An Open Letter to the Founding Fathers

An Open Letter to the Founding Fathers March 28, 2018

Dear Founders,

I’m writing to you from 2018. You might be happy to know that the nation you gave birth to has lasted more than 230 years. The wonderful document you crafted as the blueprint for your grand experiment in government is still intact–in fact, in all those years it has only been amended 17 times since the Bill of Rights was added. After weeks of grinding debate and compromise, you emerged from that stuffy room in Philadelphia with a world-changing work. When asked by a woman what kind of government you had created, the oldest member of your ranks, Benjamin Franklin, replied famously, “a republic, madam, if you can keep it.” Well, dear founders, I am here to report that we have kept it, but I wonder if you’d recognize it if you saw it now. The republic you envisioned was a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The first three words of the Constitution say it best–we the people–but I am ashamed to say that our government no longer reflects your vision.

When you met in Philadelphia in 1787, there was not perfect harmony and consensus. You were sharply divided between the ideas of the Federalists and Anti-federalists. There was much debate about how to divide power between the central government and the states. There was debate about how to divide representatives between large and small states. But in the end, you were able to work together to arrive at a compromised hybrid of everyone’s ideas. Part of the reason for that is the fact that there were no established political parties yet. That was the way most of you wanted it. You saw how political parties in other countries could become corrupted and coopted by special interests. Because of your aversion to political parties, you were able to hash out a plan of government that has stood up for more than two centuries. It may surprise you to learn, dear founders, that your Constitution is now the oldest such document on earth, despite the fact that we are still a relatively young nation. But I am reluctant to report that political parties have long since taken a stranglehold upon our republic and created a political climate wherein the creation of anything like the document you crafted in 1787 would be utterly impossible today.

Sadly, dear founders, instead of we the people, special interests now rule your creation.

You went to great lengths to set up a nation that was unbeholden to and unfettered by any religious affiliation. Nothing could be more clear. Nearly to a man, you were unified by this principle. Yet, in my time, there is an entire political party that has bastardized that part of your vision. They have wrested control of the narrative and have convinced millions of conservative Christians that your motives were to create a strongly Christian nation. There are millions of Christians who take this fabricated mandate to the polls with them every time. They vote a straight ticket for their party because they actually believe that to do anything else would be a sin against God. I hope this revelation hasn’t set you to spinning in your graves, dear founders, but I speak the truth.

But that’s not the worst of it.

Those same Christians, most of whom I believe are sincere in their belief that they are doing the will of God–such is the level of their political indoctrination–use their vote for candidates whose party platform does not hold up well with message of Christ under even the most cursory comparative scrutiny.

Many of the politicians conservative Christians support are in favor of actively hunting down and deporting millions of immigrants who, although lacking in the proper documentation, have been here most of their lives as productive, law-abiding, tax-paying Americans. They were brought here as youngsters with no control over, or say in, their plight and have grown up here–many not even aware of their legal status. Now they live in constant fear of being sent off to a place they’ve never known as home. Can you in your wildest dreams, dear founders, imagine Christ supporting such a policy?

Many conservative Christians support candidates who, mostly out of spite for the previous president of a different political party, have aggressive plans to destroy the health care coverage of many millions of Americans, most of whom are among the poorest segment of our society. The irony in this, dear founders, is that many of those who stand to lose health care coverage are among those conservative Christians who were brainwashed into voting for the very people who would strip them of their insurance. Is this a Christ-like plan of action?

Conservative Christians support candidates who, based upon their interpretation of scriptures, actively try to limit the rights of homosexual citizens. While many more progressive Christians strongly disagree with the more conservative ones about whether or not homosexuality is truly a sin, I think you’d most certainly agree, dear founders, that, where the rights of citizens are concerned, it simply makes no difference. You designed the Constitution so that the rights of the minority can’t be superseded by the will of the majority. This simply could not be more clear. Yet, because of the power of special interests, we the people are at risk of losing the reins. The intent of your Constitution, dear founders, is far more loving and Christ-like than the way it is currently being manipulated by the powers-that-be who’ve been entrusted with its execution.

