Duff O'Melia

The Consent of the Governed

From the United States Declaration of Independence :

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

From George Bush’s Final State of the Union :

On education, we must trust students to learn if given the chance and empower parents to demand results from our schools.

The federal government “empowering” parents? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Doesn’t the federal government become empowered by the consent of the governed? The president used the word “empower” at least 11 times in the State of the Union address. Where did the federal government get the authority to “empower” the people? Wasn’t the power already in the people at the start?

Republican and conservative politicians talk ad nauseam about getting government off our backs and making government smaller. Then in their next breath they refer to new government programs they’d like to introduce. The cognitive dissonance can be quite disturbing.