I am a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams, James Madison, George Washington, Thomas Paine, John Hancock, and their peers. My bloodline passes down through the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution of the United States and The Bill of Rights. My family lineage is filled with saints and sinners, sages and snakes, mountaineers and mountebanks. It is passed to me through the generations, and it is in this that I am granted title, the most powerful royalty of any nation: Citizen of the United States of America.
The title is not a hollow one, though, for it carries the heavy responsibility of maintaining, protecting, and defending the freedom, liberty, and justice of the nation and its citizenry, from all aggressors, foreign and domestic. I am given the broad and discretionary power to write and re-write law through the auspices of representatives of my choosing, and to install those who would be charged with overseeing the vitality and vigor of the nation in the office of the President of the United States. It is a duty not to be taken lightly, for shirking it endangers not only myself, but all my fellow citizens. We must, together, raise a nation and keep it safe from the vagaries of the world and from our own inner demons.
We forget, or possibly it is trivialized when we are taught about it in school, but we are part of a compact, forged by the disparate elements of the Thirteen Colonies, who found enough common ground to build a nation upon the bedrock principles of representative democracy and individual liberty. These men of the Enlightenment, were seeking to codify all that they knew about humanity and its importance, and turn that into the foundation of a true Republic where all citizens were at the same level, regardless of class, and entitled to the same level of freedom and justice. They knew that the only way to guarantee the perpetuation of such was to invest each man (and woman, though at the time, women were not truly considered the equals of men) with the responsibility for the oversight of the nation, through the electoral process. The citizenry would have the power to alter and support the Federal government as it saw fit, keeping that government to the core principles of forming a more perfect Union and promoting for the general welfare.
The nation that is America does not belong to corporations, religious affiliations, nor political parties. They are artifices created by groups seeking to leverage the system of governance to their advantage, to promote their interests, and to impose those interests on each and every one of us through acts of law, or through flouting the laws already conceived. These groups try to circumvent the "one person, one vote," form of Republic, that is the legacy of our Founders. They whip their adherents into a frenzy, and work to depress or suppress those who would oppose them. Through subtle machinations and broad obfuscations, they have painted a picture of a nation on the verge of collapse due to the very principles that it was founded upon: fairness, decency, justice, honesty. The Founding Fathers, having given us the greatest gift they could, must now watch silently as we squander it, lulled into a false sense that secretive and sanctimonious groups can somehow rule better in our stead.
There is no doubt that our nation is in trouble, though certainly not in the way many would have us believe. Whatever troubles we may have accrued, they are not built upon the torn foundation of the Constitution; the rules and rights of our nation remain intact. No, these issues have more to do with how some would manipulate the rule of law and the boundaries of society, to keep, if not widen, the gulf between the common man and the Monied Powers. The selfish, self-centered, asocial barons of greed would attempt to strip away the interdependence of the citizenry, isolate everyone, and leave the bereft of the means to survive, as they hoard their wealth in gilded vaults in some foreign land. They deny their position as members of an interlocked and interconnected human society, each of us dependent on so many others for our survival. They would place themselves above the rest of us, self-assured in their "superiority."
Are we, The People, to simply stand meekly and watch all that our ancestors worked for and died for be sold off, as if at some sale for a defunct business? Are we so detached from our past that we do not understand the import of what was done for us over two hundred years ago? Are we so willing to hand the keys to whatever fear-mongers or snake oil peddlers shout loudest? Do we live in a nation that regards its own citizens as disposable assets, or do we truly understand what the "united" in United States means? Is it possible that we can arrest this free-fall toward domination by the few, and return to government by the many? Will we fail the Founding Fathers, by forfeiting our birthright?
As we sit here now, immersed in the swirling whorls and turbulence of nation on the precipice, we cannot act as if we are powerless to arrest ourselves and begin the long trek back to a Republic of citizen legislators. We still hold the power, if we choose to use it -- no one can deny it to us, lest we deny it to ourselves. But it is not so simple as claiming our birthright, for it will have to be wrested from the hands of the special interests and the Monied Powers, who will seek to thwart us at every turn. In this era, we face a new Revolution, a new Civil War, a turning point in our nation brought about by stepping into a new century. Those of us who are concerned with the course our nation is taking, must rise up from our desks, walk out of our fields, away from our factories, and take up the fight. We must once more rescue our nation from itself, and it will be warm work, but our fate and our future hang in the balance. There is no time to waste.