So many people are put off by the current state of the country, they’ve taken to public demonstrations in big cities across the land. They started in New York and are calling themselves “Occupy Wall Street.”
Like a page out of history, these demonstrations have the mien of some passionate peasant uprising, laying honorable siege to the oppressive nobleman’s castle.
But here’s the rub: Not even they are sure what they want to achieve.
In reality, more than anything, they just want their movement to gain enough steam so they can force everyone to begin a “dialog.” And they want that dialog to begin yesterday.
It’s intriguing that this kind of mass public effort is taking place in today’s world. Who would have guessed it could happen like this today, in our country, with our problems, and with our citizens. When the uprisings began in the Middle East last Spring, I don’t think there were likely too many who could have predicted that the fateful storm was a category 5 racing towards America.
But that’s what’s happened.
Are you aware, that it was comparative uprisings taking place around 225 years ago in this land that led to the calling of a constitutional convention?
As a matter of record, mass mobs are largely to thank for our strong federal government turning from concept to reality…
In 1783, the Continental Congress was meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Back then, under the Articles of Confederation, government wasn’t too popular. In fact, it was downright disliked. For one thing, there was no way to make self-interested states play nicely with the central government. And the central government wasn’t doing its part by paying promised wages to those who had fought in the war of Independence.
Would you be surprised if I told you that, at the time, Congress’ approval rating was at an all-time low?
Fortunately there was a hero there to save the day No, it wasn’t Thomas Jefferson—he was sitting disinterested, entertaining in the parlors of far off France. Rather, when hundreds of soldiers mobbed Independence Hall, it was Alexander Hamilton who was able to broker a temporary truce. But within days, Congress had to ultimately flee the city and the seat of government.
Ok, this was not Occupy Wall Street of today. But it sure does sound familiar, right?
Or how about a couple of years later, when things were even worse—if that were possible.
In the Winter of 1787 more uprising occurred, this time by armed men, including war veterans. It seems they too were completely disaffected with the manner in which government always seemed to take care of its own interests, at what they perceived to be their expense.
And you want to know something that’s a tad bit eery here?
According to Wikipedia, “Wealthy urban businessman were trying to squeeze” the little guy. At the time, a large majority of Americans distrusted financial institutions and those who ran them. “Commerce” was practically a dirty word.
In Shay’s rebellion, though, cannon were used to dispatch the armed rebels—some of them to their graves. But I think it’s the peaceful-demonstration style that most of us prefer.
Funny how the people who were willing to join Shay’s didn’t necessarily know what they wanted—but they did know what they didn’t want.
Just like today.
And guess what resulted? Hamilton, George Washington, James Madison and others sought for an emergency conference held in Annapolis, Maryland. It was here that they pressed for a long-term solution to the impotencies of the Articles of Confederation. It seems they were deeply fearful of a tyranny of the majority–in other words, mobocracy.
Thus was the constitutional convention of 1787 conceived…
Switching back to today, though, you want to know what’s really interesting about our modern new rebellion in New York City?
Think about it. It’s eclectic. It’s all over the map. It’s almost as if the influences of liberalism and conservatism—even libertarianism—can’t quite coalesce into a concrete direction or goal. But aspects of them all seem to be oozing out at these demonstrations.
Of course there are the ubiquitous voices for redistributing the wealth. But isn’t that more a function of being “Sick of CEOs with their $10 million golden parachutes as they leave corporations that fail to make a profit to go work for another,” as a commenter on one website put it?
Too bad corporate stockholders don’t band together and rise up in the way Occupy Wall Street is trying to do.
But I’ve also read of other sentiments: anger toward the banks (Citibank couldn’t have picked a worse time to increase its checking fees); disaffection with so-called “corruption” and influence-peddling at the highest levels of government and business; anti-media sentiment for pursuing their own agenda at the expense of reporting newsworthy topics. These are but a few among many, many directions being explored.
The only thing the adherents of these movements do seem have in common, in large measure, is simply a complete intolerance for the prospect that the country will continue in the course it has. And this includes the business and government arms of the triumvirate, because both together together wield the power over the “smallholders.”
Some are saying that this movement is a complete new-fangled manifestation—something we’ve never seen before but is here to stay. They try to make the case that it’s born out of a 21st century response to old 20th century business/politics as usual.
I say it’s history repeating itself.
Part of the movement includes an effort to educate and—yes, perhaps even indoctrinate—about what has happened to us, how big finance and government got us there, and what to do about it.
But while I don’t have any problem with this kind of effort (indeed, I applaud it on some levels), I do believe that something else should be prominently taught.
More people should know about the Constitution and its original ideas for governance.
For anyone who does know the details about creating of the Constitution and what it was the framers were trying to achieve, clearly it would be best if we could restore it as it was intended to be. Simply return it to its original aims and purposes. What would we have to lose?
I feel certain that, if we did so, we could pry off years of the barnacles of manipulation and once again find a fast ship cutting to endless possibilities–the prospect of setting our course towards everything that is moral and right once again.
I will say this… Trying to would unquestionably be better than accepting the mess that We the People now have to live with.