By Sheryl Devereaux, US Daily Review Contributor
A major issue we face as a nation is our collection of paradigms and how they contribute to preventing a restoration of constitutional government. This occurs because we fail to recognize—or believe—that the images in government that we disdain are painful reflections of ourselves. Modifying paradigms is a bit more difficult than losing a few pounds as a New Year’s resolution.
For instance, Americans claim they don’t want the “good ‘ol boy” in office. They want the “regular Joe”. Yet, when seeking those who are qualified for state or federal offices, they look at those already in elected office. What part of refreshing founding principles is that? The Founders knew that Senators needed to be the more educated of the two houses of Congress. But they also perceived the Representatives as coming specifically from among the people.—both, actually, but Representatives especially. That House was specifically intended to have neighbors representing neighbors. Their close affinity to their own was reason for election every two years—taking turns.
Senators, who were supposed to represent the States, needed higher education, not because they were superior to their fellow Congressional colleagues — but because it was hoped that their additional professional and educational experience would provide the analytical skills needed to decipher the complex needs of a state government. Neither house, however, was specifically created to be filled by those whose qualifications demanded elected office experience. That is an invention of modern day nationalistic philosophy.
Another ready instance: The lion’s share of Americans want government to rein in spending—in particular, debt. Yet, the people have the highest foreclosure rates in history, and a consistently high rate of personal indebtedness. Irrespective of government interference in the mortgage industry that produced the “mortgage bubble” and encouraged bad mortgages, people should know what they can and cannot afford. Common sense is expected. Enticements or none, we cannot point an accusing finger demanding a different paradigm from those that represent us when we, from whence they come, do not follow the same prescription.
Still another example: I recently worked on a grassroots project where multiple committees had specific roles. After a time, I found that a couple of individuals took it upon themselves to hijack the responsibilities of others in order to orchestrate what they wanted in certain areas over that of others. When I questioned why they were not respecting the assignments as given, one of the two answered that they just wanted to make sure the project was successful and ‘things’ got done—“for our country”. I wonder: Exactly what part of this paradigm, built on circumventing others’ duties is different from Obama circumventing the powers and responsibilities assigned to Congress that he usurps through Executive Orders? And what’s worse, putting into place programs that pilfer each person’s opportunity to do for themselves. In both scenarios the paradigm claims to “Save the Country” by robbing opportunities of others through control.
If we Americans truly want the federal government to make the improvements (I cringe to use the word, “change”) in bringing us in square with the intention of the Constitution, we need to be taking a serious look at our own thinking and subsequent behavior.
To that end, then, what can be done to get us back to those original paradigms? We don’t have the luxury of years to restore as it took to distort or Constitution. But for starters, we can look first at ourselves for behaviors we see in government, then change it, rather than justify it.
The most profound actions we can take are not in the realm of the government at all—though part of American politics. American paradigms mean looking out for the needs of neighbors and family, so the government has no input there. Americans should study their Constitution, “for our country,” then pass it along, so the government cannot fool us about its role. Fellow citizens should look for ways and means to help another build their abilities, not take their opportunities from them. Indeed, the most powerful paradigm shift is in accepting that American government is living in a way that is mutually beneficial, then taking turns representing each other.
I suppose this whole issue of paradigm change could best be summed up in the late Michael Jackson’s tune, “Man in the Mirror” and Disney’s wicked queen and her magical mirror in Snow White: Both illustrate the very paradigm lacking in most of us, which is needed to truly improve our government: In America, government is a mirror image of and truth teller about oneself, whether we like it or not. Changing this is truly a New Year’s challenge worth undertaking.
Sheryl Devereaux is a prolific writer and researcher, speaker, and radio commentator on the Constitution and public policy. You can listen to her show, Foundation of a Nation on allfiredupradio.net or find her on facebook, and on twitter @sheryldevereaux.