As of May, 2003, I have decided to no longer run for this office.  I am maintaining the website for several reasons, not the least of which is that the effort expended in developing the ideas was clearly worthy, and the work produced should therefore be preserved.  My further reasons for no longer seeking elective office can be found in this essay - Saving America from Ourselves.

from the 2004 Presidential Campaign of Joel A. Wendt: working paper #8

The Administration of George W. Bush,
the Rule of Citizen Governance
and the
 United States Constitution

Many people treat the U.S. Constitution as if it was something fixed in nature by which the present and future are bound.  This is not the case.  In truth the Constitution is the primal iteration of an Ideal.  The Ideal remains a living reality, while the written document is simply the current incarnation. Whenever citizens of the United States meet, and discuss their ideas about how their government should be or act, this discussion is the originating power, of which the document is but an image.  Granted, that while to change the document requires certain rules be obeyed, the power still resides in the People and not in the document.  In fact, were the People to decide to change the rules governing changing the document, this they could also do.

We need to always keep in mind that it is We the People from whom the legitimacy of the power exercised by any sitting government arises.  The Executive power exercised by the current Adminstration is not superior to this fundamental authority, but rather must see itself as its servant.

Unfortunately, the current Adminstration doesn't seem to understand how our constitutional government works, or what their role is within its remarkable design.  Let me see if I can trace the how this confusion has arisen.

At the time the United States of America was formed, most govenments in Western Civilization took the form of hereditary aristocracies.  Governmental power existed in King or Queen, the Sovereign Person.  This power had even been historically seen as derived from God, i.e. the so-called divine right of Kings.

Such power had often been used under the ideal of noblesse oblige , wherein the holder of aristocratic rank understood that it was accompanied by certain obligations of parental-like responsibility for those of lesser rank. At the same time, many members of the nobility forgot this ideal, and exercised their powers in arbritary and abusive fashion.  Eventually, as we all know, such abuses had to be opposed to the point of the separation of the American Colonies from the arbritary rule of the English Crown.

While the Founders of our form of government tried to create something that could be free of any return to the exercise of such arbritrary power, they did not succeed.  Even as the power of the hereditary aristocracies receeded, new concentrations of power arose surrounding those individuals and organizations to which great wealth had accumulated.  We now live in a time when the hereditary aristocracies have been succeeded by aristocracies of concentrated wealth.  While their abuses of arbritary power are less visible than that of the prior Kings and Queens, they nonetheless exist, as anyone with common sense knows.

At present, the American government is pretty much dominated by these abuses of power, which have, over the generations, become the normal way of doing business.  We have, in this last Century (the 20th) even seen the appearance of many of these families of concentrated wealth within the seats of power (the Roosevelts, the Rockefellers, the Kennedys and now the Bushes).

The result of this is that we no longer have the form of government authored by our Founders and contained in the constitution - a Republic.  Instead, we have what is essentially an oligarcy of wealth, hidden and subtle to be sure, but there as certain as the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West.

The further result of this is that while we have what appears to be a democratic Republic, the nature of how power is seen and used in the Executive Branch has more kinship with the previous arbritary rule of Kings and Queens.  The whole psychological approach to the use of power by the current Bush administration reveals this fundamental attitude.  Having won (or stolen, depending upon your point of view) the election, the current administration seeks to dominate the world through the use of its control of a seat of power whose existence is a grant from the American People.

This is clear from their whole approach to the issue of war with Iraq.  To help understand this it might be an aide to appreciate not only what is being done by this administration, but also what its real options are.

As discussed elsewhere in my papers (see for example, The Plan), the apparent dominant position of the United States in the world is not soley due to our capacities.  The genius of History (what our Founders might have called Divine Providence) is much more determinative.  We are a very young Nation, as such things go, much more akin to a person in late adolescence, than to a mature and wise People and culture.  

Even so, the genius of History has seen fit to place the United States in this position of apparent power and dominance.  At least that would be the normal adolescent view.  If we were to try to be more mature in our evaluation of our true circumstances, we might see that what we really have is an extraordinary opportunity on the one hand (for which we should be proud), and at the same an equally extraordinary responsibility (which should scare the pants off of us).

We need to see the moral essence of this in the following way.  How the United States acts in this position of responsibility provides the example by which the rest of the World will model itself.  What we do says to the rest of the Nations of the World (and their ruling elites): "This is the right way to act".

This is the standard by which We the People have the right (and the duty) to judge the current Bush adminstation's activities - what kind of example of how a Nation or a People should behave in the modern world are they providing.  Yet this adminstration has sought to represent us - to represent We the People - on the basis  of "might is right" and within some approach not unlike that of 19th Century imperialism.  In this confusion, the Bush administration conforms its thinking to the fundamentalist (past looking) ideology of the Christian Right and the bottom line goals of concentrated wealth.  This administration is thus blind to the true potential of the time, and the real task which the genius of History has placed before our People.

This is such an important point, that it is worth repeating.

The real question facing the American People in the present concerns leading the world into the future.  Our dominance, that which comes from the Genius of History, and which is not only making of Americans the People of Peoples, has also made of us the mightiest material power the world has ever seen.  This same dominance has potential within it a much higher purpose than that vain exercise of power the current Bush administration has undertaken.

This higher purpose, to which the administration is blind, really doesn't belong to any sitting government.  This higher purpose really belongs to We the People, to the emerging Citizen Governance Movement.  In our hands lies a great gift, born as a seed in the U. S. Constitution, and then nurtured through many trials now to a certain first crisis of maturity.   Will we leave that future potential in the hands of what is essentially an historically retarded empire building impulse as expressed by the current adminstration, or will we put our own hands to the task, and discover through the renewal groups and true civic conversation, that shared moral center from which we seek to honor the responsibilities the Genius of History has laid before us?