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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/14/09

Banks, Lawn Darts, And Human Folly

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Message Jon Faulkner
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Banks, Lawn Darts, And Human Folly


Was there ever, even a remote possibility, that the U.S. Constitution could be preserved as the defining document that guaranteed men's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Not in 1787, and not in 2009. Like religious orthodoxy, the U.S. Constitution, by its natural existence, could not survive men's differing perceptions of its meanings, or its Founders intentions.

The wrathful and jealous God of the Old Testament was softened to permit men a broader choice to pursue the truth - or the fires of damnation. Those of little faith were reserved a special place in Hell, for God's most terrible wrath was saved for those who were neither hot nor cold, for faith is not a thing that can be discounted by good or evil. Without faith there is no point to human existence, for it is the carrot that is dangled before the nose of the horse, that pulls the cart forward.

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But how is faith in an omnipotent spirit sustained when that spirit takes, as easily and as casually as a storm opens it clouds to rain, the things that men hold in limitless love? Human beings struggle to understand, and often simply dismiss from belief, a conscious presence that is capable of such enormous cruelty. The answers which compel such questions are as many and varied as the human beings who travel life's weary road. Historically, it is the state that has sought to provide secular security apart from religion's hit or miss, spiritual calculations. But states crumble and religions must always struggle against the hard current of human folly and temptation.

There have always been those who are eager, or feel it is their duty, to explain such mysteries. They are as often good, well meaning men, as they are charlatans who seek some advantage from the weakness of spirit or flesh. The document that Americans revere as the guiding principle of law is open to a vast potential of interpretation - and abuse. The U.S. Constitution, since its birth, has been interpreted, amended and perverted. The serious alterations it has undergone have been largely compelled by men whose convenience or advantage would be served by its weakening. That dilution, or weakening, began with the first session of the U.S. Congress over two centuries ago.

The Founders did not write the Constitution as a rigid, uncompromising dictate, but as a living document that could best be preserved by changing with the times. There were many disagreements as the Founders worked to come up with a living, breathing origin, for the laws that would guide a new nation through its infancy and beyond. Imagine today's Congress negotiating a document that all Americans could accept with pride and respect. The sanctity of the U.S. Constitution was already being threatened when the first session, of the first Congress, was called to order.

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Alexander Hamilton was the Secretary of the Treasury, and implored Congress to grant a charter for the Nation's First Bank. His modern counterpart, Timothy Geithner, whom Obama appointed for reasons known only to himself, would have bonded instantly with Hamilton. Jefferson and Madison disagreed with Hamilton, and argued against a centralized banking institution, believing it would open the government to corruption in high places. Hamilton won that argument by the simple expedient of obtaining Washington's signature, and thus allowing the issuance of the charter that brought into existence the First Bank of the United States.

President Washington was very hesitant about signing the bank's charter, particularly after Jefferson argued persuasively that the bank was not needed. Hamilton countered Jefferson's argument. He said the government, operating under the laws of the Constitution, could not refuse to do for an artificial person, a business, what it could do for a real person. Washington, perhaps a better general than a politician, was still not convinced. Reluctantly, he signed the charter, and the nation's first bank was born.

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Jon Faulkner is a licensed Master Mariner. He has long considered the conservative republican mindset a form of mental illness. He lives in northern Maine.
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