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Thomas Jefferson wrote: "When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."
The U.S. Government has absolutely no fear of the people. In fact, Republicans thumb their noses at the majority, knowing that as long as they say what the majority of their constituents in their state or district want to hear, they are secure in their office. And they obviously don't care about the whole body of American people.
But we could use the wisdom and courage of Jefferson these days, and we should at least honor the principles of Jefferson, because far too many Americans do not realize to what extent they have been ignored and trampled by Reaganism.
Jefferson was consistent in stating his principles, which Abraham Lincoln later said "are the axioms of a free society."
Jefferson wanted a Democratic Republic with an informed and educated citizenry, which is why he was the leading advocate for public schools, and also advocated publicly funded higher education as well, so that any good student, regardless of their family's wealth, could achieve their full potential.
In other words, even though Jefferson felt a virtuous "aristocracy" should naturally govern, he believed that aristocracy should be based not on inherited wealth, but on each person's equal opportunity to succeed and prosper.
In addition, Jefferson strongly believed in the "wall of separation between church and state." He believed in true freedom of religion, and he realized that could be established only when government was neutral with respect to all religions.
I mention that because Jefferson's principles were unlike Alexander Hamilton's.
Hamilton, a banker who touted British economics and customs, believed that America should be a "Christian Meritocracy," in which rich Christians would naturally rule.
Since the rise of the "Religious Right," which rose to political power in America with Ronald Reagan, America has become more like Hamilton's "Christian Meritocracy" than Jefferson's Democratic Republic.
Of course, it's only Christian in name, and in fact it has turned Christianity up-side-down. And it's a meritocracy only in that Reaganism declares that "You're on your own" and you must be "self-reliant." But the ideology behind it was sold as "religious and patriotic," while it denigrates Jefferson's principles, along with Lincoln's and Roosevelt's, as well as Jesus'.
Reaganism and Reaganomics-like economic policies rigged to favor the rich and ignore and even deny the plight of the poor not only slap Jefferson in the face. They also slap Jesus of Nazareth in the face.
To me, there's something rotten in Washington D.C., and it is like a dead fish that has been getting more and more rotten and smelly since 1982.
Unfortunately, President Obama, like President Clinton and President Bush before him, invoked Ronald Reagan's name as if with reverence, knowing that Reagan's image still towers high on a pedestal. And Reaganism lives on even though it has brought the country to near ruin.