DICK BAYNTON: Virtue, Morality, Patriotism & Politics

Dick Baynton

It has been noticed by millions of observers worldwide that although the debate over the U.S. Presidency went on for more than a year, the battle rages on. On the one side are Trump and his supporters trying to resuscitate the nation’s healthcare, infrastructure, trade policies, tax codes and regulations and immigration that all seem to be in total disarray. On the other side of the political domain are those detractors, mostly progressives in the Clinton philosophical lineage who see light as darkness, effort as listlessness, success as failure and politics as the primary source of power and prosperity.

Only seven years ago, Obamacare went into effect with virtually no input from a single Republican. The future of Obamacare was vested in Mr. Obama’s faith in himself and the several hundred thousand dollar advice of Jonathon Gruber, PhD of MIT who captioned U.S. citizens as stupid. If the ACA (Obamacare) were a ship, only the masts and the gunwales would remain visible as it capsizes and sinks.

In the same period of 2010, a student loan program was launched. What was not understood by the President and his academic and political theorists is that Uncle Sam is not good at banking. In fact, trillions of dollars handled by federal government are put to use in the most inefficient and delinquent ways. Several organizations have reported in the past several days that delinquency rates on the $1.3 trillion student loan debt are skyrocketing. The New York Fed reported that about one-half of student loans are in forbearance, deferment or a grace period.

Perhaps one of the most disturbing reports just released by the AP is that the Obama administration spent more than $36 million in lawsuits as a result of its refusal to release federal documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Among the many agencies that declined to respond legitimate requests, Department of State paid out over $150,000 for denying information on Hillary Clinton’s time at State, Department of Justice paid $12 million, Department of Defense paid $4.8 million and Homeland Security paid out $6.3 million.

During 2016, 77% of requests were censored or declined altogether by the more than 4,000 employees at FOIA. This was promised to be the most transparent administration in history. Remember the prophetic words of the immortal Gautama Buddha (C. 563 BCE – 400 BCE): “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

Some of the wisdom and warnings of President George Washington in his Farewell Address are apropos today. These are quoted excerpts that were first published on September 18th, 1796: “Friends and Citizens: The name of America, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

There will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands.  To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute. 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.

All obstructions to the execution of the laws are destructive and of fatal tendency. Cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual and permanent despotism. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.” – George Washington