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Our ship is sinking

August 9, 2012
Fairmont Sentinel

To the Editor:

In 1789, when asked what type of government the Founding Fathers had established, Benjamin Franklin wisely replied, "We have given you a 'Constitutional Republic,' if you can keep it."

Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, et al, must be rolling over in their graves.

The dictionary defines constitution as follows: the document embodying the system of principles according to which a nation is governed.

Republic is defined as: "a country in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them."

Recently, on an episode of CBS' Face the Nation, I learned from former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor that civics (the department of political science dealing with rights of citizenship and duties of citizens) is no longer required curriculum in our public schools. Furthermore, when polled, more than 30 percent of students could not even name the three branches of our federal government.

This disturbing information partially explains why a huge segment of our society is uninformed, uninterested and does not participate in our political process. Consequently, the fate of the many rests in the hands of the few.

Many of our ancestors came to America with little or nothing, except a longing to be free, and opportunity to prosper.

The cherished principes at the core of our foundation are individual liberty, limited government, free speech, separation of church and state, religious freedom and states' sovereignty. Today these precious fundamentals are eroding, intentionally being transformed.

It is intriguing, yet upsetting, that a certain faction sincerely believes that our U.S. Constitution is a fluid document that should be changed and evolve, over time. I reject that premise completely and believe that to chip away at any foundation will only weaken it, and make it vulnerable to collapse.

Our nation has become a badly damaged ship, adrift in stormy, perilous seas. On Nov. 6, 2012, we will choose the captain and crew who will face the daunting tasks of not only navigating us safely ashore but also endeavour to repair, restore and make sturdy again our very structure.

Failure to take corrective measures will result in our ship sinking. Goodbye treasured American way of life.

No doubt, some of you will find this characterization and my analysis of what this country is facing to be dramatic and overstated, and it is certainly your right to feel that way. My response to you is simply, "Wake up."

Our nation is at a critical juncture. We have faced other periods of unrest, but not since the Civil War have our citizens and representatives been this divided and contentious.

We are basically a two-party system - the Democrats and the Republicans dominate. Personally, I align myself with neither of them, for they each share the blame for allowing us to get into this mess.

The Sentinel limits these letters to roughly 500 words, and there is much more I'd like to address regarding the differentiation of the two major parties, and how they propose to resolve the many complex problems we face.

So, consider this a preamble to a second letter I will submit soon.

My mission is to compel, to promote productive dialogue, but certainly not to anger or offend anyone.

Stay tuned for part 2.

Gail Pieser




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