By Richard Schwahn
First off, I am no academic! I’m what used to be known as an edifier, or a person who learns (usually from hard knocks) and then explains to others. In the “old days” many preachers were known as edifiers.
I describe myself as a “Student, Edifier, and Citizen!” First, I am a student, because I believe that when someone stops learning, they begin to die (both academically and physically). Next, I’m an edifier. If one does not share ones knowledge with his fellow man what good can become of his knowledge? Lastly, but certainly not least, I’m a Citizen – and note the capitol ‘C’ in citizen.
Americans have had it so good for so long that most have forgotten just what power and responsibly belongs to that mighty word!
Being a Citizen is more than watching your mutual funds grow (or melt down as of late), watching football and drinking beer. It’s more than whining about corporate excess, big government or the price of gas.
Being a Citizen is about understanding government and contributing through participation in the political process. It means more than just taking the time to get registered then actually vote. It’s about casting informed votes for candidates.
A Citizen has the power to order the government to do what they wish to be done and when to do it – if, of course the order is exercised in tandem and with Constitutional reason.
In these times of troubled souls and questions concerning our country and leaders, I like to re-visit the words of those who founded this country. Whether the subject is the rights bestowed to us by the “All Mighty” or those rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, it has already been much discussed by our “Founding Fathers,” a term first used by then Senator Warren G. Harding
Concerning today’s “race” to become a “public servant”: in a letter to Tench Coxe, May 21, 1799 Thomas Jefferson writes….”Offices are as acceptable here as elsewhere, and whenever a man has cast a longing eye on them, a rottenness begins in his conduct.” He also states to Baron Von Humboldt…”When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property.” How things have changed but still remain the same!
In his First Inaugural address Jefferson stated “Still one thing more, fellow citizens – a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread that it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”
For those of us concerned about our present position in the world scene we could take solace in Jeffereson’s words of “Whensoever hostile aggressions require a resort to war, we must meet our duty and convince the world that we are just friends and brave enemies”.
Finally a guiding lamp for us involved in the “firearms” debate: “Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day” (a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Du Pont de Nemours 4/24/1816).
Reprinted from the November 2002 issue of GunNews.
Photo by “muffet” from flickr.com.