One of my favorite lines from the Declaration of Independence is “will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.” How about the recent approval of gay marriage by the Supreme Court? 320+ million Americans get the meaning of marriage changed forever because of a “transient cause”. And aren’t most of our Presidential candidates today running on transient causes? “Build a wall”, “Tax at 90%”, “Free college”, “Time for the first female President”, transient causes all.
The founders knew they should not establish a Federal government that responded to transient causes. Transient meaning temporary or passing quickly. Because such a government would be imposing laws on its entire citizenry that applied to “special interest” groups that would soon be out of favor. Moreover, laws passed to satisfy a transient cause would punish future generations that had no say in the making of those laws. They were also aware that laws, once passed and government offices established to enforce those laws would be almost impossible to rescind. They knew if the constitution was subject to change in order to accommodate transient causes, it would become meaningless and instead of a rock solid founding document, it would become a “living document”, and this nation would soon lose its purpose.
The founders, with this one sentence in the Declaration of Independence, were asking us to think long and hard, to take the long view of our nation, before making changes and demanding that its citizens adhere to the “transient causes” of the day. And yes, the founding fathers were under pressure from their own special interest groups, slavery and trade with Britain to name just two. They knew that special interest groups are nothing more than a small percentage of the public that wants the power of government to make the entire citizenry bend to their desires.
People today say our founding fathers and their words should be discounted because they were not perfect men, slave owners etc. But, history will one day judge us, and will we be seen as perfect men? Or, will history see us as flawed humans and discount all we have accomplished? Humans live in the world as it is, doing the best they can with the tools at hand. Our founding fathers, flawed as they were, created a system of government that was and remains a marvel among nations. Those that say our founding fathers are just “Dead White Men” and their words should be discounted ought to be ashamed of themselves. With those words they display their disrespect for this nation and display a total ignorance of human nature.
Our Founding Fathers knew there was great wisdom in the American people as a whole and gave us the tools to use that wisdom. The founding documents of this nation, based on their knowledge of human nature, ring as true today as when the ink was wet. They were a group of men that when brought together became genius, we shall not see their like again.
In the 2016 Presidential election, American voters need to elect a President that will not bend to transient causes but will use the resources given to him by our founding documents to work towards strengthening the peaceful, productive, great nation our founders envisioned.