Is this the country the Founders envisioned?
Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? How about 232 years?
That is how long ago the Constitution was adopted. A fair amount of people have no idea where they will be in five or ten years, yet the founding fathers had to see at least 232 years in the future, and hopefully, another 200 years beyond today. That begs the question: is this the country the founders envisioned?
To put it simply, there is no way to say for sure if this is the country the founding fathers envisioned. Too many changes have occurred over the past 200 years. For example, if the country were exactly what they envisioned, we would still have slavery, as that was written into the fabric of the Constitution by way of the Three-Fifths Compromise and other methods of kicking the proverbial can down the road.
The Founders would be pleased with some of the things about this country. Every father wants the best for their child, so the founding fathers have good reason to be proud of some of the United States’ accomplishments. The United States controls the global economy, which is an achievement that the founding fathers would have most certainly been ecstatic about. The facts that the country has expanded and is a huge global superpower are both things the founding fathers can take pride in.
As with every father, however, there are things the founders would be disappointed about. The central government is much stronger than the founders ever intended. The office of the president is a highly touted position, despite the founding fathers hoping Congress would be the core and most powerful facet of the government. The national debt is most certainly nothing to be proud of. However, the biggest disappointment for the founding fathers would be the division in the nation.
George Washington said in his commencement address to avoid political parties because they would only cause problems. For a little less than 200 years, it appeared he was wrong. Political parties were actually a good thing for the country. New ideas were introduced because of them, and most of the country could agree on a party. There were even third parties that helpfully introduced ideas, even without taking a leading role in the government. In the past 30 or so years since Reagan, however, the country has been deeply divided, and that divide just seems to deepen every year, with no common ground in sight.
The political parties we have in government now are more destructive to each other than constructive. If one party does not agree with the other, instead of trying to work it out as they did in the past, parties just fight each other. They both become stubborn and do everything they can to shoot down the other party’s ideas.
None of this is good for the citizens of this country. Legislation and executive orders sway from side to side every election cycle. Both parties have their own vision for the country and will not change it under any circumstances. This is why political parties have become destructive, not constructive. They have stopped looking out for the American people and instead only focus on their own agenda. Perhaps this was the future George Washington envisioned and dreaded when he advised against political parties.
So to answer the question, there is no clear answer as to whether or not this is the country the founders envisioned. Even if we could go back in time and read their minds, I do not think it would be a yes or a no. Everything is open to interpretation, and some things that exist now would never have been dreamed of 232 years ago. There are some things that the founders would be proud of, and some they would be disappointed in. I do think that we could be a lot closer to their glorious vision if we can find some common ground in a divided country and world. I have faith that eventually, no matter how long it takes, we will come together again as one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.
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