America is Great —– Because America is Good!!

By  A. True Ott, PhD, June 1, 2010

The famous French statesman and historian Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) traveled widely through America in the year 1832.  Following his tour of America, he wrote extensively about what he saw and experienced here. Newspapers and writers across the continent printed articles about his written observations – and he developed quite a loyal following in the “American Republic” for decades.

Tocqueville wrote and lectured until his death in 1859 that “America is great, because America is good” – and warned: “when America ceases to be good, her greatness will dissolve as well”. He also warned repeatedly that the greatest danger to America was no external enemy; but would come from within, when “the voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.”   One of his most often repeated quotes was this related truth: “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money”.

Tocqueville was right in 1832, and this truth is more than ever relevant today. This is one of the biggest problems plaguing America in the modern era — both state and federal “government” officials are giving themselves (and their staff members) “generous gifts from the public treasury” while “bribing the public with the public’s money” to ensure the silence of the lambs.  Tocqueville’s dire warnings have been forgotten, and America is indeed ailing – in fact, it may well be on its death-bed.

EXAMPLES OF “GENEROUS GIFTS FROM THE PUBLIC TREASURY”

Question:  If you owned and built a small business, what success level would you prefer if given a choice – a $10-million-dollar-a-year taxable-income stream guaranteed for at least 4 years with zero perquisites (aka “perks”), or would you rather choose a meager $400,000 a year personal salary, complete with a no-request-denied, blank-check expense account that is completely non-taxable, a fully-paid allowance for unlimited “staff and employees” to build your business name worldwide, unlimited world-wide travel with the world’s best private jets and helicopters at your disposal, yachts, personal bodyguards and spy satellites at your fingertips, the world’s best chefs and waiters catering to your every need – in other words, a non-taxable PERK PACKAGE worth over $16 Billion a year that continues well after your viable term of “business” is concluded??   This, dear reader, is a no-brainer!!  Give me the measly $400 grand a year and the virtually unlimited perks!!!   Are these “presidential perks” “Generous Gifts from the Public Treasury??”  INDEED!!!

Keep in mind that these “generous gifts” are not exclusive to the sitting president.  They also extend to the president’s “cabinet”, “czars” and members of Congress to a lesser degree.  For instance, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has a private jet at her disposal to commute from Washington to California – as many as three times a week.  Senators and Members of Congress also take advantage of similar “perquisites” that are worth many millions annually.

So, what’s the problem with this, you may ask?  Why did Alexis de Tocqueville predict such activity would eventually destroy the American Republic?  It’s a very simple concept really.  First of all, the word “republic” is derived from the Latin phrase res publica, which can be translated as “a public affair”.   Thus, an honest and true “republic” is never ruled by monarchs, kings, queens, or landed gentry such as a duke or lord.   No, a REPUBLIC is ruled by ordinary citizens that reflect the AVERAGE, or MEDIAN WAGE, INCOME, and LIFESTYLE of the voters who elected them to office – (suffrage.)  You see, once elected officials begin giving themselves such lavish “generous gifts” (perks) – they quickly elevate their status to that of a “ruling monarch” – and soon develop the mindset of a KINGLY MASTER over the people, instead of being an equal laborer honestly working for the common welfare of all.

In a truly free “Republic” – the wages, expense accounts, and “perks” should be based on middle-American values, not on the top 10 “Fortune 500” elitist corporate execs.  If Nancy Pelosi needs to be home in California – she hops aboard the red-eye public commuter plane, and flies coach – not 1st class. Maybe, just maybe, she could then listen and communicate with the average citizen whom she is paid so highly to represent.  Ditto with every other Senator and Congressperson.

Of course, nobody expects a sitting president to fly commuter flights, nor place his life in jeopardy by ditching the secret service and wandering city streets alone.  It would be amazingly refreshing, however, to occasionally see the “Prez” descend from his “ivory tower” and invest some quality time in small American towns in non-election years; perhaps occasionally spending the night in a Motel 6 after a night of bowling and eating at Denny’s and talking with the crowd about their hopes and fears while leaving a generous tip for those who waited on you.

America was GREAT, because America was once GOOD — it’s time for real change that all America can believe in – a return to integrity and American values of hard work and honest compensation – not free perquisites that elevate the elected ones to kingship or worse yet, a “godhood celebrity” status.  Remember – politics means poli (many) tics (blood-sucking insects) while statesmanship means honoring the human condition and supporting sovereignty of the nation-state above all else.  We need to elect statesmen, not out-of-touch, pandering politicians!

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