January 26, 2010 --
The Election of Scott Brown to the United States Senate: Renewal of Our Founding Principles?
And so – one day shy of the first anniversary of President Barack Obama’s Inauguration,
the voters of Massachusetts underscored the president’s assertion, in his Inaugural Address: “…it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people which this nation relies.” Not, the determination of Congress, not the determination of the Administration, not the determination of the media: “the faith and determination of the American people.”
It is fitting, LPR believes, that we recall the president’s words, of January 20, 2009, in the aftermath of the results of the special U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts, One year ago, the president indicated that our economy thrives when it aims for “our common good,” when “our darkest hours” are lighted by “kindness” and “selflessness,” and “those [old] values of honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiousity, loyalty and patriotism..”
Rush Limbaugh proclaimed on his radio program, January 20, that gloating was permissible over the victory of Scott Brown over Martha Coakley, in the special election to choose the successor to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. LPR prefers to celebrate, first – that violence did not mar this special election and, second, that this election reaffirmed a founding principle that in our republic, the people are sovereign.
LPR, however, is not convinced, that the election of Scott Brown as a United States senator is evidence that, borrowing from the president’s Inaugural, we are now
determined to respond to ”greed and irresponsibility” with our Founding ideals.
The day after the Massachusetts special election, LPR went to a branch of Wachovia Bank, to question two overdraft charges, including a $35 charge on a $12 dollar overdraft. Informing the bank’s customer service department by phone that these charges could leave LPR unable to purchase food in the days before arrival of the next social security check, the consumer rep offered to lower the charges – totaling $57 -- by $14.
LPR, same morning, called the Wachovia charges to the attention of the office of Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), to be told by a staffer that yes, these charges are high, but nothing can be done: “it’s the law.” This latter comment puzzled LPR, in that Mr. Engel has, for a considerable number of years been a lawmaker. Is he not, thereby, authorized to seek to change the law for the common good?(Or do our legislators think predatory economic measures promote the common good?)
The Wachovia action and response are, for LPR, not lights of kindness in a dark hour. Federalist 57, cited so many times (will someone now heed its sage counsel?) urges our leaders, in part, be have sympathy for the people.
Acceptance by our legislators of predatory action by bullying banks, bullying utilities, bullying officials in the private or public sector, is, for LPR, not kind, not wise, not conducive to the common good.
[This writer has been reluctant to send to Capital One Bank the penalty it demands for a $25.90
overdraft. Capital One has threatened this writer that if the $33.92 (there was $1.08 – taken by the bank – in the account at the time of overdraft) is not paid in full, “within 10 days of the date on this letter” his account will be reported “to a negative reporting agency,” and thereafter “it will remain on your record for 5 years and will not be removed.” I received three identical threats from Capital One – with different dates: January 8, 9 and 10. This could mean that the final threat became effective one year to the day President Obama extolled the role of “kindness” in bringing prosperity to the nation.]
LPR sees no kindness in penalties imposed on charges against people presently unable to meet financial obligations, whether the underlying charges apply to a phone bill, a tax bill, a rent or maintenance bill. (Full disclosure: this writer bears all these obligations – and more.)
If we are to punish people, in these times, for being insolvent, why not go whole hog – and bring back debtor’s prison? In fact, the harshness of the penalty-clamorers has suggested a number of reforms to LPR, reforms aiming, indeed, for the common good, LPR plans to set forth ideas for economic reforms in subsequent postings.
On January 20, 2009, President Obama acknowledged that “greed and irresponsibility” have weakened our economy. On January 20, 2010, LPR was given direct evidence that the causes of this weakening…continue.
There was, however, one light of kindness for LPR on January 20, 2010. A bookstore owner was given $5 and asked to hold a book this writer wished to purchase. The owner immediately said: “take the book now; you’ll pay me later.” In today’s economic climate, such gestures, arguably, are rare; perhaps this partly explains how our economic landscape has become so barren The election of Scott Brown may or may not be indication that we will revive our founding ideals. For LPR, proof positive will be reaffirmation by as President Obama stated in his Inaugural, “We, the People” -- of the populist principles found in the first half of Federalist 57.
For LPR, it is premature to determine if the results of U.S. senate rate senate race in Massachusetts, January 19, mark a return to our founding ideals. – other than effective endorsement of this observation in Federalist No. 41: “A bad cause seldom fails to betray itself.”
Proprietor’s Note. LPR plans to discuss Managerialism and the Neo-Aristocracy next posting. This special edition is a call for reform and self-determination by our people.
Clicksters who see merit in this discussion are invited to call this special edition to the attention of others. LPR asks clicksters to consider “Henry F. Potter” and “George Bailey” -- the protagonists of the Frank Capra movie: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Potter saw people as “rabble.” Bailey believed things will work out if only the people stick together. Let’s try sticking together against those who dismiss us as “rabble.” If we don’t, as Ben Franklin said of the Redcoats – they will hang each of us, separately.