It’s almost uncanny to have witnessed the steep decline of America’s establishment political class in recent times.
The past couple weeks alone have produced several astonishing developments. In no particular order, there was senile president Joe Biden ordering millions of Americans to accept one of the COVID-19 vaccines or risk losing their livelihoods. Meanwhile, “Republican” former President George W. Bush spoke to a crowd of mourners at a 9/11/01 commemoration ceremony and proceeded to equate Islamic fundamentalist terrorists with the unruly but mostly peaceful mob that visited the Capitol Building on January 6 of this year.
Then it was revealed that General Mark Milley had taken it upon himself to call Red China and assure the communists that he’d personally tip them off if any military action was ordered by then President Donald Trump. “Treasonous” might not be a strong enough term to describe Milley, who has become the latest poster child for all that’s wrong in American government today.
What would America’s Founders say if they had a voice in these troubled times? We don’t know for sure, but it’s interesting to speculate. Here’s one possible scenario:
--President Joe Biden is seated behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. Fresh off his mid-morning first and only briefing of the day, America’s chief executive is both somber and joyful at the same time. Saddened by the fact his approval ratings continue to crash (even among the most liberal of polling entities), Biden lowers his head and rests it on top of the desk, then lifts it slightly to draw a breath.
“At least I have my vaccine mandate pen” the forty-sixth president offered to no one in particular, oblivious to the fact that the dictate was one of the leading reasons why Americans no longer trust or like him anymore. Then the simpleton remembered the huge spending bills making their way through Congress this month and a smile cracked his lips for the first time in… well, he couldn’t remember how long.
‘Unconstitutional this, unconstitutional that, who cares, as long as I’m president’ he thought, suddenly besieged by the gripes from Republicans and even some Democrats, whiners who acted offended when he’s just trying to protect people by ordering them to inject a strange serum into their bodies and deal with whatever health consequences that might result from it.
Whirling around in his swivel chair, Biden asked the sculpture of Caesar Chavez behind his desk. “Tell me, Caesar, Caesar, in the bust, am I doing what the Founding Fathers would’ve wanted me to do? They hoped the president would govern like King George III, didn’t they? I’m giving the people what I think they deserve. What’s wrong with that? The King loved them then just as I do now.”
At that moment a shadowy figure entered the space, seemingly walking straight through a wall. Joe blinked slowly a couple times, wondering whether he was hallucinating again -- it happened often, especially when someone told him his political popularity was on the wane.
The virtually transparent man was short -- a mere 5 foot 4 inches tall -- and dressed in an outfit straight out of the musical “Hamilton,” though his skin was pale as a ghost -- not dark like the actor who portrayed him in the “woke” Broadway show. The otherworldly image appeared to have a full head of hair, though he had a strange part down the middle of his skull, making his coif look almost like it was a peninsula in the middle of an isthmus.
“Is that you, Dr. Fauci? What the heck, man? Or is it another ghost haunting me? First there were all those spooks at Christmas last year, then George Washington stopped by, and Thomas Jefferson came and visited me in my bedroom on the Fourth of July. Who, or what, are you? And what’s it gonna take to get you outta here?”
“Can’t you tell who I am?” the figure retorted in a wispy voice commensurate with his slight height. “I’m a fraternity member of yours, Joe, a president of the United States. I preceded you in office and was the third one to live in this house, though it’s changed a bit from when I was here. The British burned it at the time… maybe it was for renovation purposes?”
“Uh, let’s see,” Biden answered, counting on his fingers to help him solve the identity conundrum. “There was Washington… um, um, um… Jefferson? Then Andrew Jackson, wasn’t it? So you’re Andy Jackson!? Say, weren’t you one of the original Jackson Five, with Tito and Randy and Michael and Stonewall…Cool! Welcome aboard, m’ man, always great to see another racist fellow Democrat in real time! Sheesh, you were awful hard on them Indian savages, but no big deal, bro! How’ve you been all those centuries? They tried to rip down your statue across the street there, but I heard you’re still upright!”
The ghost rolled his blood red eyes -- which isn’t easy to do -- and stared blankly into space, pondering how to approach the subject with this doltish fool who somehow got elected president. “No, Joe, I’m James Madison, our nation’s fourth president. I followed Thomas Jefferson, remember? I’m sometimes called the Father of the Constitution and other times historians link me to the War of 1812, otherwise unfairly remembered as ‘Mr. Madison’s war.’ I’m also renowned for battling Alexander Hamilton and his cronies on the establishment of a national bank. I was against it before I was for it. I don’t take kindly on big federal power and big budgets. It could bankrupt a nation.”
Biden looked puzzled. ‘I don’t recall reading much about James Madison. And that Constitution stuff? How yesterday. What do I say to him?’
“I’ve always told Dr. Jill that my favorite Founding Father was you, James, because you’re related to Dolley Madison and I love her Ho Ho’s, Twinkies and Ding Dongs. The media always swears I’m an ice cream kinda guy, but I like anything with a lot of sugar in it. It helps keep me awake during the day. But oh, the crash and brain freeze at the end! I try not to eat ‘em before I talk to anyone, though. That one’s a no-brainer, bud.”
