The quote is taken from Madison’s Federalist #51, published in 1788, where he discusses the importance of the separation of government powers to protect the rights of the individual and of the federal principles underpinning it.
So strong was Madison’s belief in the protection of individual rights against what he knew would be the inevitable encroachment of government upon them that on June 8, 1789, less than a year after the ratification of the nation’s new Constitution, he presented to the House of Representatives a Bill of Rights.
And when on December 15th, 1791 Virginia approved the first 10 of 12 proposed amendments, the world’s most significant delineation of individual rights and subsequent restriction of government power became the law of the land and took its place in the annals of human history.
A century and a half would pass until in August 1941 Congress passed a Joint Resolution requesting the President to “to issue a proclamation designating December 15, 1941, as Bill of Rights Day, calling upon officials of the Government to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on that day, and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and prayer”
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would issue that proclamation to a nation at peace on November, 27 1941. Yet by the time that 150th anniversary actually arrived, there were over 2400 Americans dead and the smoke and stench from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor eight days earlier was still lingering in the air; There would be no grand national celebration. For the blatant truth was that we were ill prepared and without a plan, and there was legitimate doubt among even the most serious of patriots what kind of America would emerge on the other side of the war it was now engulfed.
Germany and Japan both had equipment superior to anything the Americans had at the time and with all of Europe, much of North Africa, and most of the Western Pacific under Axis control the thought of America and England alone defeating such mighty forces already deployed in the field was a thought anything but certain.
Yes America, there was a time, a time not so very long ago, when the very survival of these United States of America and the ideals so enshrined to us by our Founders was very, very much in doubt.
So just 75 years later, how did we celebrate the 225th birthday of one of humanities most important documents? Front page coverage on the nation’s largest newspapers? Special segments on the network morning shows and evening newscasts? Perhaps a ceremony at the Capitol?
Sadly, the answer to those questions is a bold “none of the above”.
We instead were force fed the narrative of the day scripted by a desperate Democrat party and its allies in the main stream media doing everything possible to delegitimize legitimate election results. In the major newspapers it was non stop “the Russian’s did it” while in Hollywood it was a celebrity video pleading with electors of the Electoral College to ignore the will of the voters of their respective states and instead “vote their conscience” on December 19th to deny Mr. Trump the Presidency.
In 1941 movie stars and celebrities lined up to do whatever they could to support their country. Today they actively work to undermine it because their side lost. That isn’t patriotic, it’s just plain pathetic.
We’re free today because 75 years ago Americans before us stood up to the threat at hand. We owe nothing less to Americans 75 years in future to do the same. Even if today, that threat comes from within.
Editor’s Note: A version of this column first appeared in the December 18, 2016 print edition of the Joplin Globe.