Some Advice From Abraham Lincoln
Shaun Kerry, M.D.
Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
In Lincoln's first inaugural address, he said:
"I do not forget the position assumed by some, that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court; nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding in any case, upon the parties to a suit, as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases, by all other departments of the government.
And while it is obviously possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil effect following it, being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be overruled, and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of a different practice.
At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government, upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having, to that extent, practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal."
If our founding fathers were alive today, I believe they would say that people have ceased to be their own rulers - that we have abdicated our role as leaders in our own democracy, and instead, resigned that power to the government, political parties and their money, and the institutions that those entities have created.
A Plan of Action
If the people are going to take control of the society and become their own rulers, they must first clearly define what they hope to accomplish. If their goals and plans are vague or conflicting, then nothing will change. Furthermore, we must not be distracted by smaller - though important - issues, and for the time being, focus on the root causes of our societal problems. If someone is obsessed with abortion or school prayer, he is bound to come into some type of opposition. Most likely, he will not accomplish anything.
But if we focus on the bigger picture, we will find that most everyone agrees that our society is dysfunctional. Declaring that someone or something is evil will do nothing to help change the present system. Neither anger nor an excessive list of complaints is going to solve the problem. We need more than dissatisfaction to bring about change. Some people may be apathetic, because they have been raised to believe that our problems are an inherent part of our form of government. Someone once said, "It is very imperfect, but it is still the best form of government formed by man." This implies that we have to accept these flaws that plague our present system, but that is not the case.
If people clearly define the root causes of our government's dysfunction, and create specific demands as to what should be changed, they will get what they want.