"To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled--because a right is a kind of power but they are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which cloak these faults are called patience and forbearance."
Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900), German philosopher. The Wanderer and His Shadow, aphorism 251 (1880).
"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse."
James Madison (1751--1836), American politician and President; speech in the Virginia constitutional convention, Dec 2, 1829
"The great desideratum in Government is, so to modify the sovereignty as that it may be sufficiently neutral between different parts of the Society to control one part from invading the rights of another, and at the same time sufficiently controlled itself, from setting up an interest adverse to that of the entire Society."
James Madison (1751--1836), American politician and President; letter to Thomas Jefferson, October 24, 1787
"To provide employment for the poor, and support for the indigent, is among the primary, and, at the same time, not least difficult cares of the public authority."
James Madison (1751--1836), American politician and President; Letter to Reverend F.C. Schaeffer, January 8, 1820 (Madison, 1865, III, page 162)
Congratulations! It's a Health Care Reform Act!
Well, kinda, sorta, almost, maybe.
It is, arguably, the best that we can do under our current political limitations, where there are two diametrically opposing forces trying to pull the majority of the American People's political beliefs and inclinations either back into the dark past or forward to a brighter future.
When you look (for example) at the State of Texas (easy stomach, don't roll over), whose state Board of Education just removed Thomas Jefferson's writings from their curriculum in favor of Jefferson Davis, Joe McCarthy, and Phyllis Schafly; we can begin to realize that like Wellington's victory at Waterloo, the passage of the Health Care Reform Act was a "close run thing."
I simply wish that Texas had managed to inoculate more people against the "blind ignorance" virus that seems to affect so much of the state; after all, they managed to inoculate Jim Hightower and the late Molly Ivins, and look how well they turned out.
I mean, this was a state which, when it first declared itself a Republic independent of Santa Ana's Mexico on March 2, 1836; stated in its Declaration of Independence, "It is an axiom in political science that unless a people are educated and enlightened it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty or the capacity for self-government."
Thomas Jefferson couldn't have put it better himself.
Well, enough beating up on Texas. The "blind ignorance" factor generally seems to be directly proportional to the amount of money that a Texan has in his bank account.
Besides, any state that could give us Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Janis Joplin, Willy Nelson, and Stevie Ray Vaughn, must have something going for it.
As I was saying, there are two diametrically opposed forces in this country. There are those who are often being described as being "conservative," or "on the right," and seem to make up the majority of the elected and activist membership of the Republican Party. Their purpose seems to be to roll back all of the advances in social and economic justice that have been gained by the American people in the last century, and return to the days of the Gilded Age, where unbridled capitalism ruled, and the poor, working, and middle classes were left with the scraps that remained. It was a time when fifty-six percent of Americans could not make ends meet (Stanley Lebergott, The American Economy: Income, Wealth and Want; Princeton University Press, 1976; p. 508), and the majority of Americans were dead before they were sixty.