Happy US Government Day!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Gaith, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [​IMG]

    NYC's Federal Hall, where the First US Congress met.

    Time to bust out the cake and punches, because the guv'mint passes another milestone today. Take it away, Wiki...

    224 years... A pretty long run. And while the country has obviously grown in huge and unforeseen ways, not only geographically and culturally but politically, in terms of near-universal over-18 suffrage, apart from the swift inclusion of the Bill of Rights and the odd subsequent adjustment here and there (popular votes for Senators, a two-term presidential election limit, electoral votes for the District of Columbia, the invention of the filibuster), the fundamental Consitutional structure of government has really hardly changed since then. Indeed, by general reckoning, the US is home to the oldest single-document national constitution still in operation.

    When this USA version 2.0 (after the Articles of Confederation) started, hereditary monarchy was the worldwide norm. Today, a few of those remain, but most countries (I think) are based on the British parliamentary model, where the head of government necessarily represents the dominant (or dominant within a coalition) party. Not too many examples of systems like ours, in which the dominant legislative party is arguably incentivized to obstruct the agenda of the executive.

    Thomas Jefferson, incidentally, believed that the Constitution should be reviewed, if not entirely rewritten, every nineteen years:
    "Every constitution.... and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right."
    According to his calculus (based on life spans of the era, mind), we're over eleven cycles overdue.

    I also find it interesting to note that, while Constitution Day (September 17) generally gets a few quiet mentions, March 4 as a "Constitutional Government Day" is not at all a thing. We have a federal holiday for laborers, but not the government. July 4 gets all the buzz.

    Thoughts? Toasts? Jokes? :p
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  2. SmoothieX

    SmoothieX Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This discussion should be sequestered.
     
  3. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    How far they've come. From hopeful and idealistic rebels to petty squabling and abject gridlock/failure. The Founding Fathers would have the current group dragged out back and shot...
     
  4. bbailey861

    bbailey861 Admiral Premium Member

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    This is something I didn't know, and is quite frankly, brilliant. Too bad it wasn't/isn't followed because I think it could have made things better. As it is, even if it were to be started I don't think there would be any political will to make any changes or additions.
     
  5. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    Not before they were arrested for having slaves. I cannot stand the deification of the founders of this country. It's almost like a religion at this point.
     
  6. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    Nobody said they were perfect, and I'm certainly not deifying them. Won't go into the slavery part aside from pointing out that it was part of the times. Plenty of stuff that goes on today will make us likely look like assholes to some future generation. In a couple hundred years, maybe we'd get arrested for burning fossil fuels or smoking.

    Only point was highlighting how useless the CURRENT government has become. No longer about serving the people, getting anything done, or even paying lipservice to the kinds of ideals the founding fathers were willing to fight and die for. They weren't perfect, and often fell short of their own ideals, but they weren't worthless. Can't say that about current government.
     
  7. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed. The rigidity of the US Constitution makes the prospect of a usurping tyrant extremely remote, in that power is far too widely spread to allow a single person or even party to reshape the governmental structure, but the flip side of that is that, due to the extremely high threshold needed to amend the document, significant reform is absurdly easy to quash.

    224 years of total governmental stability and continuity, even in the face of a devastating civil war, is a tremendous achievement that demands respect. Unlike some of our European friends, we never faltered in our commitment to representative rule, though it took us a while to become fully representative. Still, the same spirit of fairness compels us to acknowledge that we've fallen behind our peers in terms of good governance and quality of life, and while the government has done far worse things than it does today, I don't think it's ever been so dysfunctional - and that's not a statement I make at all lightly, or ignorantly. From historic gerrymandering to unprecedented filibusters to limitless corporate donations, the ship of state has hit a massive sandbar.
     
  8. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Happy 227th to the United States Government! :p
     
  9. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Happy Birthday, US Government. [​IMG]

    I got you a Bernie Sanders. I hope you like him. [​IMG] :rommie:
     
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  10. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Admiral Premium Member

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    Can we get a new US Government? :shrug:

    In fairness though, I do like Government that works, and I like the idea of the Government laid out in the constitution, being checks and balances and how the three branches work together. It has been a long time of stability, and that's a good thing.
     
  11. hux

    hux Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    My favourite part of American history is when the Magna Carta guaranteed Habeus Corpus and later strengthened it through the Habeus Corpus Act 1679 plus the introduction of constitutional monarchy through the events of the English civil war and the Glorious Revolution leading to the Bill of Rights 1689 (no not the silly one with the guns, the one with freedom of speech... that's right, there was a bill of rights 100 years before America even existed). I also enjoy the fact that people in America have been voting for their representatives since the 13th century and developed a strong party system through elections such as the general election of 1695.

    God bless the US of A for pursuing the democratic society of fairness before anyone else.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  12. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    As bloated as our government is now, it should be "government WEEK".
     
  13. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Now now, I think we can all acknowledge the fact that all European nations were openly electing their Heads of State long before the USA started doing it.


    +
     
  14. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  15. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

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    It doesn't look a day over 220!

    At 227 years, I think you're probably well outside of the exchange period. You probably didn't keep the receipt, anyway.
     
  16. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well it's not as if the USA was starting from scratch when it came to desiging it's Government, the Goverenments of various nations of the world had evolved and changed over the centuries. So in a sense the framers of the US constitution build upon things like The Bill of Rights, Magna Carta. So they weren't new ideas but in some cases existing ideas that in some cases where just updated a little more.

    Laws need to change and adapt to suit today's needs, what was needed as a law 200 years ago might not be so wise today. Just as some of the laws we pass today might need to change by 2216.
     
  17. Count Zero

    Count Zero Watching Moderator

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    Happy belated birthday, US government. My congratulations would have been here earlier but they got held up in committee.

    On a more serious note, it's indeed quite an accomplishment to have had some form of democracy for so long.
     
  18. HIjol

    HIjol Admiral and Consummate Peacemaker Premium Member

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    You can pick many parts of this long quote apart...or you can not.

    I choose to not...


    "My country is great because Americans are the most generous and giving people on earth.

    America is great because she is reluctant to go to war but unafraid of confronting the thug and the tyrant.

    America is great because we fight according to the rules, and when we win, we reach back to our enemies and make them friends.

    America is great because of our constitutional republic, our system of checks and balances, our system of justice based on the rule of law, the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial and other protections demanding government uphold the rights of citizens.

    America is great because we do not put up with tyrants, and we always look out for the little guy, the orphan and the widow.

    Americans are great because somehow, we always find a way to bounce back.

    America is great because America welcomes the immigrant who comes here legally pledging to become an American and promising to help us form a more perfect union.

    America is great because when we see our sin, we decide to do something about it, and we are among the few societies which successfully and consistently evaluates whether or not we are living up to our creed.

    America is great because our revolution was a genuine revolution that was fought for the sake of good principles, yielding something entirely new: the land of the free, populated by self-governing people devoted to virtuous living.

    America is great because people, individually, and voluntarily, make a conscious decision every day to look out for the liberty of others, and protect the liberty of others, even if it means death on some lonely battlefield.

    America is great because her mission is peace, her purpose is protection, her provision is prosperity, and her lifeblood is liberty."

    Source: Allen Erickson, Western Journalism
     
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