10 November 2012

Founding Fathers

Who were these guys anyway? The phrase "Founding Fathers" seems to be endemic in political pronouncements, judicial decisions, and PBS specials. Some pundit is forever stating that the founding fathers will roll over in their graves if some piece of legislation is passed or not passed or if the current court does not follow the precepts set out by them when our country was formed. This is all rather mysterious to me. No one to my knowledge, as imperfect as it is, has described or enumerated just who these people were. I have recently learned that the term "Founding Fathers" is first ascribed to Warren G. Harding in his inaugural address of 1916; not one of our more learned for memorable presidents. The United States of America did not begin operation until 4 March 1789, a considerable time after the revolutionary war. It is interesting to note that we celebrate independence rather than the monolith created in its wake. The Articles of Confederation were proclaimed on 1 March 1781. March seems to be a particularly popular month. The Articles of Confederation in retrospect doesn't seem such a bad idea. Maybe we should have stuck with it. Iowa could in most respects be an independent country and we could have our own founding fathers not some characters living in Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, or some other east coast state who really know nothing about corn or soy beans and wouldn't know a John Deere from a Case IH. The television analysts are now in full tilt explaining how and why Barack Obama was reelected president of the United States. It doesn't take much intelligence to figure this one out. Look at the map showing what areas went Democratic and which went Republican. The Democrats won urban American and the Republicans won rural America. Less than half of Democratic Congressmen are white males but almost 90% of the Republican Congressmen are white males. Is it any wonder that the Republicans rely on the "Founding Fathers" for their inspiration all of whom were white males. One only needs to acknowledge that the "Founding Fathers" were all white males and that people of color and women were neither consulted or allowed an opinion and certainly could not vote when these founding fathers were doing their work. Is it any wonder that the new minority majority in this country really doesn't much care what the founding fathers said or did? I can just imagine what Indians, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Mexican immigrants think about about those guys. Not much. And we have the Daughters of the American Revolution living in never-never land celebrating some distant connection with Betsy Ross. So my suggestion is that we get over this founding fathers crap and get on with the business at hand.