Be thankful for our system of government
This time of year it is traditional for we Americans to recognize and celebrate things for which we are thankful. As most school children now know, this tradition was started by President Lincoln following the War of 1812, in celebration of our country’s defeat of the Spanish Armada.
This year, I’m sure we can agree that the No. 1 thing to be thankful about is the election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency. Sure, there’s the occasional malcontents trying to burn down their own city or a multimillionaire entertainer complaining about the unfairness of a society which made him rich in an occupation that in simpler times would have earned him a flagon of ale and the right to sleep in the barn for a good song or story.
What made the election so helpful was how it revealed, to an even greater extent, what most of those in the privileged media and government think about people who don’t make a living pontificating about other people’s achievements or writing regulations but instead are stuck in less important occupations — like growing food and making things.
It is uncomfortable to find that everyone who has the right to vote isn’t burdened with the care of their powdered wigs and snuff boxes or constantly under pressure to come up with some new witticism to banter about in one’s clique at the salon.
This isn’t to say those folks haven’t tried to overcome the influence of voting bumpkins. In fact, some cities seem to have excellent programs of surrogate voting for those who may have forgotten to cast their own ballot or found themselves dead before the election.
It’s also been unnerving for such characters to realize that the actions of the federal government or the election of national figures are somehow influenced by areas they had previously assumed were simply the names of bad neighborhoods but apparently have their own legislatures and organizations, unnecessarily and redundantly pretending to be like the real government in Washington D.C.
It’s because of this that I’m also thankful again this year for the framers of our Constitution and the Electoral College which in this election has done exactly what it’s supposed to do by expressing the will of the people through the fundamental structure of the country — the states.
It seems many have forgotten, as one writer recently observed, that the states created the federal government and not the other way around. The federal government is a result of an agreement between the states to transfer some portion of their sovereignty to another body for efficiency and to promote unity.
These are almost the same reasons that citizens allow governments to act on their behalf and exercise rights that by nature belong to the individual.
It’s also worthy of note that in discussing the Electoral College and how it has somehow maliciously placed Donald Trump as president-elect, when he may not have carried the popular vote of a combination of all of the states, the assumption is made that if it did not exist, the results of the popular vote across the states would have been the same.
This is such a clear error. It’s hard to imagine it being seriously made. If candidates were not in the business of attempting to win states by campaigning to carry their specific populations, they would campaign very differently and conservative voters in heavily populated states with a liberal majority would acquire quite a bit of weight.
While we would see a drop in our own position, voters in Northern California, upper New York State, two-thirds of Virginia and half of Connecticut would probably start going to the polls in greater numbers.
What we then should be thankful for is an election season that showed us that our framers’ system continues to work and that we are always fighting the same battle they started — against some faraway power that seeks to overreach into our liberty, use our resources and give little credence to our wishes.
Our founders’ great gift was the construction of a system that creates an arena for us to peacefully resolve these conflicts and still remain united.
For that, we should be truly thankful.