Americans grow up having it drummed into our minds that our system of government is the best in the world. That belief is shared by Americans across the political spectrum and is a matter of great national pride. However, yesterday, as I absorbed the results of Tuesday’s election, as I have in the past, I wondered whether that is just our own brand of self-brainwashing. Perhaps it is the best, when compared with other systems, and perhaps it isn’t.
Forms of government are the invention of people and people are imperfect, so there is likely no ideal form of government, and ours, however imperfect it may be, may be the best – but perhaps it is not. As I tally up vote counts, I had to wonder, is an ideal government one that persistently thwarts the will of a clear majority of its citizens? Is our government the “best of all possible worlds” when the majority of the nation’s inhabitants are made to feel like an ignored minority and “the enemy of the people?” As the majority, WE ARE the people. Am I my own enemy? I think not.
I leave it to better political minds to think about what the solution might be, but to those who stand by the Constitution as if it had come down from the mountain, I remind them that it was written by men – very good men – but men nonetheless, and written for a particular time. If there is better to had, that would be a better instrument of expression for the majority of this nation’s citizens, it should be considered.
With that thought, I then turned to my music, that perpetual source of beauty and solace, and composed another song, setting the fourth poem in Guillaume Machaut’s “Le Lay de Plour” for Laure Slapiak’s rich, beautiful contralto voice. Just a coincidence, but the words of that poem begin with “Raisons et Droiture…” – Reason and Justice. We could use more of that!