The voices of America


It wasn’t the smartest idea in the world, but the Continental Congress was full of reckless men:  let’s call out the King as “unjust to be the ruler of a free people.” We’ll do it in writing, too!

Imagine the volume of arguments back in the Philadelphia State House. Imagine those delegates of varying background, education and beliefs. Consider the weight of their words. We sometimes forget how our country really works:  we run on the power of voice.

There is never a single voice in America, of course. If you believed that a single schmuck is responsible for our governance, you’d be wrong. We rely on a massive body of elected and appointed people. . . many minds and many voices. Issues are freely debated in chambers. Some legislation moves fast in channels while other work drops dead on the floor. To complicate things, our policies are consistently argued in an all-you-can-eat media buffet:  a senior legislator from Virginia locks horns with a junior legislator from Nebraska after a few tweets. The Speaker of the House throws a soundbite on CNN and gets repulsed by his opponents on NBC. The Chief Executive may have his own pulpit, but it’s bolted to the floor of a full-time press room.

Excluding cameras and high-speed bandwidth, things were likely the same in the early Greek city-states. No single initiative was free of influence from elders, merchants, generals, councilors, and advisers. Everyone had their input. This was a natural form of checks and balances. After all, the citizens of a city-state were all in the same boat. They had to deal with problems that Americans face today:  disease, poverty, the improvement of infrastructure, education, the sale of goods, civil laws, and foreign threats.

We put our trust in this body of free thinkers, a multitude of voices, and push for solutions. In time, the multitude becomes a single voice with a single purpose. It was a pattern of freewill demonstrated by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. This is how we work. And it is worth fighting for, because the alternative is unthinkable.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Charlie McAlpine says:

    our legislators should be slapped silly for grinding to a stop pretty much all bills for consideration. They are not working for the American people. They are influenced by greed and coruption. The War on Drugs has given us Fast & Furious. One in every ten adult men are imprisioned. How are they cared for at these private prisons you ask? Well the guards make less and have less health care benifits. The jobs that the inmates are doing takes away jobs from the public. Why pay ten dollars an hour when you can pay an inmate sixty cents a day. J.P Morgan has raised the expected loss from two billion to a much higher number from doing the same credit default swaps that created the bank bailouts a few years ago. I am ranting but it feels like my voice is being heard.

    1. Your voice is definitely heard here! People have a right to critique their elected officials. Elected officials should pay close attention to public input. What’s needed in the next decade is a stronger relationship between citizens and their federal government, where we have a more active role in monitoring national progress. The question is, how can we accomplish this with every age group?

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