Most of us are unaware, that our Democratic form of government did not originate with our early European settler after their arrival to the new continent. They were actually attempting to escape the Anarchy and Monarchy forms of government that were prevalent throughout Europe. They were searching for religious freedom and freedom of choice. Our Egalitarian Democratic form of government was actually patterned after native democracies of North America. The early eighteenth century was a period of struggle for the colonists, against the empires of France and England. The colonists turned to the Iroquois for support against The French. This provided their initial exposure to the Iroquois and other native leaders and their political systems. In 1744, Chief Canassatego advised the assembled colonial governors on the Iroquois concepts of unity and recommended the formation of the Federation of the Thirteen Colonies, following the principles of the Iroquois Federation. This was the beginning of our egalitarian democratic system that vaulted the United States to a world leadership role. Listen to the words of the great chief Canassatego, " Our wise forefathers established Union and Amity between the Five Nations. This has made us formidable; this has given us great Weight and Authority with our neighboring Nations. We are a powerful Confederacy; and by your observing the same methods, our wise forefathers have taken, you will acquire such strength and power. Therefore whatever befalls you, never fall out with one another." Yes, it was the Native Americans that introduced us to the free democratic form of government, which spread to Europe after they observed the success of our country. It was now necessary to develop a governing body capable of implementing this democratic government based on equality, freedom and independence, a government by the people and for the people. This was accomplished by electing individuals known as public servants, to represent the citizens. To begin with, these representatives spent only 2 to 4 months on the job. With the passage of time, these representatives became known as politicians and spent their entire year as a governing body. Term limits were placed on the President but, members of the legislative branch had no limits and their goal became election and re-election. We must remember the purpose of the government was to protect our freedom, equality and independence by establishing reasonable rules and regulations for our society, and pooling our financial resources to solve major complex problems, unsolvable by individuals.
It was not long before efforts to influence the decisions of our government began to surface. With no limits on time in place or costs to secure an elected position, the wealthy began buying influence by financing candidates and hiring lobbyists. Today, there are 3 lobbyists for every elected representative in our Nation's Capital. We now spent as much as 2 BILLION dollars per candidate in a Presidential election that pays $400,000.00 per year for four years. One candidate spent 49 million dollars just to secure the party nomination in the primaries. Campaign financing is resulting in elected candidates being committed to the sources of the financing rather than the voting public.
For the past several years, we have observed attempts to influence the vote by gerrymandering districts to include people that tend to vote for one party or the other. Major efforts have been implemented to restrict voter access by restricting the number of voting sites, particularly in areas of minority and lower income populations live. Stricter voter registration requirements that tend to restrict some members of our society have been debated and implemented.
Yes, much has changed in our political systems and it seems many recent changes are moving toward a more autocratic approach to maintaining power. How do we re-focus our political system on freedom, equality and independence of the people and for the people? It was the people of this country that provided the leadership when we were establishing the frame-work for the foundation of our egalitarian democratic government and it is the people that must provide the direction for our elected representatives, public servants, through the power of their vote.
Looking back historically, we can view some of the changes implemented in the formation of autocratic governments. Movements toward autocracy requires control which is done by a variety of restrictions tending to control the voting process, increased emphases on military might, efforts to discredit the rule of law and political roles for the military leaders. Think about it! What kind of future do we want? It is up to the people but, for me, I want to hold on to what we have built and work to improve it!