Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay wrote a series of 85 essays in 1787 and 1788 arguing for ratification of a new Constitution for America. Below is what I submit would be their assessment of our political leaders of 2013.
FEDERALIST No. 86
HAMILTON, MADISON AND JAY
To the people of the United States. HERETOFORE, we have endeavored to elucidate with the most succinct clarity the salient components on which to Constituent assembly has wisely labored in order that our experiment in republican democracy, fragile as it, shall not succumb to passionate opponents who have engaged in a misguided campaign of sabotage and mendacity.
Thus, there can be no reasonable observer who, upon perusing our essays and discrete analysis, and upon subsequent rumination, cannot in good faith and honesty disagree with the conclusions we have posited.
That stated, it must also be remarked that the wisdom and strength of any organic document–subject to occasional needs for expansion, elaboration and evolution as time and circumstances most assuredly dictate–cannot withstand the decay that may emanate from those unethical and immoral actions in which individual elected leaders have indulged for their sole benefit.
Such egregious behavior and reprehensible betrayal of the fundamental trust to which we assign our elected leaders cannot be corrected by written words alone no matter their eloquence and proscriptive attempt. The new Constitution delineates most astutely both the means for popular election, terms of office, and–in those most unfortunate of moments–the method by which miscreant behavior by wayward leaders shall be punished.
Nevertheless, the protections afforded the accused under the Constitution, purposely erected as to prevent frivolous and frequent attempts to remove from office one whose offense is rumored but not proven, whose actions are repugnant but not illegal, and whose defense may prevail due to the inevitable and prolonged procedures to which the object of such proceedings may avail, serve to extend rather than shorten the proceedings leading to conviction and removal from office.
The conclusion is most apparent. Our Constitution neither should be expected nor has it been so inscribed as to prejudge the questionable moral and ethical behavior of persons who aspire to public office. Nay, it must be so evident that such conduct is to be evaluated by the nation’s voters, into whose hands the success and health of the Republic is decided, that further elaboration is unnecessary.
However, due to recent events arising from the extracurricular indulgences of existing and potential government leaders, and circulation of such allegations by the press, we are reasonable in asking whether the nation is at risk. And if so to what degree?
The dalliances of a number of local and national politicians have evoked an ejaculation of opinions that extend the full continuum from outrage, preoccupation, puzzlement and acceptance.
The latter, to our collective experience based fundamentally on the history and sacrifice of our founding fathers whose elevated ethical and moral beacons shine brightly and whose response to the aforementioned wayward steps would be quick and resolute, is most worrisome.
When, as it now appears in contemporary America, that the populace is not aroused by the most loathsome behavior, the vilest of lies and partisanship, and instead is willing either to accept or ignore such conduct as merely private concerns of the elected rather than threats to the office occupied by the miscreant, our despondency is merited.
Only the people of the United States can decided the future of the Republic. Should the citizens of this nation, to which we bequeathed the most inspired Constitution mankind has devised, be either unwilling or unable to sustain her strength because their predilection is to accept a heretofore objectionable standard, then no document no matter how gifted can retard the inevitable decay that will render the nation vulnerable to erosion and destruction.
We are most steadfast in our faith that this current descent is not irreversible. Nevertheless, our faith is one more of hope than evidence. The former may be a fountain of encouragement; the latter, however, requires a recommitment of the people to demonstrate that–as the descendants of the founders of the Republic–they are indeed worthy of the legacy they have inherited.
The United States now has reached a critical juncture. Is she prepared to resume the direction envisioned by her forefathers? Is she of sufficient courage to demand that her public servants be bound to an unswerving, unselfish allegiance to the good of the electorate superseding all other considerations? Or is she complacent–unwilling to shoulder the demands that are the inheritance of the brave men and women who fought a war of Revolution so that they and their progeny might escape despotism and prosper?
It is lamentable that the latter seems more likely than the former.