Donald G. Lee
Reading the editorial in February's Review ("Double-Dealing Healthcare Reform") is discouraging. It lays out our situation clearly, but does not answer the question -- why do the American people permit this chicanery by Congress?
I must conclude that the answer is that we have become lazy and corrupt. Lazy in every sense of the word. We are intellectually lazy because we are not willing to do the work to understand the activities of our elected representatives, and also not willing to condemn them when they won't even read the 2000-page bills they pass. We are otherwise lazy when we think it normal to seize from our fellow citizens important goods and services (healthcare) that we have not ourselves earned.
We are corrupt because we also no longer hold true to any moral compass that might lead us to condemn our fellows, ourselves, or our leaders when they betray our trust and sell us out for political gain. Instead, condemnation itself is the perceived evil, and is studiously avoided. Without that moral compass, we cannot even find fault with the most blatant of quid pro quo "kickbacks." We call it "politics."
I fear that the real reason we permit our legislators to behave like corrupt small-time gangsters is that we are corrupt ourselves, having abandoned many basic ideas about honor and discipline. Excuses have replaced accountability.
Note this story (http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/02/12/georgia.soldier.mom)
I am reminded of two thoughts. One, that our democratic system of elections is an efficient and effective reflection of the people -- of their values and character. Two, of a quote from John Adams in a 1798 address to the militia of Massachusetts:
We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.
If we are to restore limited constitutional government, it will not be done by changing the government, but will come about by restoring the virtue and character of the American people. Only when the people reclaim their freedoms, shoulder their own responsibilities, and insist that others do the same will our limited government be restored.
Our American Experiment is about self-government. If the government is forced to take control from the people to save them, then that experiment has failed. That will not happen on my watch.