Republicans love nothing more than to cite our Found Fathers to justify anything from small government to racism. The truth is a little more complicated for them. Here are 14 quotes that should teach them something different than their typical brand of nonsense to which we have become accustom:
1. “The American states have gone far in assisting the progress of truth; but they have stopped short of perfection. They ought to have given every honest citizen an equal right to enjoy his religion and an equal title to all civil emoluments, without obliging him to tell his religion. Every interference of the civil power in regulating opinion, is an impious attempt to take the business of the Deity out of his own hands; and every preference given to any religious denomination, is so far slavery and bigotry.”
~Founding Father Noah Webster, calling for no religious tests to serve in public office, Sketches of American Policy, 1785
There are so many right-wing and conservative Republicans who believe that America is a Christian nation and only a Christian nation. Donald Trump alone wants to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. Can you imagine how disturbed and disgusted the Founding Fathers would be to hear some of this language?
2. “Knowledge and liberty are so prevalent in this country, that I do not believe that the United States would ever be disposed to establish one religious sect, and lay all others under legal disabilities. But as we know not what may take place hereafter, and any such test would be exceedingly injurious to the rights of free citizens, I cannot think it altogether superfluous to have added a clause, which secures us from the possibility of such oppression.”
~Founding Father Oliver Wolcott, Connecticut Ratifying Convention, 9 January 1788
Our United States would never establish one religious sect? While our Founding Fathers intended for that to be the case for our country, it seems the GOP will stop at nothing to turn this into a Christian nation. Displaying the 10 Commandments in government buildings, insisting that schools teach Christian theology like creationism and abstinence-only education, all are part of the right-wing agenda. Our Founding Fathers wouldn’t approve.
3. “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom — go home from us in peace.”
Fairly certain there are many elected officials who would and have chosen wealth over liberty. If they are taking huge sums of money from one person, chances are there are strings attached. True liberty is a freedom to cast any vote you choose. Far too many are beholden to their donors.
4. “I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
It’s as if Jefferson predicted the Citizens United ruling. Just like Adams, Jefferson clearly believes that corporations are NOT people.
5.“As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.”
It is as if Washington wanted America to become a liberal nation and believed in big government. What would Paul Ryan do?
6. “As to Taxes, they are evidently inseparable from Government. It is impossible without them to pay the debts of the nation, to protect it from foreign danger, or to secure individuals from lawless violence and rapine.”
~Alexander Hamilton: Address to the Electors of the State of New York, March, 1801
Republicans are to tax cuts as leaves are to trees, but that is not the way you run a great nation nor the way you maintain the care and prosperity of its people.
7. “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people.”
Year after year our states cut funding to education. Whether it’s K-12 or higher education, state legislatures are crushing one of the most critical elements of our free society. If there’s one thing our Founding Fathers believed in it was education and knowledge. If the GOP really followed the first leaders of our nation they would be investing more in schools and less in prisons and defense contractors.
8. “Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another. It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man.”
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” the Declaration of Independence began. Until that point in history, no one dared to write those words down. Yet, this is a fight we have continued throughout the course of our nation. It is a fight we continue to this day. While we have freed the slaves and allowed marriage equality, in many states women are still not allowed to make their own health care decisions and transgender people are hardly even treated as human. Our founders wanted us to be better than that. We owe it to them and to ourselves to be.
9. “The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride legitimately, by the grace of God.”
Why Republicans hate science is beyond me. Science cures the sick, creates awesome inventions and helps us explore worlds outside our own. This is part of the basic knowledge and education our founders believed our people needed. Ignoring science like evolution or climate change will only do our world more harm.
10. “As riches increase and accumulate in few hands, as luxury prevails in society, virtue will be in a greater degree considered as only a graceful appendage of wealth, and the tendency of things will be to depart from the republican standard.” ~Alexander Hamilton
It is as if the founders foresaw the accumulation of wealth for the one percent and were warning us against it. Republicans like to mock the idea of “spreading wealth around” but it is clear that the fathers of our nation considered it essential to maintaining our future.
11. “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”
Again with the importance of education, but not just any education, a well-rounded approach to education. Mathematics and science are nothing without a soul to house the knowledge and that comes from poetry, music and the arts.
12. “We look forward to the time when the power to love will replace the love of power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.”
There are far too many who strive for power and possess a sense of entitlement. Mitt Romney was that way until he lost the election so badly. It was as if the country’s rejection of him taught him that he was not entitled to anything. The same can be said for Jeb Bush started the GOP primary with a sense of entitlement believing he deserves the White House. Those who seek power instead of service deserve neither.
13. “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men…”
I’m sure we would all give anything if the GOP believe this, particularly when it comes to prosperity and happiness. Such things are not afforded to only those that can afford to buy them but to all Americans regardless of race or gender or status. These should be our American values, instead, they are only the values of some.
14. “Born in other countries, yet believing you could be happy in this, our laws acknowledge, as they should do, your right to join us in society, conforming, as I doubt not you will do, to our established rules.”
If there’s one thing Donald Trump stokes it is the fear of others coming into our country. Nothing is more American than immigrants, and yet he and others want us to close the door on our country. Being a true American means believing and spreading the values of our Founding Fathers. We have an advanced citizenship that requires of us a greater compassion than that of ignorant racism or xenophobia.
If you believe in America and you believe in the ideals on which we were founded, then the GOP is not the place for you.
Feature image via Wikipedia