“Let justice be done though the heavens should fall.”
– John Adams, letter to Elbridge Gerry, December 5, 1777
The Big Picture
by Glynn Wilson
Here’s a question for Rick Santorum and Judge Roy Moore (or any member of the religious right or the tea party) that will never be asked in public by any news organization in the land.
“If you had been alive in 1776, do you think with your views you would have really supported the American Revolution and the political and economic split with the British Empire?”
Of course if Alabama’s famous Ten Commandments judge were asked the question, he would scoff and say “of course.” Like other tea partiers, Moore considers himself to be a great American patriot.
But if you examine their views on government from an educated perspective, it becomes obvious that they would have sided with England in that war as well as the Church of England. They would have been in the camp then called “British Loyalists.” They believe the government’s power is derived from God, not from the people themselves, which is the actual basis of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.
The key quote from the Declaration of Independence is: “…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
Notice it does not cite God.
In the Preamble to the Constitution, the key quote is:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
You will not find the word “God” in the Constitution. It is a secular document establishing the enabling laws of a secular government.
Yet in spite of their anti-American views, Rick Santorum is among the two leading candidates for the Republican nomination for president, and Judge Roy Moore is running for the Alabama Supreme Court again, even though he was removed from that office by a federal judge a few years back for refusing to comply with a federal order to remove his hand-carved granite monument to the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building.
Republican voters in Alabama will have a chance to pick their nominee for the court on March 13. The winner of the Republican primary will run against Democrat Harry Lyon in November. Charlie Graddick and Christian Republican Governor Robert Bentley’s pick for the court, Chuck Malone, are already running television ads in the Birmingham market.
But let’s think back on those heady days of the American Revolution.
John Adams lamented the makeup of the American people and described the split that I believe still exists today in this country. He said one third of the American colonists were Loyalists to the British crown, one third were Patriots who favored establishing a new nation, and one third sat on the sidelines, either too afraid to take sides or engaged in selling products to both sides. Capitalism has been around a long time, although in those days, it was called “Mercantilism.”
It is obvious to me that the tea party patriots and religious radicals like Rick Santorum and Judge Roy Moore are not American Patriots. They want to take this country back to before it was even a country. They want to put the church back in charge of the government.
We fought a bloody revolution to escape that, people. We as a country need to carefully consider and have a public debate about whether we really want to go back to that time. It is not being discussed honestly by either the political candidates or the news media in this country. That is dangerous.
Are we on the verge of committing political suicide?
“Democracy,” Adams said, “while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
Adams knew people like Rick Santorum and Judge Roy Moore in his day. What did he say about them?
“Power always thinks,” Adams said, “that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all his laws.”
That is Judge Roy Moore in a nutshell. While Moore has gone to great lengths to try to explain his philosophy on the Moral Foundation of American Law, his education on these matters is seriously limited and misguided.
As Adams said, “The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families,” not the state or the courts.
He also said, “The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, and both should be checks upon that.”
I had the chance to face off against Judge Roy Moore for the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor back in 2003. I had two byline national news features published in the Christian Science Monitor.
But I also faced him in a roundtable press conference and asked how he and Hugo Black, another Alabama Sunday School teacher, could come to such drastically different interpretations of the First Amendment. Rather than giving me an honest answer to the question, Moore’s public relations staff had me kicked out of the room. It was clear Moore does not believe in American freedom or the First Amendment, which has a lot to say about freedom of speech and the press, too.
What potential dictators like Moore believe in is not freedom, conservative or otherwise. He believes in social control, like the Third Reich. If he were elected president, governor or the state Supreme Court, he would impose his views on society and squelch anyone who disagrees with him. He would lead a totalitarian government if he ever came to power, and so would a guy like Rick Santorum.
The news media in this country plays right into the hands of the would-be monarchs by spending so much time and space devoted to celebrities and fake controversies. The people in this country and this state need to be reminded what monarchy was like and about the role of religion and the church in governing in those days when monarchies in Europe were totally dominated by the Catholic Church.
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication, is most often hereditary, and usually accords official pre-eminence to members of the reigning dynasty. The monarch often bears the title king or queen. However, emperor/empress, grand duke/grand duchess, prince/princess and other terms are or have been used to designate monarchs. The word monarch derives from the term “single ruler.”
Monarchy, especially absolute monarchy, sometimes is linked to religious aspects; many monarchs once claimed the right to rule by the will of a deity (Divine Right of Kings, Mandate of Heaven), a special connection to a deity (sacred king) or even purported to be divine kings, or incarnations of deities themselves (imperial cult). Many European monarchs have been styled Fidei defensor (Defender of the Faith); some hold official positions relating to the state religion or established church. In the Western Catholic political tradition, a morally-based, balanced monarchy is stressed as the ideal form of government, and little reverence is paid to modern-day ideals of egalitarian democracy.
If we are going to consider abandoning the democratic republic form of government and bring back monarchy, do we not deserve to have an open and honest debate about it instead of this fake political spin by the likes of Moore and Santorum? If they want this country to be a monarchy, they should come out and say so and defend it openly — and let the people vote on the basis of the facts.
I for one will not be voting for any of these would-be monarchs on election day. If any of them get elected, I will be editorially opposed to them and work to educate the public to defeat them. This is not a politically partisan stance. It’s just that the Democrats seem to understand their history a little better than the Republicans, and have the interest of the people more in mind in my view.
If any of these candidates want to answer my questions in public and have a debate about this, I will take them on any time, anywhere — with the video cameras rolling.
© 2012, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.