A Call to Good Citizens Everywhere

Keeping the Trust

Most governments throughout history have been the result of chance or military conquest. America stands out as a nation uniquely built on an idea–individual liberty and self-government in a Republic with a written Constitution. The people retain all sovereign power and authority and are represented by those they choose to elect. By securing and maintaining the “rights of human nature”, said James Madison, “the citizens of the United States are responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a political society.”

What is the state of that solemn trust today? What do we see? Is it principled government or runaway partisan politics? One U.S. Senator has said that when he first arrived in Washington, he was told by a more experienced senator, “If you want to stay here a long time “don’t do anything.” How true and how tragic! The less an elected representative does, the less controversial they become. Then, on Election Day, the “no news is good news” principle carries them to victory based on mere name recognition with no record of accomplishment to back it up. But we deserve more, don’t we? We are smarter than that, aren’t we?

Return to “First Principles”

Our government was never intended to grow in size and power beyond what is strictly required to achieve its limited purpose. What is that? Thomas Jefferson explained, “The happiness and prosperity of its citizens is the only legitimate object of government.” When we remember and follow such “first principles,” government fulfills its intended role as servant of the people but when we do not, government becomes a harsh and unwanted master. Ronald Reagan warned: “We”‘ve gone astray from first principles. We’ve lost sight of the rule that individual freedom and ingenuity are at the very core of everything we’ve accomplished. Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”

Difficult and contentious issues frequently arise in a free country such as ours. “The boisterous sea of liberty is indeed never without a wave,” said Thomas Jefferson. Thus, the great need for principled debate followed by principled action.
We need more leaders who follow a steady compass rather than a shifting weather vane and who will not sacrifice principle in the quest for popularity. Of course there is room for disagreement on various issues and public policy matters. Men and women of character may see the same thing differently. However, as Harry Truman declared, “Never trade principles for votes.” Those who do are what George Washington described and rejected as “mere politicians.”

Ideas have consequences and we are all diminished by widespread apathy or indifference. The spirit of true citizenship or neglect of civic duty spreads for good or ill to the degree our society moves in one direction or the other.

“The good citizen must never despair for our commonwealth,” wrote Jefferson. Still, he worried that the federal government was quickly usurping the rights reserved to the states and the people. He feared that government was becoming “arbitrary” (unprincipled). He warned that government could easily become “too complicated, too expensive” and that “offices and officers multiply unnecessarily and sometimes injuriously to the service they were meant to promote.” Time has surely magnified and validated those concerns.

Principled Government Calls for Informed and Dedicated Citizenship

There is so much that can be done by united, dedicated and well-informed citizens for the good of our families, our local communities, our state and our nation.

This website (www.citizensforprincipledgovernment.org) provides a forum to address today”‘s issues and help organize and mobilize CITIZENS FOR PRINCIPLED GOVERNMENT. Please join us by adding your name, comments and support. As President Theodore Roosevelt so wisely stated, every good citizen must carry their weight and be “more than a mere passenger.”

LaVar Christensen Signature

LaVar Christensen