government is too complicated and they should leave it to those who know best.
Enter sociology as a required subject and some PhD will tell you why you are the way you are and act the way you do. No use to read and think for yourself anymore.
It may be too late for some things; I will concede to that notion. I’m not going to talk in platitudes or make stupid promises.
I do know there are those of you out there who still believe in your ability to think and act.
So let’s quit bitching about Donald Trump, and think together about what’s next for the Republican party and its role in the future of America.