As a young person just beginning to participate in our political system, I am appalled at what I see. Our government engages in unjustified and illegal wars, constantly violates our civil liberties, and spends us deeper and deeper into debt. At first it is quite difficult to accept that these things are really happening. After all, this is America, we are free and prosperous, and we pride ourselves on the liberties we enjoy. Nonetheless, our country is changing for the worse, and watching such changes take place in my lifetime leads me to believe that the only remedy is to return to a constitutional form of government. When I say constitutional government I mean a government whose authority is limited to the letter of the Constitution. I believe that first allowing our government to stray from these original boundaries has put us in our present dilemma.
Even though our current situation is unsatisfactory, it wasn’t always this way. We were once a Constitutional Republic in which individual liberty was protected and the rule of law was respected. Our government was merely an extension of our thoughts and beliefs because we created it to serve us. Our citizens once furiously defended this political philosophy because they understood how valuable it was. They had just fought through a violent revolution in order to gain their freedom from an oppressive power, and they knew from world history that the only way free societies last is under the watchful eye of the People.
Unfortunately, we have lost that watchful eye. I believe we have so badly lost it because of our apathy as a country. It’s understandable why it has happened. We’re incredibly wealthy and we have the best of everything at our fingertips. Our lives are very comfortable and because they are, it’s very easy to forget why what we have is so valuable. We have learned to enjoy the benefits of a free society, but we have failed to develop an appreciation for why we enjoy those benefits.
Thomas Jefferson said, ‘‘History has informed us that bodies of men as well as individuals are susceptible of the spirit of tyranny.” I believe this is exactly what is happening in America. Through our apathy, we are becoming susceptible to tyranny, and if we don’t change we may loose our liberties forever. I believe the only way to restore the Constitution is to reverse this trend of apathy in America. We can no longer look at voting as optional, we can’t ignore our leaders as they circumvent the law, and we can’t remain unaccountable any longer for what goes on in our country. We need to become careful students of history just as our founders were and develop an appreciation for how valuable our freedoms really are.
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