Bird Droppings August 19, 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 the Constitution was written long before welfare and government subsidies Hamilton knew what he was talking about as I was reading this morning responses to possible 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 have a voice. Yesterday I found out when my son gets married in October he has to come off my health insurance but when the New Healthcare legislation goes into effect in January he can go back on. Interesting thought I won’t want the Health Care bill repealed by any means looking at that one issue.
“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 or from moose hunting 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 when those states oppose drilling off of their shores? 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 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 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 directly and indirectly wealthier. It seems very few elected officials leave office in less shape than when they go in. A good example is the former Vice President Cheney. His former company Halliburton from before his vice president days is still reaping far greater profits than ever before and with contracts in the billions be it in Iraq or from Katrina or even the exploded rig in Louisiana and often at a no-bid status. I wonder if all of the 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 is the better person? 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. Within a few years after deforestation hunger sets in and then revolutions and slaughter.
“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 eight 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.
PS “It does not require many words to speak the truth” Chief Joseph, Nez Perce