For some, curiosity brought them to the beach. Some joked about how strange it was. Some were perplexed because they had come to take a boat on a pleasure trip, only to find that many of the vessels were beached. But it wasn’t until the water returned (slowly at first, and then suddenly more forcefully), that the people began to look for safety.
A few weeks ago I stumbled onto an intriguing documentary on the devastating 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, which claimed the lives of 200,000+ people. It showed tourists and locals mesmerized by the unexpected low tide, and unaware that a tsunami would soon follow.
Curiosity brought some to the shoreline. Some joked about how strange it was. Some came to take a boat on a pleasure trip, only to find the boats had been beached.
But it wasn’t until the water returned (slowly at first, and then suddenly more forcefully), that the people began to look for safety.
Unfortunately, some didn’t find higher ground soon enough.
Watch below, particularly beginning at the 4:20 mark:
Days later I was caught up in the Washington D.C. drama with the Affordable Care Act, the Debt Ceiling, and the government shut-down. I noticed Facebook friends taking sides, and others who determined to stay above the fray by keeping their minds on more positive topics.
As one who loves America and the opportunity it has provided for the common man to achieve almost anything, I’ve been concerned about the policies and popular opinions that have whittled away at the very thing that makes this country unique. Many people don’t know, but our constitution is the longest standing document in modern history to continually govern its nation.
To compare, the American constitution has stood for more than 220 years, while Italy has had 61 governments, JUST since 1945!
As outlined in John McCormick’s book, Comparative Politics in Transition, 7th ed.:
- France has had 23 constitutions since the 1776
- China has had 4 constitutions since 1949
- The Soviet Union has had 4 constitutions in just 59 years
- The Dominican Republic has had 25 constitutions
- Haiti has had more than 20
- El Salvador has had 16
- Honduras has had 12
The list goes on.
What made America’s constitution different were the provisions for blocking the power-hungry. Checks and balances were designed for the express purpose of making sure the government could NOT become a creature more powerful than the governed. The founders had experienced oppressive government, and intended to protect the common person from future despots.
Most people are aware of the checks and balances between the House and the Senate, the Left and the Right, the Executive, Judiciary, and Legislative branches. But not so many are aware of the checks and balances between the Federal and State governments.
For example, there was never supposed to be a Federal income tax, a Federal education program, nor Federal welfare programs. As virtuous as these programs may be, they were supposed to be handled at the State level, to maintain a wall of separation between local communities and the Federal government, in order to keep its powers continually in check.
John Locke, whose ideas were influential in the shaping the constitution, asserted that the purpose of government was to protect life, liberty, and the ‘estate’ of its people. The government is supposed to protect what they have, not provide for what they don’t have.
But when the purpose of government in the minds of its people shifts from the protection against tyranny, to the provider of comforts and privileges, the unraveling begins.
There will always be strings attached when a government provides comforts and privileges. Eventually the strings become cords that bind, and to accept them is to take a gamble of epic proportions. You’re at the mercy of the those in authority, and you must hope they will always be kind and honorable.
So, the recent gridlock in Washington was, in some respects, anticipated more than 220 years ago! By design, allowing opposing views to have a voice within our government was part of the protective system of checks and balances. Then, rather than getting angry at one side or the other for “getting in the way” of progress, we need to stop and at least appreciate that we still have a government that is required to answer to an opposing side within itself.
I would rue the day when opposing views are no longer permitted in Washington.
And although our constitution has been amended with good and necessary amendments, there are also amendments that effectively nullified some of the most carefully crafted provisions of protection.
Some feel the constitution has become irrelevant, or outdated. While it is not perfect, it has – for the most part – continued to protect our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Many good people have voted for legislation and amendments that seemed honorable at the time without realizing how they inadvertently removed another layer of protection against potential tyranny.
Good people throughout history have been so blinded by the promised ‘ends’ that they were either unconscious to, or willing to forgive the ‘means’.
Naturally, the constitution as it was originally intended will be an annoyance, an inconvenience, an obstacle for those who want the government to provide more comforts and privileges. After all, it was expressly designed to keep the Federal government out of our personal lives.
But when those compassionate goals are achieved anyway, and people become dependent on the system, they eventually forget how to think and produce and solve problems and contribute and strive and achieve and conquer and thrive.
And frankly, that’s more convenient for potential tyrants, whether they be Republican, Democrat, or otherwise. Dependent people just don’t push back as much as those who would sacrifice their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for the cause of freedom from tyranny.
So… EVEN IF WE DO NOT have a dictator now, with the original purpose of our constitution so disregarded, what’s left of it to stop one from taking power? Without protective restorative amendments adopted, both Democrats and Republicans (and everyone else) are dangerously vulnerable.
The reality is that the acceptance and implementation of Federal programs has set a perilous precedent, opening the door to an easy pass for less honorable mandates that may be introduced in the future.
