Welcome back to Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. While it seems that there is impending news every day, it is important to look for the good around us. There are still young people interested in serving our country. One of them is a senior in a class where I was the guest speaker. He asked me in- depth questions about our founding documents. The class informed me that he just took his exam to get into the Marines and passed with flying colors. He wants to serve in the infantry and leaves the day after graduation. One of my family members, a week before turning 18, knocked it out of the park on the Air Force exam with the goal of serving as a linguist. Yes, there are still a few good men and women who are willing to defend our freedom in an age where it not only seems contradictory, but dangerous.
We begin this week with an article on how our American form of government seeks to balance power. I also include my thoughts below as I “connect the dots” in a piece titled “Common Sense Applied.” Thank you for being here.- Candace
There was a time when our constitutional government was the envy of the world. Many countries attempted to adopt our system of government. Those countries didn’t wholly succeed because a cornerstone of our American government is that our rights do not come from government at all. Our rights come from our Creator. “…that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (including your property).” In nations that don’t believe in God, it is nearly impossible for them to give away their power over their citizens.
Many countries want our system of government, but they don’t want citizens to have freedom of movement, speech, peaceable assembly, or religion. They want to control the press and not allow any dissenting views. They also do not want capitalism.
Our Founders sought balance. They wanted protection against tyranny by either the government or the people. So, they created the Electoral College, an indirect system that gave smaller states a say in electing the president, rather than having the populous states forever choose the Chief Executive.
Our Founders also adopted Roger Sherman’s “Great Compromise.” That is the House of Representatives with proportional representation and the Senate with two members from each state. Do you know what the other options were? The New Jersey Plan would have created a single legislature. The Virginia Plan would have created two Houses with proportional representation, leaving smaller states “in the dust.”
Do you see our Founders’ wisdom in seeking a balance of power? Yet, author and historian Victor Davis Hanson points out how our nation’s institutions that made America strong are under assault from within our own country. He cites the 176- year -old tradition of an Election Day (not election month or two). There is also the 152-year-old nine-member Supreme Court, the 184-year-old Senate filibuster, and the 62-year-old 50-state union. (1)
Picture balance as a ballerina doing an arabesque on point. We are not a perfect country, but we never stopped aiming for excellent balance. Now, it is up to us to be aware of all of the proposed changes. We need to do our part as citizens to counterbalance them by going back to the basics of our founding. We are the last, best hope on earth to defend our balance of power and freedom.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