On May 1st 2013, Obama proclaimed this day to be National Loyalty Day. But Obama is not a King, nor should he be regarded as one.
We as a people owe our allegiance to: first, the community where we live; second, to our State; and lastly, the Constitution. Admittedly, this springs from the trials of the early founders of our country. They were faced with far greater difficulties regarding the work needing to be done, the difficulties in transportation and the distances involved considering the the time and hardships encountered in covering those distances. This sequence of loyalty also caused some of the impetus for starting the revolutionary war.
How could a King at such a distance rule over subjects he had no knowledge of, or have any regard for how his rulings would impact those who had to live under them? The distance from London to New York is approximately 3400 miles. It took weeks and often (considering weather and hardships) possibly months to travel that distance. The King had never lived or even visited the land that he ruled and had certainly never experienced the hardships of the land far away.
So, the people of the land felt loyalty first to their community, then to their colony, and only lastly to their King and country. The people had no representation in the court of the King or in the Parliament that served him, so hence the cry of “No Taxation without Representation”.
But Obama is not a King; he has no divine claim to such a throne as King George III could claim. Yet, in many respects, we face some of the same dilemmas today. The distance from New York to Los Angeles is approximately 2800 miles, a scarce 600 miles less than the distance from London to New York. Yet these cities are worlds apart, just as the cities then were worlds apart. Many will say that Obama has visited all of the 50 States (or as he once said all 57). But has he really visited, or just stopped through while in a motorcade? Has he experienced any of the hardships of the citizens in the diverse portions of the country? From my own point of view, he has experienced very little. Yet he and his appointed administration reign ostensibly supreme. No, I say we are back at square one, Taxation without Representation.
But, you attempt to correct me, we have elected representatives in both the House and the Senate. But do we really? They are, by effect of the amount of money required, pert of the ruling elite. In order to be elected to the House, the typical campaign (according to some estimates) costs upwards of $1.5 million, perhaps as much as $10.5 million to be elected to the Senate. I understand that much of this money is raised by Political Action Committees and even more from corporations, and that is the problem. Does anyone really believe these groups act with any altruism? No, they act in the interest of those who created them or those corporations that benefit from the election of their chosen ones.
The founders created a different system. A system by which as people of a State, they would be represented by their Senators, elected by their state legislators who are closer to their people and responsible to them more readily. The progressives throughout the 19th century sought to overturn this system. Finally, only when William Jennings Bryan was the Secretary of state did they succeed. The 17th amendment was formally adopted in 1913, supposedly to better represent the will of the people. But, with the influence of corporate and political action committees, we again find that it is a game of money, power, and influence.
The Senators by and large owe no loyalty to their states but only to their political masters who control the money. They no longer act under the direction of their home legislatures or Governors, I doubt that John McCain even consults with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, to list but one example. While I hold his service in the US Military with high regard, at times it has given me the impression he holds himself above criticism as a result of what he suffered. I have watched his so-called “town hall meetings” and seen his contempt of those who disagree with him. I also understand that his family ties go all the way back to the revolution, which to me should give extra importance to the will of the people. Yet, he has repeatedly scorned others who invoke the constitution, most recently calling them “Wacko Birds”.
For me, it is time to return to representation of the states in the Senate. Time for “The Man Who Would Be King” to remember that he is not and to take advice from the states, the original founders of the Republic.
Photo credit: terrellaftermath