Call Them Out

Just because your boss has been visited by the good idea fairy again doesn’t mean you have to be his yes man…

Power always sincerely, conscientiously, de tres bon foi, believes itself right.  Power always thinks it has a great soul, and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak….Power must never be trusted without a check.”

~ John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, 02 February 1816


Where’s the person who says “this isn’t a good idea”?  Where’s the citizen working in government who says ‘hey guys, this isn’t really constitutional’ when the government comes up with another “great” idea.  The latest in current affairs is a long list of decisions by people in power who thought things were a good idea that clearly were not.  And there were many chances at multiple levels for someone to call them out on it.  But no one said a word.  The government always thinks they have good reasons to make exceptions to the rules and to the Constitution.  They try to find wiggle room or loopholes that allow them to get around these laws because they believe whatever objective they’re trying to accomplish is more important.  But nothing is more important than the liberty our country was founded on.  It’s up to us as citizens to call them on it, not only after the fact, but during the fact.  Because the fact of the matter is: there are lots of government workers who are also citizens.  These citizens just didn’t think about it, or worse, didn’t say anything when more powerful people were developing these genius ideas that violate the basic premises of our Constitution.  That’s a much scarier thought than people in power doing what people in power always do….bending rules.  Because oppressive governments are dependent on the silence of those under them.

It’s easy to say the government knows best.  After all, they have tools and information at their disposal that isn’t always known to the public.  It’s easy to be swayed into surrendering little pieces of our liberty under the argument that it keeps us safe.  After all, no one wants another terrorist incident because of lapses in security.  It’s easy to say the ends justify the means.  After all, sometimes they do.  But when it comes to the Constitution, they don’t.  They won’t ever.  Our Constitution is the check on government power.  Preventing the leaking of classified information is incredibly important.  But it’s not worth violating even one person’s constitutional rights.  It’s definitely not worth setting up a system where freedom of the press might come into question.  Does the media do a lot wrong?  Certainly.  But a free press is one of the surest guarantees of a free society.  That’s the reason the Founding Fathers included it in the Bill of Rights.  Despite the many abuses of that free press both then and now, it serves a vital function of getting information to the people.  Without information, there is only silence.  And silence is agreement.  The government doesn’t need more people to agree with them.  They already have plenty of yes men who failed in their duties as citizens to stand up and say something.  Maybe they furloughed all the people who would no.  Either way, it’s up to us to call power out.  Because believing you’re always right doesn’t always make it so.


Res Publica


Documentation without Representation:

John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, 02 February 1816 (emphasis in bold added by me)

* “de tres bon foi” is French for “in very good faith”

Electronic Text Available via Google Books

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