The following was written by Convention of States Action President Mark Meckler and originally appeared on SelfGovern.com.
This week America celebrates her 243rd birthday, and politics threatens to rain on the parade. Pundits have decried President Donald Trump’s July Fourth event on the National Mall as a self-promotional 2020 campaign event. Some veterans announced they were going to attend this event with thousands of USS John S. McCain T-shirts to confront the president with his own (lack of) military record and anti-POW rhetoric. The F.B.I. issued a warning of possible terror threats in large patriotic crowds. And, to top it all off, Nike announced it would not debut their Air Max 1 USA shoes this week featuring the Betsy Ross flag, because – you guessed it – Colin Kaepernick expressed concerns over the flag’s “connection to an era of slavery.”
The drama is both distracting and alarming, and the state of our government feels uneasy. Neither party seems capable of rising above knee-jerk reactions and short-term thinking. The Democrats deny American exceptionalism and want to take us into the dumpster fire of socialism and totalitarianism. Republicans, who used to at least pay lip service to limited government and fiscal-responsibility, are seemingly happy to rack up impossible amounts of debt which will also lead to the demise of our Republic.
It’s enough for any red-blooded American to snuff out the fireworks.
But a new Rasmussen poll has some good news: 66% of Americans “believe that the Fourth of July is one of our nation’s most important holidays” and the “vast majority continue to embrace the core ideals expressed in our nation’s founding document.” Fifty-eight percent of Americans believe “America’s best days are still to come.”
This optimism is not some sort of head-in-the-sand wishful thinking.
No, the same poll reports 74% of voters believe “our political system is badly broken”; 67% believe “our political leaders don’t respect the voters they are supposed to serve”; 87% believe “corruption is widespread in the federal government”; and 27% believe the “federal government primarily serves the interest of the American people.”
Instead of ignoring our deep problems, Americans see them clearly… and still feel great. What gives? In spite of everything, we seem to be united around the idea politicians will not fix what ails us… they can not.
Though that might sound negative, it’s actually positive. It shows that modern Americans have taken to heart what President Ronald Reagan said in his 1981 inaugural address.
“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?” he asked. “All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden.”
Things have changed since the 1980s, but the current cast of characters with power over the federal government and our cultural conversations are arguably even more toxic, short-sighted, and acrimonious. The fact that they showcase their faults so transparently eliminates all false hope that they can provide solutions to the problems that ail us.
Americans are still willing to accept the responsibility that Reagan (and – more importantly — our Founding Fathers) laid out. We don’t need help from anyone inside the beltway, because the Constitution itself is the answer. “We the people” hold the keys for unlocking America’s next great century through self-governance and liberty.
Let the fireworks commence!
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