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The once-great Democratic Party

By Mark Alexander
web posted October 27, 2008

Thomas Jefferson wrote, "The government is best which governs least," and that sentiment was thematic in all of his writing about the role of government. So what happened to the Party of Jefferson, the once-great Democratic Party, the champion of limited government?

Jefferson, who authored our Declaration of Independence, led the Anti-Federalist movement against the ratification of the Constitution, because he feared that those elected to lead our nation would forgo their higher calling to "support and defend the Constitution," and become pawns for special interests, using those constituencies to perpetuate their office and further centralize government power.

Nowhere was he more concerned about this degradation of public integrity than in regard to the judiciary. Jefferson feared it would become the "despotic branch,", undermining and altering the proposed constitution by judicial diktat rather than its prescribed method.

Jefferson's opponent, James Madison, arguing for ratification of our Constitution, which he authored, believed that individual and states' rights would endure: "Ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments... would be signals of general alarm... But what degree of madness could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity." (Federalist No. 46)

By 1792, however, Madison himself had joined his fellow Virginian, Jefferson, in opposition to the Federalist Party.

Jefferson's intellect and his insights into the nature of man were astounding, so much so that 170 years later another famous Democrat, John F. Kennedy, welcomed the 49 Nobel Prize recipients to the White House saying, "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House—with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

Jefferson's concerns about the degraded integrity of public men have never been clearer than in the current presidential cycle. At no point in history has the differential in "Presidential Character" between the two leading candidates been more clear.

But this election is much more than a referendum on the two candidates, John Sidney McCain and Barack Hussein Obama; it is a referendum on the ability of a majority of Americans voters to discern between one candidate who possesses the presidential character and integrity of a statesman, and one who does not.

In fact, Obama could not even qualify for a basic security clearance if he was applying for a government job because of his close association with unrepentant terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. These "useful idiots," apologists for socialist political and economic agendas, used their radical celebrity to launch Barack Obama's political career and are his mentors to this day.

No issue is more pressing in this election cycle than the one that concerned Jefferson most—that of the "Despotic Branch."

Consider this: Five Supreme Court justices will be over 70 years of age in the first year of the next presidential term. Two of them, the most liberal, will be 76 and 89. The next president will thus determine whether the Supreme Court will abide by leftist ideology, or by their oath to support and defend our Constitution. It's no exaggeration to say that the future of our nation hangs in the balance.

If we are not a nation governed by a firm Constitution of laws, but a "Living Constitution," which, as Jefferson noted, would be a "mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please," then we are a nation of men.

Conservatives and liberals can argue various policy points ad nauseum, but the real question is this: Are we a nation of laws or a nation of men? The terminus of nations that are governed by men rather than laws has, for the entirety of recorded history, been tyranny. In the last century alone, the plight of hundreds of millions under dictators such as Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Saddam and, who would be next...

Jefferson understood this, as once did his Democratic Party.

A colleague recently sent me a parody on why we should elect Democrats: "I think the government will do a better job of spending my money than I could. When we pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq, I know the Islamic terrorists will stop trying to kill us. I believe people who can't tell us if it will rain in two or three days can now tell us the polar ice caps will disappear in a century if we don't comply with Orwellian government economic oversight. English has no place being the official language in America. I'd rather pay $4 for a gallon of gas than allow drilling for oil off the coasts of America or in that vast Alaskan wasteland, ANWR. ‘Big Oil's' five-percent profit on a gallon of gas is obscene, but the government tax of 18 to 35 percent on the same gallon of gas is just fine."

The parody continues: "I believe businesses in America should not be allowed to make profit—it should be confiscated by the government so politicians and bureaucrats can redistribute that profit as they see fit. I believe guns cause crimes and murder, not the sociopaths using them, and, thus, should be confiscated. Besides, when someone threatens my family, I know the government can respond faster with a call to 911 than I can with a gun in my hand. It's a right to kill millions of babies while objecting to the death penalty for murderers. I believe five elitist liberal judges should rewrite the Constitution by diktat to suit Leftist agendas that could never pass proper amendment."

This caricature of the Democratic Party would be humorous if it did not, in fact, reflect its actual platform.

In his keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention this year, Virginia Senate candidate Mark Warner described the Republican Party: "It is made up of the Christian Coalition... It is made up of the right-to-lifers... It's made up of the NRA... It is made up of the home schoolers... It's made up of a whole coalition of people that have all sorts of differing views that I think most of us in this room would find threatening to what it means to be an American."

A few decades ago, that list of folks would have been welcome in the Democratic Party, not "threatening to what it means to be an American."

But today, that Party is fundamentally flawed in its platform, and it co-opts voter constituencies who, though they may be good people in general, are fundamentally disabled in their understanding of our nation's founding principles and their civic roles and responsibilities.

The real question is not so much what has happened to the Party of Jefferson, but what has happened to "the people" who now call themselves Democrats?

Obama is not the problem, just its manifestation. The problem is that we are a nation with a collapsing foundation of broken families, where the faith of our founders has been replaced with the real "opiate of the masses," the mass media, and where ignorance has been institutionalized through our "public education apparatchiks."

Perhaps we are a nation where a majority of the electorate now identifies with the dysfunctional pathology of Obama than with the individual character and institutional principles that are the foundation of our Democratic Republic.

The good news is that in my home, and tens of millions like it, we still model for our children the principle of "third person" living: God first, others (including family, neighbors and country) second, and self third. It is our highest ambition for our children that they will invest their lives in service to others, that they will honor the blood and sacrifice of generations of Patriots before them and be steadfast in their determination to defend our Constitution and the liberties it embodies in order to extend freedom to the next generation.

We have not surrendered this political battle, any more than we have surrendered the cultural war in which we are now engaged.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, for posterity, "Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them."

Today, tragically, his once-noble Democratic Party has embraced bondage and servitude. ESR

Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.

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