Confidence in Congress is at what must be an all time low. We can’t know for sure, because the Gallup survey in question only dates back to 1973. Respondents are asked to rate their own level of confidence in a fairly long list of American institutions. The latest results released show Congress right at the bottom and the military right at the top. Small business, the police, and the church or organized religion follow the military at the top. Just above Congress at the bottom are HMO’s, Unions, Big Business, Media, and Banks. Huddled together in the middle are the presidency, the medical system, SCOTUS, public schools, and the criminal justice system.

Is there a pattern here? One way to analyze the anger inherent in these results is to remind ourselves of the Declaration of Independence which will celebrate 238 years of life on July 4. Everyone remembers Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, but what follows those world-changing words sheds a severe light on the current state of events. It states, “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” The words refer directly to the British Monarch but are so overarching that they echo with dangerous tones over two hundred years later. What had the Monarchy of King George III done to cause such anger? Some of the grievances make for uncomfortable reading: The first three complaints have to do with George III’s refusal to pass, or give assent to, “Laws of immediate and pressing importance.” Then follows complaints about interfering with Legislatures and elections, as well as interfering with immigration and the judiciary. Then comes this one: ” He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” Its corollary, Taxes without Consent, follows a little bit later.

This is a declaration of war on unrepresentative government and while it is not the Constitution, the anger sharpened into words that still live and burn themselves into our conscience should always serve any government and any member of Congress as a reminder of what the People, as divided and diverse as they may be, seek throughout the country – and around the world: the freedom to pursue happiness with reasonable guarantees of safety. The ties that bind Congress to the voters are strained to put it politely. Lets see what further unravelling of those ties November brings.

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