Bird Droppings April 26, 2010
A founding father
“Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things.” Alexander Hamilton
As I looked through news this morning many of the situations go back to ideas and thoughts begun by Hamilton so many years ago. As the first Secretary of the Treasury he set about working with a huge national debt from the Revolutionary War and established many policies and laws that govern us now. But as he states he knew times would change and people change and what was needed was a general framework to guide the country.
“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.” Alexander Hamilton
While believing in a strong federal government Hamilton also believes in honesty and fairness.
“In the general course of human nature, a power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power over his will.” Alexander Hamilton
While written long before welfare and government subsidies I was reading this morning about cuts in many federal programs in order to try and cut deficits and bailout the economy. While an indirect lobbying method, imagine the effect of telling a group of people we are cutting your medical care or your bank is going to collapse. I wonder how they will vote in an election year and or do they even really have a voice.
“It is the advertiser who provides the paper for the subscriber. It is not to be disputed, that the publisher of a newspaper in this country, without a very exhaustive advertising support, would receive less reward for his labor than the humblest mechanic.” Alexander Hamilton
It is sad that we live in a time when news is bought and sold much like any other commodity as are politicians and popular opinion.
“Man is reasoning rather than a reasonable animal.” Alexander Hamilton
Cunning might even be a better word as I read Hamilton’s thoughts this morning. As I look at even Hamilton’s life ending in a duel with the then vice president Aaron Burr. As I am listening to news and current political pundits who shout differing opinions from day to day as they try and pull a vote here or there or for shock value pull a potential president out of the woodwork I wonder and am amazed at how Hamilton knew all along even three hundred years ago how the human mind worked.
“Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.” Alexander Hamilton
I see this every day in education, in student life, in a high school, in families and worse in those who supposedly govern us in this country an attitude of self centeredness, they are almost like spoiled children. Why would a congressman from Texas want so adamantly to drill in Alaska and or Senators from non-coastal states so vehemently want to drill in coastal states who oppose drilling off of there shores. Of course it is made easier in the news as the Coast Guard is unsure of how to stop a leaking oil rig five thousand feet down. I recall walking over a pipeline on the St. Augustine beach and looking out on what once were pristine waters to see oil rigs only a few hundred yards from shore. I wonder about such things.
“Real firmness is good for anything; strut is good for nothing.” Alexander Hamilton
Over the years of watching humanity, you do see those little bantam like fools who strut around flashing and smiling and oh yeah “I am the man” sort of fellows. But is it real? Hamilton saw through the strut to what he calls real firmness, an interesting set of words.
“The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom to judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct permanent share in the government… Can a democratic assembly who annually revolve in the mass of the people be supposed steadily to pursue the public good?” Alexander Hamilton
Perhaps this is where I disagree with Hamilton. Yet within our structure of government we do have a class system, wealthy attorneys and professionals who in effect run our government often becoming indirectly wealthier. It seems very few elected officials leave office in less shape than when they go in. A good example is the current Vice President Cheney. His former company from before his vice president days is reaping far greater profits than ever before and with contracts in the billions be it in Iraq or from Katrina or Ike and often at no-bid status. I wonder if soldiers will ever come home.
“Those who do not industrialize become hewers of wood and haulers of water.” Alexander Hamilton
A prophecy from 300 years ago and still true to this day although I wonder who the better person is? If you would listen to Gandhi or Dr. King years later it would be the water carrier who still is his own man and as Dr. King would say and be the best water carrier you can. Sadly due to population explosions because of modern medicine and technologies when you look at third world countries wood goes first then the economy unless that country industrializes. Yet in the losing of forest and jungles often so much more is lost. I used a quote from Thoreau yesterday as my status after reading an article on Newmont Gold’s mining in the Philippines. It was only a few years ago my ex-brother in law was one of the managers of that mine. An island paradise has been leveled for gold and peoples displaced and converted from seeing life one way stripping the skin from the earth to waiting for the next paycheck.
“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”Henry David Thoreau
“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” Alexander Hamilton
Perhaps it is in our indifference that we lose. Perhaps it is in our voting in such low turn outs that we lose. If we truly believed in this country and in what it stands for, would we not all vote and participate in having a voice. I found an old newsletter from a student organization four years ago entitled, “The Voice” silenced by an administration who did not want students having any say so. In 1804 Hamilton offended the Vice President and a duel was arranged. Aaron Burr and Hamilton met in a meadow in New Jersey one morning. Hamilton shot his pistol in the air. Burr shot Hamilton in the stomach and he died the next day. The Vice President had to escape, charges for murder were pressed. Over the years Hamilton’s ideas and thoughts have blossomed. The US Coast Guard, US Navy, many treasury processes and concepts go back directly to Hamilton. But as I finish up this morning this last quote is so significant for us today.
“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” Alexander Hamilton
We have to take a stand otherwise we will simply fall by the wayside. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
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