“What… is a ‘Ho Ho’, Joe?” the spirit asked, incredulous.
“Never mind, Jimmy. What can I do ya for today?”
“There’s been a major disturbance in the universe, Joe. The same America that myself and my contemporaries worked so hard to establish has, under you, turned into a tyrannical dictatorship where presidents and governors see fit to order citizens to accept medicine for a sickness they may never come down with and then y’all blow up government based on whatever you feel is the excuse of the moment.”
Madison continued, “Government is a necessary evil. I once wrote, and I quote, ‘If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.’”
Biden felt his head throbbing and on the verge of bursting, the same sensation he always experienced whenever really smart people started using big words around him. What the heck is an ‘auxiliary precaution’ anyway? And what was that part about angels and governing and… enabling government to control the governed? Isn’t that what I’m up to, controlling the governed? We’ll shoot ‘em so full of that vaccine stuff that they’ll drop to their knees and beg for more mandates from me.
Don’t forget that my fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill are behind me and they’re counting on me to lean on the “moderates” to pass our agenda, too. Madison’s right, men aren’t angels, but that doesn’t include women, does it? Nancy Pelosi is an angel for sure, and that Alexandria Ocasio Cortez? She’s got the face of one. So it all works.
“Times have changed, Jim-bo,” Biden blubbered, trying to think of something clever to say. “When were you president, anyway? Wasn’t it the year 1607 or something? We got way more than hostile native tribes and Spanish conquistadores to worry about now, friend. The common people can’t be trusted to make decisions on their own. And those red state governors, they’re letting the virus spread all over like illegal aliens jumping a river. I’m the head honcho. And the federal government has to tell people what to do.
“I ain’t going for no ‘republican form of government’ neither, when it’s run by Republicans. You catchin’ my drift, eighteenth century boy?”
Madison was floored by what he’d just heard and the rudeness in which it was said. The situation is far worse than he’d ever imagined. Sternly, the bookish Virginian replied, “In the first place, it is to be remembered, that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.”
“Bingo!” Joe shouted, which startled the Founding phantom. “The COVID-19 thing can only be dealt with on the national level -- or how you phrased it, by the ‘general government’. Otherwise, it would get out of control. In our time we have flying machines called airplanes that go to and fro and people breathe on each other the whole time in them. Wear a mask, gosh darnit! And all the experts worth listening to are right here in Washington, just a limo ride away. There’s no room for individual choice! The states don’t know jack about it either.
Recognizing that Madison appeared unconvinced, Biden went on, “You think Ron DeSantis knows more about how to safeguard his people than that cutie Gretchen Whitmer does? She’s got the brain and voice and face of a male howler monkey! Or how about my pal Andrew Cuomo? Or my ideological soulmate Gavin Newsom? Those dimwitted imbeciles in California just defeated the recall effort. Huzzah!
“Submit or die… wasn’t that one of your revolutionary slogans?”
Madison glanced at the room’s grandfather clock, wondering how much longer he had to endure this modern twenty-first century moron. These authoritarians somehow acquired the notion that it was up to the federal government to make every single decision for the People. How did this happen? Doesn’t anyone understand the Constitution any longer? Was it all for naught?
“The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government,” Madison said thoughtfully, hoping something -- anything -- might sink into this old clown’s rock-hard skull.
“Charity! Who’s talking about charity?” Joe bellowed in response, his body shaking with rage. “The people need all that stuff, like electric charging stations and green energy wind farms and race-based preferences for infrastructure hiring. You know, student loan forgiveness and federal subsidies for childcare and elder care. People kicked the bucket early in your day, Jimmy, so no wonder the government bowed out of the duty of providing for the old folks. What a bunch of wimps!
“I’ve had all I can stand from you, mister. Say anything more and I’m kickin’ you out of the Founding Dudes club, too. You’re not even vaccinated! Are you? And you’re not wearing a mask! I don’t care if you’re already dead! You can still spread the virus to the non-vaccinated and your fellow stiffs in the cemetery! Loser! Where’s General Milley? Call the Chinese! Call Vladimir Putin! Call General Rochambeau! What about Patrick Henry? He was right about you! He called you an imp! I heard it myself at Colonial Williamsburg!
“Call the CDC! Call the NIH! Get Fauci on the phone! Tell him to get over here and to bring like a hundred shots with him! We’ll show YOU, Mr. Mad-i-son!
“And I’ll order the police to stand down while Black Lives Matter and Antifa tear down every statue of you that’s still remaining. Lastly, I’m gonna write out an executive order demanding that James Madison University change its name to the ‘Joe Biden Academy for the Mentally Slipping’. Geeeetttttt Ouuuuuuttttt of here!!!! Haunt someone else who gives a crap!”
At that, the apparition of James Madison disappeared, having failed to convince the near half-century swamp dweller to give up his ill-begotten power. Biden was proud that he’d stood up to the Founding Fathers on the proper role of government in our times. What would they know about solving problems, anyway?
-- It’s unfortunate that we can’t hear the voices of the Founding Fathers today, for they could provide perspective on all that’s happening around us. First and foremost, the great men were astute observers of human nature and the inherent flaws that go along with it. James Madison was the primary brain behind the Constitution. If only he were alive today!