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My fellow Romans, welcome to the Charlie-seum

March 7, 2011

Come one, come all and see the demise of Charlie Sheen.  Look how the great celebrity falls!  Gaze 24/7 on every channel from coast to coast!  Watch as he parades his porn star beauties before the crowds.  See his children torn asunder.  Be his one millionth follower on Twitter!  Ah, it is good for the masses to be entertained.

It is even better for the ruling elites to have the spectacle distract the citizenry from the continued decline of the empire.  Otherwise they might turn their gaze toward the continued high unemployment rate, the anemic growth of the economy, the unprecedented debt, and the seemingly unstoppable churn of the Federal Reserve’s printing presses.

Too depressing?  Yes, sometimes the burden of being free citizens is great.  I sometimes feel that it would be so much easier if we didn’t have all these choices and responsibilities.  I mean, my goodness, just look at the cereal aisle in the grocery store.  Do we really need all those different brands?   How about the cars we drive?  Do we really need all those colors and types?  SUV’s, vans, sports cars, trucks, and compacts.  Why not just a few environmentally friendly electric cars in red, yellow, or green?

And all those protests around the country and even the globe.  Can’t we just get along?  Why do we have to work so hard at finding good people and then getting them elected to public office?  It has become a continuous campaign–federal elections, state elections, counties, cities and towns.  Couldn’t we just consolidate those?  Why do we need that many people running everything?  It seems like it would be more efficient to be, as Thomas Freidman opines, “China for a day.”  Just elect a few smart people and let them run it all.  I don’t want to be burdened with the details.  How tiring.

It is exhausting–freedom and liberty can be that way.  That is why in the course of human history it is so rare and short lived.  An anecdote ascribed to Benjamin Franklin goes, “A lady asked Dr. Franklin, ‘Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy?’ ‘A republic,’ replied the Doctor, ‘if you can keep it.’” This sentiment permeated many of the Founding Fathers’ writings.  Thomas Jefferson wrote that, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”  George Washington stated, “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”

This small sampling belies the Founders’ perspective on the tentative nature of the American form of government.   Abraham Lincoln reiterated this sentiment when he stated, “If destruction be our lot, we ourselves must be its author and finisher.  As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”  In only the last century, we have witnessed the rise and fall of powerful governments in the form of Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, and Communist Russia, along with the fall of lesser dictators and despots–most recently throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East.

And so my fellow citizens, it is up to us.  Will we allow powerful and wealthy elites, union leaders, community organizers, and a plethora of agitators who despise the American way of life to rise up and once again lead us into the norm of history, where decisions are made for us and choices are few?  Or will we dare to reinvigorate the tempestuous sea of liberty that Jefferson and his fellow compatriots braved, not knowing what the outcome would be?

We are better than this.  We are better than taking pleasure in watching a man self-destruct on national television.   We are better than throwing tantrums and staging sleep-ins when legislation doesn’t go our way.  We are better than running like children from our sworn duty.  Because we are the American people.  Long live the Republic.

Copyright 2011 Julie Schmidt.

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