Are you concerned over the consequences of an “unjust war” that has been waged in Iraq, the lavish subsidies of the Pharmaceuticals Bill, ten percent unemployment, the current recession (which some say rivals 1929), broken social security, or an “unfixable” medicare? If so, you’re not alone.
In the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Show 949, “Occupy Washington” (12-11-11), Clay Jenkinson states that, “I think there’s genuine, deep discontentment and anger that is very widespread in the country…I think furthermore, that we’ve gotten into this position of being okay with the national debt. Jefferson warned against this for a range of reasons. One of the principal reasons is that it allows a nation to fight wars without bringing the people along. For instance, (in regards to Iraq), we fought a trillion dollar war, and didn’t raise taxes. So we had to borrow that money…that indebted the nation in a profound way, and it did two things. It creates a gigantic and unserviceable national debt (with interest alone starting to eat up the budget), but secondly it starts to choke out everything else you may want to do as a nation.”
To Mr. Jenkinson, it’s clear why the people are angry. Not only is there lacking transparency in any of the actions of our Government, but that “even an idiot knows that if you’re going to have unprecedented expenditures, you’re going to have to have more revenues…we’re constantly being told things that are metaphysical nonsense. That we can do this without raising taxes, and that the best thing the American people can do is spend and buy. That somehow this will be okay…”
So what’s wrong? Jenkinson explains that it’s largely due to the reality of our nation having a Congress that is actually paralyzed. “One party will deliberately spike the proposals of the other party, not because they think they’re bad, but in the hopes that they can destroy that party and win at the next election…but you haven’t heard the established political moderates of both parties say, you know – we better listen to this, because this is a warning that there’s something fundamentally wrong in America.”
Still, why can’t the legislative body of our nation come up with a plan in regards to immigration, or healthcare? Says Mr. Jenkinson, “We’re the only great nation that is now in paralysis, at a time when it is absolutely dangerous for a nation to be in paralysis (on national security fronts, or on world economic fronts). And the people of the United States should be so outraged by this they should be saying to the 535 people in Congress – get your act together and do something! They should occupy Washington DC, and find the people who are the obstructing the future of this country with senate holds, and filibusters. Who are the people in Congress who are actively and perversely obstructing the business of the United States when we need things to move forward? We should dis-elect them.”
For instance, “when there is a routine business before Congress, and Party A says We won’t let this happen, because if we don’t – maybe we’ll be relected in the next Presidential election. You can’t have a nation that operates that way. The people need to be mad, but they need to focus it on the real culprits. Capitalism is not the culprit…what I blame is Washington for not creating a meaningful game plan for the future of the United States. You may not pay attention to three people picketing outside the capital building, but how about 300? 3000? How about 3 million? How about 30 million? This movement will not vindicate itself unless it continues to grow – remaining peaceful – but gets the attention of the established classes of this country…there’s no goodwill, there’s no civitas, there’s no commonwealth feeling here that we all need to figure out a way to save this country. And when that doesn’t happen, the people who have common sense – if you put 535 people from Minneapolis Minnesota into Congress, they’d solve these problems in a week. So if the people are smarter than their Government, then Jefferson would say they’d either need to throw the rascals out, protest to the point that they get their attention, or they need to re-write the Constitution in order to provide a mechanism that does work. Any of those is a Jeffersonian solution.“
Clay Jenkinson is one of the most sought-after humanities scholars in the United States. In 2008, Clay became the director of The Dakota Institute through The Lewis & Clark, Fort Mandan Foundation, to further expand his humanities programs with documentary films, symposiums and literary projects. He is also the Chief Consultant for the Theodore Roosevelt Center through Dickinson State University and conducts an annual lecture series for Bismarck State College. To read more about Mr. Jenkinson and the Thomas Jefferson Hour, please click: The Thomas Jefferson Hour