Maybe you wondered why anyone would be so against such programs. Maybe you thought the opponents were callous, heartless, wealthy capitalists. Maybe you couldn’t understand why they would choose to be so unpopular, fighting to preserve one of your last remaining protections from potential tyranny.
The revolutionaries who first secured our freedoms were a noisy, annoying bunch of rebels. The British government didn’t like them very much. In fact, they were as much of a bother as the ‘right-wing nuts’ in Washington are, who have been trying to block yet another law that promises to provide comfort and privilege at the expense of one of our last remaining provisions of protection.
So here’s where the tsunami video stopped me short:
I was fascinated as I watched the political debates rage on in my Facebook news feed. People complained about the idiocy of the government barricading open-air scenic views. They cracked jokes like, “If we declare the southern border to be Federally owned, would they finally come block it off?” or “The Washington Redskins have dropped the name ‘Washington’ because it was embarrassing…”
And I realized America has lost something very precious. The constitution that was designed to keep the Federal government at bay has been so carelessly amended – its original purposes so disregarded – that the Federal government now oversteps its bounds so often that the people have accepted it as the norm.
For those who see it for what it is, we’ve been watching the tide go out further than ever before, and we joke about it. We find it curious. We gawk, we gather. We call others to ‘come and see’ as we share clips and snippets of news and satire with our friends.
Some didn’t notice the tide going out unusually far until it affected them personally. They thought they would enjoy the day on a pleasure boat but discovered the Affordable Healthcare Act was beached instead. Premiums were much higher than expected, the enrollment website wouldn’t work…
How curious! No matter. We’re happy to do our part, they say. This is so wonderful, they say. The government is so NICE, they say. (Cue: “Ice creaaam… Lollipops…!”)
And yet, still, there is no alarm for the meaning of such signs. It’s still just a conversation piece. They don’t see a potential tsunami of tyranny coming.
I’ve engaged in the political discussion myself, at the risk of my reputation (I might even lose some subscribers!), and will continue as my conscience leads. At the same time, my husband and I are moving to ‘higher ground’. The returning tide is up to our knees already and the force has begun to squeeze our ankles. It’s time to move, and fast.
Moving to ‘higher ground’ means de-cluttering life of the things that really don’t matter. It means listening to my conscience and strengthening my relationship with God so I can be inspired to know what I must do to prepare for whatever the future holds. It means following the four steps required to qualify for Heaven’s intervention.
You may be wondering why, as one who teaches positive thinking, that I would dwell so much on something so depressing?
As I shared in an earlier post:
…after having enjoyed our new success for several years, we made some careless investment decisions. When we finally became completely conscious of the problem, we believed that we could “make” those bad decisions into good ones somehow just by “thinking right”.
…in every adversity there is a seed of equal or greater benefit, [but] that doesn’t mean the adversity will go away with right thinking. It only promises that something good can be born from it.
The positive thinking skill also helps you cope when things don’t change. So when it appears that the country is falling apart, optimism is more important than ever. We need to be optimistic, hopeful, and most importantly, inspired, so we’ll know what to do.
So, as much as you may want to stick your fingers in your ears and say “lalalalala”, these issues will affect you. They will affect your children. You can face them once they can no longer be ignored, or you can look to higher ground now. Picture life the way you want it to look – your freedom, your happiness, your prosperity – and you will be guided and inspired on the steps you can take to help it happen.
And if the steps look something like getting politically involved – gasp!, don’t be shocked. It’s been happening to quite a few of us.
And actually, the steps may end up looking like something else, and that’s okay. If enough people hold the vision, and do the part they feel inspired to do, this nation will endure. I believe God is orchestrating its preservation and I hope we wake up and do our part soon enough, so it doesn’t require more serious conflict to restore it.
Unfortunately, too many of the protecting provisions are already gone, and the delicate balance of power has already been destroyed. So in order to pass on the promise of freedom that our fathers enjoyed, restorative amendments will be necessary. It takes more than a vote, we must learn, inform others, and stay involved with the representatives who get it. It may take a miracle, but I happen to believe in miracles.
Yes, you can still achieve goals, expect miracles, and succeed according to the principles, even if the government makes it difficult. But if you don’t move to higher ground while you still can, the difficulty may overwhelm you so much that you don’t even get the chance.
Stay tuned – together we can use what we know about overcoming obstacles to experience miracles in our personal lives, and who knows, maybe we can even make a positive difference in the condition of our country.
Future topics coming soon:
- How (and why) to have a civil political discussion
- Law of Polarity – what good can come from political conflict
- A heated political debate where I was proved wrong (and I didn’t see it coming)
- How to NOT lose credibility with the fence-sitters (both sides blow it all the time!)
- Why I gave up a 6-figure income
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