June 24, 2010 – Federalist No. 42 – Cathy Gillespie

Friday, June 25th, 2010

“But the mild voice of reason, pleading the cause of an enlarged and permanent interest, is but too often drowned, before public bodies as well as individuals, by the clamors of an impatient avidity for immediate and immoderate gain.”

This quote sums up the challenges the founders faced in pulling such disparate interests together for the common good.  Each state presumably had laws in place that favored their particular state.  From commerce to naturalization, the elected leaders of the states had crafted policy to benefit their parochial interests.  Even though Madison makes very convincing arguments for the necessity of the powers claimed by the Congress, it must have been very difficult for the States to cede some of their authority, even for their collective long term gain.

It is indeed a miracle that the delegates were able to set aside their states’ “impatient avidity for immediate and immoderate gain,” and produce the United States Constitution!

“Impatient Avidity for immediate and immoderate gain,” continues to be the stumbling block for many governmental reforms today, aggravated by our immediate gratification culture.  If we want to read a book, we download it to our Kindle.  If we want to watch a movie, we download it to our laptop or TV.  We grab songs mid-air straight off the radio and pull them into our iPods!  Hungry? Pop a meal into the microwave or drive through your favorite restaurant.  Want to go somewhere? Hop on an airplane.  Talk to someone? Call them on your cell or text them! If our computer is “slow,” meaning a page takes a few extra seconds to load, our blood pressure rises.

Given this way of life, it is no surprise that we want quick fixes to the policy problems our country faces.  We don’t have the patience to work out the hard issues. Unlike our founding fathers, we have been unwilling to make short term sacrifices for long term gain.

Instead of doing the hard work necessary to reach a consensus in line with our country’s founding principles, and that most Americans could accept, health care reform was hurriedly passed in a matter of months.

Most people agree a simpler income tax code such as a flat tax, or a national sales tax in place of an income tax, would be an improvement on our complicated system!  Yet, those who benefit from the complex code, or who currently pay no taxes, find it hard to support a reform that would cause them to personally sacrifice short term, but in the end bring more freedom and prosperity to all.

The same holds true for social security reform.  Those currently receiving social security, or those who are about to receive it, do not want to give up their “immediate…..gain,” to support a reform that could ensure long term security of our citizens.

Our energy policy poses a similar challenge.  We know our dependence on foreign oil is a problem, and depending on our relations with the world, could put our country in a crisis situation.  But what are we doing to address it?

Susan mentioned immigration policy as another example of a “hard issue,” that our leaders have not had the tenacity to tackle.

These types of reform and legislative action take long term vision, and often cause some short term sacrifice.  Our founders had the vision and fortitude to work through the tough problems and overcome “the clamors of an impatient avidity for immediate and immoderate gain.”

Can our elected officials do the same? We The People must make our voice heard, and encourage them to pursue policy with a zeal for the overall good, in line with our founding principles, despite “clamors of an impatient avidity for immediate and immoderate gain.”

Good night and God Bless,

Cathy Gillespie

 

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