I can think of one Founding Father, in particular, who would be appalled at the state of politics today — that would be Thomas Jefferson. If I were to say that it was just because of Bush, this would be another boring rant. No, the problem goes much deeper. Thomas Jefferson, like Thomas Paine, believed that each generation should be able to tailor government for its own needs. Jefferson would be appalled at how there has been no innovation in the way we govern.
When I purely considered myself a conservative, I thought Thomas Paine was nuts. Each generation should not be so casual in tinkering with government, I thought, because government was built slowly and over many years and should only be changed with the utmost caution. But now, I would not err so much on the side of caution. When we see egregious abuses of power, we should not restrict ourselves to condemning the perpetrators. We should always be on guard against the lesser passions of human nature. These urges will always be there, and it is our responsibility to create a government which guards against them; we cannot assume that our leaders will always be virtuous people.
I do not have the solutions yet, but I urge you to think about them. One possibility is accountability laws. These laws would disqualify a person from office if they did something. I don’t know how they’d work, but it’s something to think about.
As the nation, we cannot rely on one virtuous individual to save us from the excesses of the Bush administration, nor can we assume that this individual would prevent abuses in the future. What this nation needs now is a package of amendments, which will prevent certain tragedies from happening again. We need ways to prevent the President from abusing the military, and we need to do something about signing statements.
[Sorry if the writing is a little stilted. I’ve been trying out the voice software again.]