We are Not Governed by Angels

We are Not Governed by Angels

By Kevin McCarthy – 9/6/20

A few years ago, it was one of those early spring perfect days and, as is often my habit on such days, I find an opportunity to avoid work at all costs. Of course, spring-fever being highly contagious, and with no masking or social distancing to deter it, I was easily able to infect my wife. “Shall we head west and take a drive into the rolling hills of Virginia … perhaps we can cruise down the Skyline Drive?” Sounded like a plan and, it was, so off we went. 

Then, I had an inspiration. As Virginia is so replete with American history, why not head toward a site often overlooked by tourists who, naturally, gravitate more toward the Mt. Vernon and Monticello historical sites. We decided to explore the home of James Madison at Montpelier, just west of Orange, Virginia. In recent years, the Montpelier site has had an extensive upgrade to bring it up to par with the other more famous aforementioned Virginia sites.

The grounds were absolutely beautiful, placed near the rolling foothills approaching the Blue Ridge mountains. The Madison family certainly had purchased, in 1723, a most choice picturesque plot of land. The grounds today stretch over 2,000 acres and with miles of walking trails. The main house tour is a virtual return to the late 18th century when James and Dolly Madison were living there. 

One of the most captivating moments of the tour was a swing through the library kept by James Madison. Standing there and gazing at shelf after shelf of books written by the world’s great thinkers of that era was a truly moving experience. I was in awe, thinking of the amount of effort that it probably took for Madison to collect such an expanse of knowledge. Where today, what was an hour and a half drive for us would have been a three-day journey for Madison. In our modern world, we have instantaneous access, literally at our fingertips, to all the world’s thought, old and new. However, in an ironic way, we seem to be far less informed then those who would have had to trudge through miles of dangerous wilderness, for days on end, just to arrive at a place where a precious commodity such as a book could be procured. Standing at the entrance to Madison’s library and study, I also felt the deep sense that this was one of the sacred laboratories where the ideas of a Constitutional Republic were mulled over and formulated. 

Sadly though, the tour ended on a very disconcerting note. As we returned to the welcome center, our youthful tour guide pointed to the wall where was inscribed some of James Madison’s most famous quotes. One of his most notable quotes, however, was stunningly misrepresented. It was the quote from Federalist 51. They had rendered only the first part of the quote which read: If Men were angels, no government would be necessary. What was missing was the most important point that Madison was making, that, yes, we are not angels so, yes, we need government. HOWEVER, and this is what they left out, the essential point: If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In other words, the very justification for the Constitution is that men, not angels, would be wielding government power and because they are not angels, we need internal and external controls UPON government. That is the very function and purpose of the Constitution. I wondered, long afterward, who would make such a decision to mutilate this historic phrase?

Apparently, the administrators of Montpelier believe the second half of the quote is no longer worthy to be displayed. It seems that it was intended that we should only retain the false notion that James Madison believed that because humans are so feckless, untrustworthy, and weak, we need an all-encompassing government. 

In more recent times that concern seems to have been confirmed as I peruse the Montpelier website. In their Independence Day, July 4, 2020 statement, is proudly displayed these words: 

Through our social media platforms and website, Montpelier is committed to creating new interpretive content that will amplify the stories of Black lives at Montpelier in support of Black Lives Matter.

It is no longer a secret that Marxist Progressives have usurped the history of our nation and are promoting an altered view. It is constantly promoted in our public schools and universities and is the “change” that Democrats opine for, as well as it being the constant drumbeat of the news media. We are being inundated with that message and it seems we cannot escape it, even on a pleasant spring day in the beautiful rolling hills of Virginia. 

Today, the greater threat of the Covid pandemic is not just the disease, but the fear that the Left attempts to leverage, so as to herd the public into their corner. We are not angels, you see, but are, as the Left sees us, cows needing government to care for us and to dictate what we must do. 

A case in point is the recent announcement by the Virginia Health Commissioner Norman Oliver that the administration of Governor Ralph Northam plans to MANDATE Covid vaccinations for all residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia as soon as they become available. When freedom-loving Virginians questioned whether the Governor had such power, the news media basically answered: “yes, he does,” as if we are supposed to just say, “oh, okay, just checking.” 

Oliver also told of an ominous-sounding “incident command center” that has been working in the state since June to “develop policies and to create a system” for vaccinating millions of Virginians when a vaccine for the coronavirus becomes available. Say what? … Develop policies and to create a system of mandated vaccinations? What policies and what systems? Obviously, it is to deal with those who refuse to comply, as there will be many who firmly reject the notion that government possesses such an authority. Despite their efforts to obfuscate Madison’s words at Montpelier, we are well aware that Northam and his Leftist hordes are, likewise, not angels. 

Oliver seems to indicate an awareness of this possibility for resistance when he explained to the Virginia Board of Health at its quarterly meeting that “educating” and communicating with the public about the vaccine will probably be the biggest challenge for state officials. “There is huge distrust around this issue because of politicization,” Oliver said. “That will present a huge challenge to us,” he admitted. 

You got that part right, Mr. Oliver, but the politicization has all come from the Progressive radical Left. The time may soon be upon us that we must take a stand for our inalienable rights and authorities as citizens, and if that moment arrives, the Left be forewarned, we most certainly will be resisting but it will not be like a serene band of angels.  

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