The day America took its place among nations

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.

Today is a good day to look back 241 years. That was when the United States government was born. July 4, 1776 was the day democracy was planted and American people from 13 colonies declared independence from Britain, commemorated with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress. It was the special day we became an independent nation and a free people.

It was also a day the world of nations had never seen before, because it was the first time a major government had been formed to be deliberately weak and its people strong. It was a time when some very smart Founders set out to prove that a nation can be built on the self-sufficiency and personal responsibility of its citizens.

The new government had been born in battle. Carving out a new nation was bloody, and a higher percentage of our American people died than perished in World War II. But on that July 4th, we became a free people, able to choose our own path and our own Constitution and rules of law to govern ourselves. Our revolutionary war was fought to separate ourselves from a repressive and tax-happy British Crown.

The government of this new nation was unlike prior sovereign regimes because it feared the human nature and instincts of politicians who possessed political power, and so did not trust them. Geopolitical strategist George Friedman reminds us that America’s Founders pushed for a government that was inherently inefficient and unwieldy, one in which new laws were difficult to pass and only after much deliberation. Today’s concept of “gridlock” would have pleased the Founders, who were suspicious of fallible men wielding power over other men.

The Founders envisioned that the political heart of a country should be in private life, the personal relationships, family life, work, interests and activities of its citizens. They rejected the idea of a nation whose heart was in its central Capitol, Washington DC. They wanted a weak and dispersed government because they feared the tyranny of politicians endowed with power.

In fact, America’s Founders did not want a domineering president or executive branch because of their experience with the King of England. Our three branches of federal government were structured in a way to spread power generally, and to impair presidential authority specifically. The Founding Fathers accomplished this by creating a legislative branch with both a Senate and House of Representatives managed under different rules, and by creating a Supreme Court with powers to check legislative and executive authority, as well as the decisions of lower courts.

So, as you celebrate Independence Day, remember that our government was set up to make confrontation and fierce debate the way that government should work. Passing new laws should be a difficult and sometimes polarizing process, because laws can limit freedom and oppress certain groups within society.

Finally, the purpose of Freedom of the Press in our country is to allow information and facts to be brought into illumination. Journalists are entitled to their opinions, but they have no grounds to play the victim when politicians criticize them, or to whine when politicians counter-punch journalists for publishing or broadcasting false news or biased views.

John R. Smith GET AUTHOR RSS FEED

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company. He is a frequent columnist for BizPac Review.
John R. Smith

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