“Public opinion sets bounds to every government, and is the real sovereign in every free one.”
This quote, by Founding Patriot James Madison, needs to be shouted from the rooftops today.
Social media is all atwitter with allegations, apologies, and reports of settlement payments by men who forget that pride goes before a fall.
In the otherwise laudable speech by former President George W. Bush, in which he rebuked leaders who would divide the nation with dissentious pronouncements and policies, I’m afraid he went too far by referring to representatives as members of a “governing class”.
The United States Republic has no “governing class”, Mr. Bush. The United States Constitution authorizes representatives who serve the public. Your misnomer is telling, however. While you may not have abused your position to the extent that President Obama did (except when you signed the Patriot Act, in my opinion), the subliminal message is clear. Many of our public servants have become much too comfortable wearing that invisible mantle of superiority.
When Congress has a designated fund, spending millions of taxpayer dollars to settle sexual harassment claims, the “governing class” needs a refresher course in propriety and humility.
When Facebook ignites with flamers who berate those who decline to support Roy Moore because his accusers are too believable, it’s time for the public to be treated to a refresher course in the definition of opinion.
An opinion, by definition, cannot be wrong. Yes, even if it doesn’t agree with yours! An opinion is a conclusion reached by filtering available facts through strongly held personal principles. Since principles differ from person to person, opinion will also differ, yet enjoy all of the credibility of others, even those that disagree.
James Madison understood the inherent power of the court of public opinion in protecting our freedoms. While many of the sexual harassment allegations may never be heard in a civil or criminal court, they are being heard, loud and clear, in the court of public opinion. And every sovereign-minded citizen has the right, in fact, the duty, to consider the available facts at hand, filter those facts through their strongly held principles and make opinionated conclusions that they should declare with confidence! This process molds future public policy.
Our Republic enjoys two courts of justice: codified law and public opinion. They act as checks and balances to our “governing class”.
Without this free discourse of opinions, we sacrifice our most basic unalienable liberties bit by bit until others convince us that we never had them at all. Politically correct admonitions should serve as dares to voice our opinions even louder. Those who have succumbed to Binary Brain Syndrome and can no longer consider more than one point of view must have their stupor challenged daily. This is our duty as sovereign citizens if we are to keep our rights as free people! The judgments forged in the court of public opinion are vital tools for restraining the power of government in our Republic.
Public judgment, in contrast, is a special type of public opinion where people carefully consider the important issues of the day, contemplate the range of viewpoints, and weigh the consequences of policy prescriptions. Rather than stating positions off the top of their heads, public judgment requires people to be knowledgeable about an issue and debate the merits of policies before arriving at an informed opinion… Public judgment is not easily achieved, but it offers an important counterbalance to the domination of elite opinion in the policy sphere.
The sordid narrative of men acting like rutting pigs has recently landed at my own doorstep, with the revolting news that my own Congressman Joe Barton, while still married to his second wife, texted a photo of his junk to a girlfriend. This photo was then anonymously distributed via social media (WHAT?! Who would have imagined that this could ever happen?!).
Fellow citizens now have the audacity to rebuke me for concluding that Joe Barton does not deserve my future vote (if he declines to retire in shame). According to them, ol’ Joe gets to text his family jewels to a mistress with happy abandon without fear of condemnation from the likes of me, because they are “consenting adults”.
The guilty party, my detractors say, is the person who released the photo.
I’m sorry. The person who posted the photo is irrelevant to me. He or she is not MY REPRESENTATIVE IN THE U.S. CONGRESS!!
Fellow Christians are rebuking me for expecting Mr. Barton to be as perfect at Jesus. Um. I’m not electing Jesus to public office, but since I get the right to vote for whom I choose to represent ME, I try to choose wisely, in accordance with my principles of good judgment and morality.
What part of “representing ME” is incomprehensible?
I, being a sovereign citizen of this Republic, have heard the evidence before me and found him guilty of being unworthy of my endorsement.
Those who are not offended by the immature, narcissistic, lecherous behavior of candidates like Donald Trump, Roy Moore, and Joe Barton may use their sovereign judgment to support, endorse, promote and vote for them without fear of my rebuke.
They don’t get to pretend that they have been elevated to a non-existing “governing class” authorized to invalidate the opinion of another sovereign citizen.