Journalism: R I P

The Death Of An Ideal

Not just the death of an ideal. The death of a fundamental aspect of the ‘ Great American Experiment ‘. It will be impossible to continue the experiment without it. There can be no America without the so called ‘ Fourth Estate ‘. For those of you who are not current with exactly what is meant by the ‘ Fourth Estate ‘, it would benefit you to understand it in context. There are multiple uses and historical references, but herein we will use the term in an American vernacular.

The ‘ Fourth Estate ‘ exists for one reason, and one alone. It is but another aspect of the checks and balances that our forefathers envisioned when they contemplated a society where the many were not ruled by the few, but by the many. Rule by the people, by and for themselves. They did not write this concept of the ‘ Fourth Estate ‘ into the constitution that they created, but it may well be the most important concept to evolve on its own since the first glimmer of the idea. The idea of America.

The American Constitution did not just appear. It was a man-made creation. A creation of deliberative thought. A product of philosophy, as are all things of consequence in this life. It is not like they had a constitution, so they needed a revolution to have a reason to implement it. It was a cause and effect, but in a different way. The revolution created a void of structure and direction. The Articles of Confederation attempted to fill that void. But was less than successful. It would not be for another 12 years that the Constitution came to be. These men realized that they needed something more than the Articles. It was imperative that it would be a framework that could bring life to the dream, but change and evolve to handle future situations, most of which they could not envision. And they were right. It needed to be an organism that could grow with the country, with the ideal of a new kind of relationship, between the people themselves, and between the people and power. With the bickering and petty divisiveness that we see today at all levels of government, and within society in general, I am completely blown away, each time I consider just what these men created out of necessity, resolve, intelligence, and philosophy. To make the dream a reality.

We can know only some of their motivations, their incentives, and their expectations. But not all. One thing that we do know, and makes their effort all that much more remarkable in its success, is the fact that these men were not on the same page. This was not a group of like-minded individuals who all belonged to the same club, and the same mindset. Not by a long shot. They were diverse, from many backgrounds, and vastly different philosophies, but able to agree that it needed to be done, and that making a blueprint that gave everyone the same benefits, while assigning the same obligations, with no special considerations for any single group, would, in the end, actually be a benefit to all. And yet today the government is driven almost exclusively by nothing BUT special interests. The interests of women, of minorities. Sexual preferences. The environment. They want what they want and they want it now. Right now! Damn everyone else! God Damn America! No need to discuss or debate. Hell, they don’t even read the bills before voting them into law anymore. They are going to get ‘ theirs ‘ and they will do just about anything to get it. This is not a good thing. What has happened to my America? Where is the Dream? When did we leave the path? Can we ever find it again? Can you see our current representatives doing anything comparable to what our forefathers were able to accomplish, in the atmosphere of distrust and actual hatred that we see today? I can’t envision a time that they will be able to do so, and I find it just as hard to believe our forefathers were ever able to do so themselves, even at that time.

Twelve years to realize a Constitution. And not included at the end of that document, as an addendum or an afterthought, but first and foremost, the initial three Articles enumerated the three branches of our government. The first, the Executive branch, was to implement the laws created by the second branch, the Legislative, which determined the laws themselves, which the third branch, the Judicial, would confirm to be valid, and resolve any differences of opinion, based solely on the concepts put forward in the Constitution itself. Not personal opinion. No focus groups. Not expediency. Certainly not favor politics, and they never envisioned the political deals we see today, where political and personal gain far outweigh any patriotic and justifiable gain for the ‘ people ‘. When did ‘ We, the People ‘ become ‘ Mine, Mine, Mine ‘? Can we ever get back on track again?

There was never a mention of a fourth branch of government, a ‘ Fourth Estate ‘. The three branches were supposed to police each other, in essence they would police themselves. They were all set apart, well away from, and above, the regular citizenry. They were unfortunately all a part of a very select group, the same club. It was inevitable that they, at some point, would coalesce into a single entity. If ever there was a vulnerability in the concept of Constitution, the objectivity and integrity assumed by the framers for our representatives, was that weakness. Like the benevolent dictator, it works quite well while you enjoy a just and thoughtful individual of integrity and sound philosophy. But when it is time for a replacement, there can never be a guarantee that the latter can ever equal the former. The ‘ Fourth Estate ‘ was, and still is, a necessity, an imperative. Who can watch those who hold all the power? Who can police the police? The central problem with the Fourth Estate is that it is not even part of the Constitution, which may or may not be a good thing. Not a part of the government, which history shows probably is a good thing. Not really a part of anything. In theory, a beneficial thing. It should be a vibrant community that is of, by, and for the people, at all times. It must be inclusive of all points of view. Objective debate, always with integrity. Open to any and all to participate. But, although any individual can be a part of the ‘ Fourth Estate ‘, today it is run by people who have not shown an unbiased or impartial position in the past. Truth, Justice, and the American Way are but buzzwords that hold little if any importance to them, unless it be to further misdirect and manipulate a woefully under informed population. Maybe I am wrong, but it seemed that at one time there was an effort to at least attempt that objectivity necessary for their commentary to be considered relevant. Or valid. Or even truthful. It has devolved, in a relatively short period of time, to an adversary to the success of the American experiment, instead of an advocate or friend of the struggle to be free. They were to be a protector and defender of the idea of America. Is that the way you interpret them today? That is not what I see. Our congress has the distinction of enjoying the lowest favorability rating ever. And it doesn’t even seem to faze them. They continue to get re-elected so it’s not really important to them, not really a problem. It is not a surprise that they disrespect you. Or that you disrespect them. What will you ever do about it? The only thing people have less respect for than the congress is the ‘ Fourth Estate ‘ itself. And deservedly so. But we need them. The very future of this Great American Experiment is at stake.

We started as a country of ideas. Men of ideals. Men with vision. Who saw a better future for all. And tried to make it happen. Not perfect by any means. But they have been personally torn and shredded, by our own media, as men of little or no character. Some of what has been said may or may not be true. But who have we replaced them with? Do you see a bright future? Do you see the shining city on a hill in your mind’s eye? If not, then ‘ Lucy, you got a lotta ‘splainin’ to do! ‘. We have to start with holding our Fourth Estate to task for what they do. Our congress as well. How we do that I do not know, but I do know, as is said all too often, that ‘ if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem ‘. Don’t listen with your heart. Emotions are an integral part to understanding an issue, but terrible when in control of decisions. Listen with your mind, your reason. Embrace your philosophy. If you do not have one, it is high time you get on your path and look for one. Find one. Create one. Listen to your soul. It always knows. Educate yourself on the issues. Try not to be part of the problem. Resolve to be part of the solution.

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