America’s founders are revered throughout history as valiant and wise revolutionaries who fought together to create this great country. But have you ever wondered what Paine, Washington, Jefferson and the rest would have to say about the Occupy Movement? These strikingly relevant quotes may surprise you.
“And I sincerely believe… that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our selection between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat in our drink, in our necessities and comforts, in our labors and in our amusements, for our callings and our creeds…our people.. must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread...”
“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”
- Thomas Jefferson
“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the land that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
“If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
- Samuel Adams
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”
“If we wish to be free, if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained — we must fight!”
“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”
- Patrick Henry
“Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the world that a free man, contending for his liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.”
“My anxious recollections, my sympathetic feeling, and my best wishes are irresistibly excited whensoever, in any country, I see an oppressed nation unfurl the banners of freedom.”
“The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, ‘till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People is sacredly obligatory upon all.”
“The best means of forming a manly, virtuous, and happy people will be found in the right education of youth. Without this foundation, every other means, in my opinion, must fail.”
- George Washington
“The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy.”
“Without Freedom of Thought there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as Public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.”
“It is a common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own.”
- Benjamin Franklin
“A generous parent would have said, ‘if there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”
“It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.”
“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
- Thomas Paine
Is it so presumptuous to wonder if our founding fathers, if alive today, would protest these injustices alongside us? Is it so absurd to imagine Thomas Jefferson pitching a tent with the rest in a public park? After all, protest was tantamount to the founding of our nation. The repair of a broken government is the responsibility of its people. Indeed, those who recognize the injustice in our government ought to protest, lest they be charged with less-than-patriotic apathy.
Anti-intellectualism put us here.
The more Americans read, the more we’d understand. But naturally, some systems depend on the public’s lack of understanding. So these systems created distractions, making use of America’s affinity for flashy entertainment. And they won.
Now, America’s presidential debates utilize the same sound effects and fanatic coverage as its televised sporting events. Books are “stupid,” according to every high schooler’s Facebook profile page ever. Facts and logic fall far behind belly-fire and edgy attitudes in the citizen’s pick for office. Americans demand to know which candidate is bold enough to stand up to the establishment.
What we often fail to recognize is what caused these candidates to succeed in becoming options at all — they created and comprise the very establishment we despise. The establishment that has become so expert in gaining power has also become expert in knowing exactly what we want to hear, and wrapping it in just the right package to appeal to today’s concerned American.
It’s been a long time since America’s had a genius president. It’s been a long time since brain-power topped the list of reasons to support a candidate. In America, the establishment decides who to sponsor, what they’ll stand for, and what they’ll do in office once they win. George W. Bush and Barack Obama sure seemed pretty different four years ago, didn’t they? Now, it’s clear that their policies that affect us the most are identical — and not surprisingly, so is most of their campaign donor lists.
Are you tired of working hard to promote a choice candidate that ultimately serves to disappoint you? Are you tired of making excuses for poor representatives you really used to believe in? Then let’s take a lesson from this mess.
We should know better by now than to trust any candidate backed by millions of special interest dollars. Those special interests aren’t yours or mine, and they don’t belong in the political arena. They’re the interests of a small group of people so extremely wealthy, it would be impossible for most any of us to save up a year of their salary in our entire lifetime.
Don’t hate rich people. They’re people, in the club for a variety of reasons. But please, take the time to look into how a candidate answers questions, and compare them to facts, logic, and what you know you know. Do this, or we will all pay the price for our ignorance.
The special interests profiting from the recession have little pressing desire to fix these problems they created. We have to. The vast amount of data on the Internet can help us form educated opinions on issues where both parties have failed.
Knowledge used to be power. We can use the Internet to earn that power back again.