The State v. the People

Daniel Costa

Assistant Opinions Editor

Photo via Deposit Photos

The United States was founded by aristocratic gentlemen attempting to role-play as Romans in the 1700s. Their high ideals of civic virtue and classical patriotism strove to create a republic worthy of ancient Rome while staying true to their English heritage as well. However, these early members of American political society also attempted to make a government of the people. If not at that moment, then eventually.


Approaching the tricentennial of this nation's founding, many citizens can look back and appreciate the leaps forward in realizing the original American dream of a government representative of the will of its people.


Looking to the present, it is difficult to imagine the state as a tool for the people to implement their will. Instead, the state has become a Frankenstein of a monster. It has developed its own interests in lieu of those of the people. The chief concern is now watching the backs of Wall Street and Silicon Valley rather than executing the people’s will. For example, take the numerous wars the United States has become involved in throughout the Cold War and into modernity.


From what I have experienced at work, school and in leisure, there seems to be a general consensus that the government has failed its people. Whether it be foreign policy or healthcare, the state always seems to ignore the issues most Americans are concerned with and present them with an entirely unrelated solution. Oh, you want a better system of healthcare? Let’s kill Syrians instead!


There are some solutions, but they would require a mobilisation that has not been seen since the Vietnam War protests. A constitutional convention would certainly clear up matters, but with the same fossils in charge throughout the political system it is doubtful it would have a huge effect on the status quo. The true solution is the cliche one: an increase in the consciousness of the average citizen. Voting for individuals that do not come from the modern oligarchy. At least the aristocrats of Washington’s era had wisdom. Our current ruling class just has money to spend. That is to say, the system has yet to reach a point of total loss. The vote still has power in this nation.


Of course, I am in danger of running amok with romanticism of a bygone era. My argument is not that the past was the ideal, and that government truly represented the people in that era. Rather, I am arguing that we at least strove for it. American voters have focused less on securing the state and more on “How do I benefit from this?”


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