Thanksgiving In America, what if?

“Government needs appearances. Make believe that the king is divine, make believe that he can do no harm, or make believe that the voice of the people is the voice of God. Make believe that the people have a voice, or believe that the representatives of the people are people. Make believe that the governors are the servants of the people. Make believe all men are created equal or make believe they are not. — Edmund S. Morgan (1916-2013)

What if the government’s real goal is to perpetuate its power? What if agents and diplomats, bureaucrats and central bankers pull the real levers of government behind the scenes? What if they stay in power regardless of who is elected president or which political party controls which house of Congress?

What if the frequent public displays of unhappiness between Republicans and Democrats are just a facade? What if the two major political parties agree on today’s fundamental issues?

What if the leadership of both political parties believe that our rights are not inherent to our humanity, but gifts from the government? What if these leaders believe that a government that gives gifts to the people can take those gifts away?

What if the leadership of both parties pays lip service to President Thomas Jefferson’s declarations in the Declaration of Independence that all men “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and that then , when the government infringes on our natural rights, can we “alter or repeal” them?

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What if the leadership of both parties quietly dismisses these ideas as outdated Jeffersonian musings? What if Jefferson’s words are included in a federal law that all members of the government are sworn to uphold?

What if the leadership of both political parties believes that the constitutional requirement of due process somehow allows mothers, out of fear or convenience, to hire doctors to kill the babies in their wombs? What if the leadership of both political parties believes that the president can legally kill any foreigner out of fear of inconveniencing due process?

What if the last four presidents—two from each major political party—have used high-tech drones to kill innocent people in foreign countries the United States is not at war with, and claim they did so legally without relying on declarations of war from Congress, but to the flawed and secret arguments that claim that American presidents can be killed with impunity?

What if the Constitution requires a declaration of war or due process by Congress whenever the government wants someone’s life, liberty, or property, whether it’s convenient or not, and whether that person is an American or not? What if due process meant a fair trial by jury instead of a covertly ordered killing?

What if a majority of members of Congress from both political parties believe in perpetual war and perpetual debt? What if the political class believes that war is national health? What if the leadership of this class wants a war to foster the loyalty of their base, open the pockets of taxpayers, and gain the compliance of voters? What if the political class uses war to enrich their benefactors? What if the government has paid for the war by increasing the debt?

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What if the current $31 trillion federal government debt is due to borrowing to pay for wars and fake prosperity? What if the federal government collects about $4 trillion each year but spends about $6.8 trillion? What if the feds borrow money to pay $500 billion in interest annually?

What if borrowing money to pay interest on borrowed money is madness? What if American taxpayers are still paying interest on the debts incurred by Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and every president since World War II?

What if banks have borrowed the money they lend? What if they can’t pay it back? What if the stock market once skyrocketed on money borrowed at artificially low interest rates?

What if the government demands transparency from us but refuses to be transparent to us? What if government leaders ostensibly claim to work for us, but tacitly admit that we work for the government?

What if the federal government has access to all of our electronic communications, bank accounts, medical and legal records, and utility and credit card bills? What if the government knows more about us than we know about it?

What if the federal government stays in power by bribing the states with cash, the rich with bailouts, the middle class with tax cuts, and the poor with welfare?

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What if the government believes that the Constitution is fictitious and does not apply in bad times? What if it believes it can cure disease by forcing experimental drugs on the healthy? What if it mocks the law? What if the government the founders gave us needed our permission to do almost everything? What if today we need government permission to do almost anything?

What if on Thanksgiving we were thankful, not to the government that attacks our freedoms and steals our wealth, but to the God who gave us our freedoms and the ability to earn wealth?

What if on Thanksgiving we are thankful for life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the exercise of free will and human reason?

What if they are part of our humanity despite government attacks on them?

What if Thanksgiving has become a four-day oasis from an unstable government blind to the consequences of borrowing, killing, and attacks on freedom?

What if on Thanksgiving we are very thankful that we are free creatures made in the image and likeness of God?

What if on Thanksgiving we begin to change or abolish the government, ostensibly or not?

Happy Thanksgiving.

• Andrew P. Napolitano is a former law professor and New Jersey Supreme Court justice who has published nine books on the US Constitution.


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