What does the following mean to you?
“It has been said that the people of this country will decide the important question of whether societies can establish a good government by careful thought and choice.”
If I had to guess probably not much, it’s just a bunch of words, and to have an understanding of what it means context, is not only vital but necessary. So if you’re wondering why I’ve brought it up great because for the moment at least, I have your attention. Just stay with me a bit longer as I lay out my reasons for asking you about the quote.
If you’ve surmised the statement is about the importance of good governance, you’re partially right. It is part of Federalist One. Hamilton is advocating for the acceptance of the Constitution. He understood the difficulty facing citizens of a newly formed country. Change is never easy. Convincing people to give up something they were comfortable with – The Articles of Confederation – with the Constitution, which outlines three separate but equal branches of government that placed power in a central location was a big ask.
Hamilton also understood that those in power would resist this change and would try to exert their influence to prevent it, he writes; “Some will resist any change that might diminish the power and benefits of their current State offices. The perverted ambition of others will see potential self-aggrandizement within a country in disarray.”
Hamilton thought if he provided a logical argument for the acceptance of the Constitution, by the citizenry, through careful thought and choice would conclude this new document offered a more efficient form of governance. Hamilton trusted they would make the correct decision. Fortunately, history proved him right.
Hamilton, along with Madison and John Jay, wrote 85 well-constructed documents we know as The Federalist Papers arguing for the constitution ratification. Citizens read, debated commented verbally, and in written form on the merits of having a constitution. Not all were in favor of approval; in fact, further on in Federalist One, Hamilton pens; “And dangerous ambition more often lurks behind specious masks of zeal for the rights of the people than under the zeal for a firm and efficient government.”
Knowing they had opposition, Hamilton, Madison, and Jay continually and logically presented their case. Interestingly, people took the time to read these papers. They engaged in informed debate, had a deep interest in the formation of their government. They asked questions and sought out answers, and as Hamilton hoped, the citizens did make a careful and thoughtful choice.
So why the focus on Federalist One, what does it have to do with anything? A fair question with a complicated answer that involves Donald Trump, The Muller Report, Moral Leadership, we the Citizen, and our ability our failure do what the people did in 1788 when they read Hamilton’s words, careful thought, and choice.
For the past two years, we have witnessed Donald J.Trump behaving in a manner Hamilton described as the perverted ambition of others. Many are, stunned and his utter disregard for the Constitution and openly wonder how he was elected, and why those who condemned him are now rabid supporters. Baffled members of his party are not holding him to a higher standard as they did his predecessor. Then it came to me. Trump is the Chimera we have created.
Due to our forgoing Hamilton’s advice to use careful thought and choice, basically in all things political, many equivocated by surrendering our responsibility of demanding that those who want to represent us, be of good character and high moral standard, which provides us with the product of our neglect and laziness Donald J. Trump. An ethically challenged man, who lacks moral character let along with any sense of ethical leadership. He indeed is our Chimera.
Hamilton warned this could happen, with these words, “History teaches us that of the men who have overturned the liberties of republics, most began their career by proclaiming their devotion to the people. They gain position by arousing people’s prejudices and end as tyrants.”
He along, with his Republican jackanapes are rendering asunder the fundamental principles of the Constitution taking the country down a path from which recovery may be impossible.
I will explain in my next post how Trump is our Chimera a mythical hideous monster of our making.