Quora: Has the U.S. Been Corrupt From Day One?

Washington and Jefferson on the Mt. Rushmore Memorial., 18 June 2010 photographed by Guy Moss. Guy Moss under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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Answer from Jim Moore, Journalist:

We now know our government has been corrupted since the beginning. Why haven't we, the people, done anything about it? Your question promotes an ignorant untruth: "We know our government has been corrupted since the beginning." That is simply not the case, and there is no historical support for that claim. You can cherry pick all the flaws you want, but the basket of those cherries is virtually empty compared to the overflowing basket of the sweet fruits of our republican form of government.

Is our government imperfect? Yes. Have some White House leaders and House and Senate members overstepped their moral and ethical obligations? Yes. Did the delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia have doubts about the future of a republican form of government? Yes.

But did they, in the end, with explanatory help from the Federalist Papers written by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, vote to create the most radically democratic government in world history? History tells us they did.

Corrupted from the beginning? Hardly.

When Americans see problems, when Americans call for changes to our laws and modifications to the Constitution, they exercise their rights to amend that living document. Do we all agree with those changes? No.

We are a diverse population, comprised of voters whose opinions are frequently strong and at odds with other voters. But when the votes are counted and a decision validated, we accept our responsibility to work within the laws or programs as one nation. Continuing dissent is a right, and the right to keep fighting for change is a sacrosanct right guaranteed by the Founders.

You can ask Trump supporters if they did something about what they perceived as a government that did not meet their expectations, and they have proof, sitting in the Oval Office today, that 'the people' did something about it--further refuting your already flawed argument.

I, for one, believe Trump's victory was an anomaly, a piece of bad electoral meat that erupted in the middle of the American digestive tract, resulting in heartburn at one end and expelled gas out the other.

But there is a remedy if Americans choose it: exercising their Constitutional right in 2018 and 2020 to cleanse the body of this piece of spoiled meat--which is, perhaps, the only piece of "corruption" valid in the question.

America emerged from a Revolutionary War with a strength forged in battle and blood; we were tested by, and subsequently survived the bloodiest war on our soil; lost a beloved President; we withstood the vicissitudes of Reconstruction; we helped beat back aggression in World War I; we grew by exponential steps in the 1920s; were subjected to the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in the 30s; rose above even our highest aspirations to drive the scourge of tyranny from the world in the 1940s; developed into a vibrant, intellectual, technological, and economic giant in the 1950s; were discouraged by a heartbreaking assassination, a nation-dividing war.

We were frustrated with continued injustices to African-Americans, and angered by the corruption of a President—and yet the center did not break. We wrote new laws protecting the civil rights of millions; we placed American footprints on the Moon; we brought our soldiers home from the jungles of Southeast Asia. We came together after 9–11. We moved on beyond our political peril and found new hope in the shining city on the hill.

Did we solve all our problems? Not yet. But we are work in progress.

Here is my answer to your question. It comes from William Faulkner's 1950 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, and it is one my sacred mantras:

"I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.

I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance."

America will not merely endure: we will prevail… our inexhaustible voice, our soul, our spirit of compassion and sacrifice…will endure.

We now know our government has be corrupted since the beginning. Why haven't we, the people, done anything about it? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

Quora: Has the U.S. Been Corrupt From Day One? | Opinion