How would you respond to the following question?
Overall, do you think the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be pleased or disappointed by the way the United States has turned out?
When Gallup pollsters asked Americans that question recently, 71 percent said the Founding Fathers would be disappointed. Seventy-one percent! Asked the same question a decade ago, only 48 percent figured the founders of the nation would be disappointed in the way their grand experiment turned out.
It’s easy to shrug off such polls. After all, what do Americans really know about the Founding Fathers? In Yahoo News today, Scott Bomboy cites these facts from a 2010 poll:
Many more people knew that the song “Beat it” was written by Michael Jackson than knew that the Bill of Rights was part of the Constitution, while 60 percent of people knew the number of children in TV’s Gosselin family, while only 11 percent could name the first chief justice of the Supreme Court.
Hey, I don’t know who the first chief justice of the Supreme Court was. Do you? But I know the current chief justice is a political pawn inflicted on the nation by that fathead, George W. Bush. And I’m confident the Founding Fathers would find him disappointing. As I understand it, they thought they were setting up a system of checks and balances, with Congress, the President and the Courts independent of each other. But the way things turned out, today’s Supreme Court – with its conservative majority – is basically an arm of the Republican Party.
I cannot imagine any of the Founding Fathers foreseeing a Justice like Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas. These guys don’t even pretend to be impartial and independent.
I live in America. I have become an American citizen. I am proud to be an American – or to be more accurate a Canjamerican (Canada-Jamaica-America , get it?) Those are three pretty decent countries.
But do I think they could be better? Yes, I do. America especially. America is the Big Dog, after all. As America goes, so goes the free world.
The Founding Fathers might not have foreseen such global dominance, but I’m sure they didn’t foresee the shenanigans that have accompanied such power, either. Do I think America could be more inspiring, more fair, more just, a shining example to the world? Do I think that’s what the Founding Fathers were hoping for?
So I have to agree with the 71 percent who reckon the Founding Fathers would be disappointed. They might not know their American history or the names of the men who sat on the first Supreme Court or who signed the Declaration of Independence, but in their hearts they know wrong from right. And a lot of what’s going on in America today just ain’t right.