I am reading a book, “The Founders’ Speech to a Nation in Crisis” by Steven Rabb, for the second time.
The premise of Rabb’s book, written in 2020, is that our founding fathers have returned to offer advice and counsel to current America. Rabb uses historical words to provide what the founders views might be regarding modern-day issues. From religious liberty to freedom of speech, from the rule of law to the threat of authoritarianism, Rabb weaves a tapestry of the Founders’ own words into a powerful speech to America.
Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and others of their time exhibited brilliance, but realistically could not anticipate every American need, every potential problem, or the impacts of time and technology. But their ingenuity, their passion for democracy, their foresight and love of country formed a republic that became inspiration for the rest of the world.
James Madison said, “…on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks — no form of government can render us secure.”
How is that working out 230 years later? Yes, the framers of our Constitution were flawed men, who owned slaves and could not agree about women’s rights. They created an imperfect set of rules from which to govern, but they also had the vision to allow, and even encourage changes to those rules. They evolved and hoped that the country would, as well.
While Babb’s concept of the Founders offering advice today is thought-provoking, I find it equally interesting to view the quality of their leadership compared to what is provided today.
Our current president just bowed to the far left wing of his party to write off student loans. It is a dangerous precedent that has enormous potential for abuse. I noted this in a May 7 column; he apparently missed that one.
Many see student-loan forgiveness as largely unfair to responsible students who have already paid off their college debt, and to those who never got the opportunity to attend college because they could not afford it. What about your mortgage or car loan? When do we get help with those?
After passing a bill in August that might reduce the deficit a tiny bit, we create ways to give away more free money. America is $31 trillion-plus in debt; when do we start acting like it?
How about a look at a 2022 candidate for Congress? Georgia Senate candidate, Herschel Walker, publicly condemned absentee fathers and touted his relationship with his son in campaign speeches. “If you got a child, hug your child every day,” Walker said. But Walker has three other children that he failed to mention, has been sued for child support, and has had a protective order filed by his first wife, who said he threatened to “blow” her “brains out.”
Walker is assumed innocent, but after passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which sets aside money to combat climate change, Walker observed that “[A] lot of money it’s going to trees. Don’t we have enough trees around here?” This guy is running for the US Senate; and the polls show him with a lead.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, when asked about state laws banning abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, said, “Let’s make something very clear: Rape is a crime, and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas.”
We hope Abbott shares his magical solution soon, since Texas is No. 1 in the country for crimes of rape. These are our current leaders.
John Adams wrote, “A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” They communicated so eloquently and so accurately.
It is less so today. Try to imagine our first president making the statement our 45th president made to his vice president in 2021, “Mike, I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t do this.” Really? Maybe if Washington was in second grade.
— Curt MacRae is a resident of Coldwater and writes columns each month. Columns are tweeted (@curtmacrae). Send comments to [email protected].