The 2nd Amendment has become a heated battleground. Once again, special interests threaten to eclipse common sense. Dear founders, there is no way you could have envisioned what technology would come up with in the area of killing machines. When you wrote the 2nd Amendment into the Constitution, there was really only one kind of gun. It was certainly deadly, but its power to kill was limited by its capacity. Those single shot weapons, even in the hands of an expert, could only be fired at a rate of 3 to 5 shots in a minute and their realistic effective range was limited to under 100 yards. Today, those guns are called primitive weapons for a good reason. Now, the average citizen has at his disposal weapons that are capable of firing hundreds of shots per minute with accuracy, in the hands of an accomplished marksman, of several hundred yards. As a result, a single shooter has the ability to rain rapid-fire death upon innocent crowds of people. Sadly, dear founders, this has become a common occurrence in modern America. I’m sure you are probably wondering why such weapons as those can’t be better controlled. So are most Americans. The reason gets back to special interests. The National Rifle Association–an organization that began with the best of intentions to protect the rights of sportsmen–has morphed into one of the most powerful and influential political lobbies in the nation. They have absolutely convinced most of their members–many of them conservative Christians, by the way–that even the most minute of concessions towards gun control is an open invitation to tyranny. They use propaganda scare tactics that show historical evidence that implies that nations that have allowed governments to control guns have then turned on their own people. They imply that anyone who proposes any common sense measures to control guns–even those rapid-fire-death-spraying-machines I described above–has the ulterior motive of a total gun ban in mind. In making that outlandish claim, they completely ignore the facts. The overwhelming majority of Americans support the right of individuals to own guns. I fall into that camp myself, dear founders, as I own multiple guns. But I don’t own any of the rapid-fire-death-spraying variety. I don’t think I should have access to one of those–nor do I think any private citizen should. That’s really all most reasonable people are saying. The fact is, dear founders, we have recent legal precedent to show that the kinds of common sense measures many are calling for can be at least somewhat effective while posing no threat to the 2nd Amendment. From 1994 to 2004, there was a ban on rapid-fire-death-spraying-machines. For those 10 years, mass shootings went down. When the Republican-led government allowed that ban to expire in 2004, the number of mass shootings began to rise sharply again.

Dear founders, I hope I am not depressing you too badly. I don’t want you to get the impression that we are headed hopelessly toward ruin. In fact, I also bring you good tidings. There suddenly seems to be a great deal of hope on the horizon. Sparked partly by an awful recent school shooting in Florida, our nation’s youth have begun to stir. For the first time in their young lives, they are becoming politically aware. This had already begun with the election of our current president in 2016. I’m going to spare you the details about him, dear founders, you likely wouldn’t believe me anyway if I did lay out the facts about him. Suffice to say, the whole thing is beyond bizarre. Young Americans were awakened by that election. They sensed that our nation was heading in a direction they didn’t want it to go–that they were about to inherit one whale of a mess. Thus paying much closer attention, the tragedy in Florida gave the youngsters a much more focused cause. Dear founders, you’d be mighty proud of our young people right now. They are mobilizing, they are marching, they are speaking out–and the NRA and the conservative Christians are freaking out. It is a beautiful sight to behold! I’ve never seen so much fear and loathing coming from the political right. There are more than 4 million brand new voters on the horizon. They have already begun to stand up for their futures and, soon, they will speak loudest when they go to the polls to vote.

So, dear founders, I began this letter questioning whether you’d even recognize us if you could come back to visit your creation today. There are many things about what we’ve made of it that would make you cringe but, I think you’d be encouraged by those hordes of youth mobilizing on the horizon. One of the brightest of your number, Thomas Jefferson, once said that a little rebellion now and then is a good and necessary thing. He was referencing the French Revolution at the time, but I think you all would enjoy a front row seat for the revolution we are about to witness here in my time.

I know that I’m certainly looking forward to it.

 

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