Under Analysis: Baltimore, Ferguson and Jefferson's forgotten dirty little secret

Charles Kramer, The Levison Group

The requirements for becoming a Congressman need to change. Before being qualified to take the oath of office, each representative should hereinafter be required to study American history and pass a detailed examination on the nature, structure, and purpose of the “American System of Government.” This is now necessary because the corporate bigwigs, polticos, government honcho’s and conservative economists of today operate in a vacuum, devoid of any understanding of the system set up by Jefferson, Adams, and the other founding fathers, and the dirty little secret behind it all.
Certain things work better if not generally known. For years this has been the case with respect to the founding fathers’ plans for America. It was thought that, if the masses were to truly understand the nature of the structures underlying the American system, those systems would cease to work, and our economic , political and social fabrics would fray. Now, however, we are faced with no choice. Because those who govern have themselves forgotten or chosen to ignore the staunch underpinnings of the American quilt, it is necessary to bring the secrets from beneath the shadows, point them out to the world, and hope that it is not to late to save our country.

This column, under analysis by the Levison Group, is often a spot where reader’s can find humor, and an ironic poke at our legal system, our laws, and our society. Today, however, is not one of those times. The words below are true, serious, and important. To scan this column and email it to your friends, to post it on your websites, or even your neighborhood tavern walls, or to otherwise make it go viral, may be the most patriotic thing you can do this year. Unless the secrets betrayed below are recognized as fact and unless our leaders are motivated to readopt them and implement them, our society will continue to crumble like the Romans, Khans, and Egyptians before us, and the revolts in Ferguson, Baltimore and across or nation are indications that it may soon be too late.
The secret is simply this. Many do not remember that the way our nation’s political system was first set up was vastly different from today. The Senate was filled with Senators appointed by the state governments, and those Senators were basically the elite and economically powerful. In addition, the qualifications to vote for the “general house,” the House of representatives, was also vastly different. Today we know there were times when women could not vote, or certain races could not vote, but few realize that the vote was originally outside the grasp of most caucasian males as well. Originally, to vote you had to own property, and not many did. The elitist senate and the restrictive vote, were ways to ensure that a system that, on its face, proclaimed to be a novel experiment, devoid of monarchal rule, and dedicated to a rule of the people, by the people, and for the people, was in fact one that could not easily encroach on the positions enjoyed by the elite, the economically powerful, or the entitled. Yet, this protectionist aspect was generally obscured and kept secret, and the illusion of a country existing for all people was ingeniously maintained. This was done by establishing a nation that did away with any perceived caste systems, and told everyone that they too could work hard, ascend and participate. People were taught, and structures existed that gave the promise of social, economic, and political upward mobility. The downtrodden accepted their fate because they believed that they, or at least their children, had the possibility of being in the elite.

As our system of government evolved, modified, and grew, the nature of the elections of the Senate, and who could vote changed. However, until the 1990s, those in power understood that it was necessary to maintain the true magic of the American system. It was necessary to provide systems to keep the poor and powerless invested in the system, and to keep the “franchised,” believing that they had hope and opportunities that could exist only by remaining in the mainstream. Perhaps only a few exceptional cases would actually jump the divide. Perhaps more would make it. The answer to the question of how many excelled, however, was not important. It was the existence of the possibility of advancement, the belief that the system worked for them, and protected their chances to advance, and the related hope, that kept society intact, and in fact kept those in power protected.

Beginning in the 1990s, however, this dirty little secret of the need to keep at least the pretense of mobility became deemed unimportant. The economic and political powers adopted a philosophy of anti government assistance and declared it outright. They embraced a “people need to fend for themselves” attitude that had the real effect of relatively quickly convincing the have-nots that they would forever remain have-nots. Once that occurred, the poor and uneducated became disenfranchised. The country is no longer theirs, and they now know it. They have nothing to lose by refusing to play along.

There is no doubt that the looters, murderers and rioters in Baltimore and Ferguson were not the same people as the legitimate protestors seeking social and economic change. No, those trying to achieve reform through peace and the system are vastly outnumbered these days. The looters were instead a sampling of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who simply believe that the law does not protect them, they have no future, and they are no part of the nation or its systems. They feel like they are outsiders, disenfranchised, with nothing to lose. The police are not THEIR protectors. The firemen do not protect THEIR homes. People ask why do the looters destroy the convenience stores and pharmacies in their own neighborhoods. It is because they do not see them as part of their neighborhoods. They are part of a system that is foreign to them. Like embassies of foreign nations, the impoverished neighborhoods of our country feel like they live on soil within this country, but are not a part of it.

This must change.

The first step in protecting and advancing the American dream is to reconnect with these lost brothers and sisters. We must fix our systems so that they embrace, or at least appear to embrace, the downfallen. Until the poor and uneducated are once again teaching their children that working within the system has the chance of making them whole to a degree that rebellion cannot, they will raise a generation of warriors. Revolution will become inevitable. And those in charge will see their lovely homes in the suburbs burn — something Thomas Jefferson never wanted to see happen. The rich and elite must understand that it is in their best interest to provide ladders for the lessers to climb, ropes for the undereducated to grasp, and dollars for the poor to spend. The founding fathers knew that was the way they would keep their power, their money, and their farms. Our leaders need to study history.

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Under Analysis is a nationally syndicated column of the Levison Group. Charles Kramer is a principal of the St Louis based law firm Riezman Berger PC. Comments/criticisms may be directed c/o this paper or directly via email to comments@levisongroup.com.
©2015 Under Analysis LLC

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