Paraphrasing, in today’s language, John Adam’s letter to the Officers of the First Brigade, Third Division, of the Militia of Massachusetts.
Quincy, October 11, 1798.
“While our country remains untainted with the principles and manners, which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the World, while it continues sincere and incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the destination assigned to us by Providence. But, should America become capable of deception towards one another and towards foreign nations, assuming the language of justice and moderation, while practicing inequity and extravagance; And displaying in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candor, frankness and sincerity, while drowning in corruption and the violent seizure and destruction of private property, this Country will be the most miserable habitation in the World. If we have no Government capable of restricting human passions unbridled by morality and religion, avarice, ambition, lies, corruption, and revenge would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a fishing net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
True today as it was then. But, almost two and a quarter centuries later, we are living the consequences of our failing to heed that warning. Our Constitution was indeed, meant for a moral and God-fearing people, capable of the self-restrain necessary to contain the dark forces within human nature. The vast majority of politicians do not posses that restrain. Too many, have spent too many years in office, manipulating the system they have established, to enrich themselves. The smart ones know how to hide that wealth in a variety of schemes that would impress even the Mafia families of old.
But, we, the American people, are at fault too. The Constitution also required an engaged citizenry knowledgeable in the matters of the day, from the economy to world events. A citizenry, critical and unforgiving, of their elected representatives. But we have failed. Too many Americans today, are oblivious to the forces that shape their lives. We are now generationally lost in technologies used to distract, manipulate, and disrupt our critical thinking abilities. The truth is already relative to our misinformed perspectives. In another generation, the truth will be whatever the powers that be, say it is. The 2020 election will be pivotal in either slowing the decay of our Republic as founded and intended to exist, or continuing as a mere caricature of its former glory until no semblance of itself remains. Those are the only two choices this November and your vote will determine which becomes reality. At least, for now.