“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.”
From the Declaration of Independence – July 4, 1776.
The genius of our founding fathers and its most gifted author put together the foundations of the grand vision of democracy embodied in essential values of our republic. There were no guarantees it would be successful. It would require the overthrow of the British monarchy and a threat to all monarchies and despots of the known world. This form of government, a government founded by common men and women who would receive their governing authority from the governed was unheard of at the time. Yet through countless trials and tribulations, conflicts both foreign and domestic, civil rights denied, and justice affirmed, the nation still stands some 240 years later.
Jefferson felt that every generation, we the people, would advance and evolve towards that “more perfect union.” That has been the hope of each generation for the next. In the main that has been the experience of the American people and the nation. Jefferson also thought that every few decades the people needed to shake up the government of the people. Corruption, the undue interests of “financial institutions and corporations” , deceit and deception for personal or political gain, and activities that undermined the well-being of the nation by the people’s representatives were to be expected and needed to be rooted out. For as Jefferson cautioned “the people are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty, but the only security of all is in a free press, the force of public opinion cannot be resisted, when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary to keep the waters pure.” It is clear to me that time has come again. There is only one way to accomplish that given the current political climate in Washington. We the people must take back our government.
The recent elections in Virginia, Alabama, and New Jersey have shown us the way to make this happen. The resistance to this Congress and the Trump administration must go forward with a new agenda. A new agenda not only of progressive Democrats but also moderate Republicans, Independents and those who claim no particular political affiliation. A new coalition of the center-left. A true movement of people from the bottom up not the top down. A grass-roots revolution envisioned by Jefferson those many years ago.
Key to this resistance and revolution is a New Agenda of the People. Elements of this new agenda must be more than lip service. Trite sound bites with no specifics or passion will fall on deaf ears. If you are a person working for or a candidate seeking a seat in the Congress of the United States, a Governorship, or a member of a state legislature, the following constituencies you must engage with in a meaningful way. Over the next two weeks I will suggest what are the meaningful ways that candidates and their supporters can engage with Millennials, Women, Persons of Color, Veterans, Blue Collar Men and Women, Senior Citizens, and other important groups. The time to be a real patriot is now!