Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lessons from the Camelot Compound

If we can learn anything from Senator Kennedy and the Kennedy family at large it is that we need term limits for Senators, for Congressman and perhaps even Justices from the Supreme Court on down. Senator Ted Kennedy enjoyed his life in politics, and he should not have been allowed to do so because he should not have been allowed to make politics a matter of his whole life. Serving in political office, particularly national office should not be a career because first, last and otherwise these individuals are performing a public service. A life in politics means running the risk of losing your private persona and as free men and women we can only be governed by other free and otherwise private citizens who relinquish their private lives on a temporary basis. A government for the people, our government is by the people and of the people and not by a professional ruling class different from the rest of us and therefore detached from us.

I honestly don't believe our Founders envisioned this type of service becoming a lifelong calling. To the contrary. Most returned to private life after terms of service and before their deaths. George Washington declined the offer to be made President for Life because that would have been too much like becoming a King and this is exactly what they sacrificed blood and treasure to defeat in our Revolutionary War. They were private citizens first and performed their various public duties out of necessity, out of a sense of duty. Their country needed them so they served but with the other prerequisite that they were common citizens and not some quasi-royalty.

Perhaps our Founders' one miscalculation was that their progeny, these future generations of Americans would read and fully comprehend the core values, the true meanings, the haecceity of this most essential document: The Constitution - the one that grants average citizens temporary authority over their fellow citizens. The Founders perhaps expected future leaders to understand that the uniqueness of America's system of government was the temporary and fleeting nature of the power bestowed upon it's rulers.

Unfortunately, in our time the professional political class, which is a distinct subset of all our politicians, have elevated themselves above common citizenship. We bear witness to this in their arrogant responses during the Health Care Rationing debate in the town hall meeting. This is why they find angry citizens to be an affront to their position, their title and their authority; albeit a temporary authority per the Constitution. This professional political class has subverted aspects of our democratic system to allow themselves, first and foremost to maintain power. Their sense of public service is clearly becoming secondary to their other goal of staying in office.

The Kennedy family has formed a dynasty in American politics and is probably the best example, a symbol of what is wrong with our government and how these more recent generations of leaders have misinterpreted the self-government instruction manual, a.k.a. The Constitution, assuming they've even read it.

The tragic story of Camelot is that the Kingdom ultimately fell and the Round Table was disbanded when the King perished. There is no epilogue in any version of this tale that I've read which speaks of Arthur or Guinevere's legacy beyond mere memory of their kingdom and their finite dominion over it. The other key element of the story is that it is largely myth.

I want our real, non-mythical country to outlast all of its current politicians, to outlast me and all of its current citizens in the same fashion it has outlasted all of our antecedents and that's why granting power to any one of us over the rest even for the span of a mortal life is too long.

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