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Guest Commentary: How ​Wise ​are ​We?

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February 13, 2012 by wcobserver

In 1789, one of our Founding Mothers (Mercy Warren) said of Americans, “… we are too poor for monarchy, too wise for despotism, and too dissipated selfish and extravagant for republicanism.”

It’s almost 223 years later and some things have changed. The wealthiest one percent of our country are quite wealthy enough for monarchy, and apparently are attempting to create one via political campaign donations. Other Americans, however, may still be “too dissipated selfish and extravagant” (in 2011 Americans carried $11.4 capital-T trillion in debt, some 79 percent of the GDP) for a government requiring vigilant and involved voters (republicanism).

And as for “too wise for despotism” while the current and past presidents requested, and congresses passed, laws permitting the executive office access to our emails, snail-mail, phone calls, library records, bank records, credit card records, medical records with- out cause or warrant; while the government passed laws permitting secret prisons and torture; laws permitting the executive office to define terrorism and assisting terrorism, to accuse anyone of those self-defined crimes, to imprison without evidence anyone accused of those self-defined crimes, and to never even bring those accused to a court of law, Americans watched TV and the more politically involved argued whether “electability” is a good or bad characteristic.

One of Mercedes Lackey characters com- mented that the “common man” only wants “the roof over his head to be sound and the food on his plate to be abundant … He wants to be left alone to pursue his work and the pleasures of his bed, home, and table. If you give him these things, he is not inclined to argue overmuch about the means required to deliver them.”

I can only assume that is why our various elected representatives have not been so besieged with mail, emails, phone calls, and personal visits at home and in Washington that they cannot do anything but repeal the PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act, the various martial law sections that have brought us to this pass. We obviously have a one-percent that is wealthy enough for monarchy. We apparently are selfish and extravagant enough to have problems with republican-democracy. Are we still too wise for despotism? I hope so. Have you called your senator today?

Barbara Fitzpatrick is the Washing- ton County Justice of the Peace serving District 8. She lives in Fayetteville and is a Democrat.

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