“The time will and must come,
when honesty will receive its reward,
and when the people of this nation
will be brought to a sense of their duty,
and will pause and reflect how much it cost us to redeem ourselves from the government of one man.”
To a generation of early television viewers, Davy Crockett was a larger than life mythical television character, (“Raised in the woods so’s he knew every tree, Killed him a bear when he was only three”) but the real Col. David “Davy” Crockett’s life story doesn’t need any embellishing. Born into the infant nation in August of 1786, Crockett developed a reputation as a frontiersman, folk hero, story teller, politician, and soldier. His reputation carried him to Congress for three terms, though he also lost his seat twice because of his anti-Jackson advocacy.
In early May of 1834 (just two years before he died fighting at The Alamo), Col. Crockett arrived in Boston via stagecoach by way of Providence as part of a tour (“Object being to examine the grand manufacturing establishments of the country; and also to find out the condition of its literature and morals, the extent of its commerce, and the practical operation of ‘The Experiment'”). Crockett was treated like a prince in Boston. Crockett’s memoir of his travels documents his positive impressions of Boston, the hospitality he received, and the commerce and manufacturing he witnessed.
On one evening he was invited to speak to some young Whigs. On his way to speak to them, he toured the Charlestown Navy Yard and noted that The Constitution was in drydock there being retimbered. At the front of the ship, was a figure-head of Andrew Jackson. “…they had fixed him just where he had fixed himself, that was, before the Constitution”.
Crockett was a prominent and vocal opponent of Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act. He knew that this position would cost him politically in his district in Tennessee, but he stood firm in his opposition. (“I believed it was a wicked, unjust measure, and that I should go against it, let the cost against me be what it might.”)
Crockett’s speech to the young Whigs was a litany of Jackson’s abuses of power. Crockett lamented that the blood of our revolutionary forefathers may have been spilled in vain, less than 60 years after the Revolutionary War. “It has been decided by a majority of Congress, that Andrew Jackson shall be the Government, and that his will shall be the law of the land”.
180 years after Col. Crockett bared his concerns about our damaged Republic, it seems like we continue to repeat the same mistakes. For decades, Congress has ceded more and more power to the President, to unelected career bureaucrats, to appointed judges, and to petty regulators. Congress is supposed to represent the people and control the purse, but it has decayed into a useless, fetid, corpse of what our Constitution requires.
While many may feel comfort when their party occupies the White House, the imbalance in what was supposed to be a system of checks and balances will be fatal to the republic.
Republicans have failed as the party of fiscal conservatism, which was probably the single greatest concern that sparked the Tea Party movement almost 10 years ago. Republicans exploited this issue to gain support from Tea Party members, but their words have turned out to be empty rhetoric. We can cheer tax cuts, but there have been no counter balancing spending cuts. The pig that we used to represent Congress in 2009 is immobilized by its morbid obesity. The pig consumes everything, whether it is a blue pig or a red pig.
In his speech to the Whigs in Boston, Col. Crockett said “I this day walked over the great battle-ground of Bunker’s hill and thought whether it was possible that it was moistened with the sacred blood of our heroes in vain, and that we should forget what they fought for. I hope to see our once happy country restored to its former peace and happiness, and once more redeemed from tyranny and despotism…the true friends of liberty see the laws and constitution blotted out from the heads and hearts of the people’s leaders…They meet the same fate that they did before King George and his parliament.”
It is well past time for all Americans, regardless of party, to “pause and reflect how much it cost us to redeem ourselves from the government of one man.” Congress must reclaim its equal place in our tripartite system.