Can we please stop putting the founding fathers on a pedestal? Half the people in this country act as if Thomas Jefferson and his cohorts were demi-gods sent here by Jesus to craft the perfect document.
Listen, I’m not going to argue that the founding fathers weren’t intelligent or that they didn’t have good intent. They were quite smart, and the government they formed was groundbreaking. But please, let’s not kid ourselves: the founders were far from perfect.
First of all, I know there are a lot of people out there who have wet dreams about the constitution, but it is not a perfect document. It never was, and it still isn’t. It’s a great document, sure. But it’s not the pinnacle of human creation, as some people like to expound. First of all, it’s been amended 27 times. Apparently the founders, in all of their wisdom, simply forgot about little things like…slavery. And letting women vote. Just slipped their perfect, visionary minds, I guess.
Which brings home the real point: although the founders were certainly biased against autocracy and created a form of government to reflect a distaste for abuse of power, the founders themselves were the ones in this country that wielded the power. The constitution was written by rich white men and designed to protect the interests of rich white men. Shocking, I know, especially considering that the “right to vote” isn’t even explicitly mentioned in the constitution, and that you couldn’t even vote at all unless you were a white, land-owning male until 1820. Oh, and did you know that US senators weren’t elected by popular vote until the 17th amendment was enacted in 1912? Hitherto the senators you sent to DC were elected by the state legislature. Representative democracy indeed.
Do not misunderstand me. I love this country and I love the freedoms afforded to me here. I just get sick and tired of all of this blind, irreverent worship of the “perfection” of the founding fathers. The founders weren’t perfect and they weren’t selfless and completely virtuous. Give credit where credit is due–the founders made the country we now live in possible, but it’s the American people who have made it great.