Revolutions are part of the natural cycles of governance and are often required to bring forth change. Change is the one result of revolution that is guaranteed. Desirable change is not guaranteed and is the least likely of all the possible results from a revolution. The one consequence of revolution is unpredictability and such uncertainty is a wicked mistress. The closest analogy of revolution in nature is fire. The great plains and forests of the world left to nature will suffer cleansing fires as that is nature’s way of effecting change. The renewals resultant from these flames is necessary in the cycles of renewal by Mother Nature. The other similarity between nature’s renewal by fire and political renewal by revolution is that each is an extremely dangerous process to all living things within the effects of the sweeping flames of change. The forests and plains then reset to an original starting point from which nature rebuilds eventually reaching the point where the conditions will eventually again reach the point where the conditions are ripe for the next renewal by fire. Governance of man is similar in that the governance that results from any revolution is not guaranteed and, more often than not, the forces in control at the end of the revolution are rarely the same forces that began the revolution. The recent revolutions in the Middle East are perfect examples of this consequence.
The originators of the Egyptian uprising, for example, were students and young adults who using the new high tech media began a revolution that presented the opportunity for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists to step in and reap the rewards from the wind swept flames of change. Similar results followed from what began actually in 2009 Iran where the students and many from the society protested the stealing of the election by Ahmadinejad and were violently oppressed. Their attempt at change failed largely due to the timidity by the rest of the world to support their calls for relief from despotic rule. The next country was Tunisia where a vegetable street vendor reached beyond his limits and revolted by self-immolation. This was the spark that lighted the flames of revolution in Tunisia which then ignited across Northern Africa and beyond. The original protests were demands for freedom, democratic representation, liberty, and an end to economic repressions. The results have thus far been the replacement of nationalistic dictators with the election of Islamic religious leaderships which may result in the imposition of a new dictatorial type of theocratic tyrannies. The freedom expressing youth who wished for modernized democratic governance began these revolutions and the theocratic fundamentalists had the organizational presence to take advantage of an unstable leadership vacuum which they used all their influence and power to fill while displacing the idealistic youth. The history of revolutions will verify the posit that those who initiate revolution are more often than not cast aside by other forces who have the necessary organization in the ready seemingly waiting for just such an opportunity to divert the situation for their own gain.
There are those who believe that a revolution may be required in order to reinstitute the original Constitutional limits and reinstate idealistic governance that they believe existed at the birth of the United States and honestly believe that they would be able to control the transformation once the existing governance had been toppled making room for their visions to be realized. Other than the disillusioned truth that even at the time that George Washington was taking the oath of office the constitution was on the verge of being compromised as soon as Congress was seated. The Constitutional standard set forth in the actual document was an idealistic governance for which we were to strive and described a perfection which was to be minded in order to limit the evils to which men fall victim simply due to the fact that all are imperfect and corruptible when compared to a perfection of the vision such as presented in the Constitution. The ideal is near impossible yet is what must be the used definition of governance if society is to have any possibility of resisting the temptations that lead to corrupt ruling leadership that result from partaking of a taste of power. The problem with any revolution, even one with the stated goal of reinstating the original Constitution in its entirety, the temptations of power will work their tantalizations on those who find themselves as leaders. Since revolutions will tend to appoint or have some assume power, they leave the aims of the revolution to become victim of the desires of those trusted with leadership. History has proven that those trusted with leadership often break every vow and trust that was instituted when they first assumed leadership and power. As the old phrase states, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
When looking at the current state of political power in the United States and comparing it to the allocations of power according to the Constitution, one finds the structure which was meant to protect the individual States from an overreaching central government have been completely turned on their head. This is very much a stipulation for change that is made by those who believe the time has come to take whatever steps may be required to reset the governance of the United States back to the originating Constitutional arrangements. The problem is there is far too much risk in attempting to force such a change as those in power will not likely surrender that which they now hold. Forcing the issue would necessitate revolution and the flames of change are usually not kind. The only guaranteed manner of reasserting the limits and doctrines of the Constitution is to go through a period of disciplined change in order to undo over two hundred years of compromise. Such an endeavor would take near inhuman dedication over generations all the while resisting the exact same temptations which caused this problem in the first place. The problem is that each compromise committed to the purity of the Constitution was seen and accepted as an improvement or necessity and was generally approved by the majority at their inception. The perfect example would be the Seventeenth Amendment which called for a change in the manner for the selection of United States Senators. In accordance with the humanistic philosophies of the period where it was theorized that the people as a whole entity were of superior intelligence and pure nature than were the State Governments which were seen as even more corrupt than the Federal Government. This caused the belief that the citizenry would be preferred to be given the power to elect their Senators instead of allowing the State Legislators or Governor to appoint them. This was seen as advantageous and the Constitutional Amendment was presumably ratified as such. The theory that the Senate was to be the house that represented the individual States was set aside and transformed to mean the Senators were to represent the will of the peoples of each State. This was definitely to the advantage of the powers in Washington as it completely removed any vestige of power over the Federal Government actions and laws from the State legislators or other governmental power. This one Amendment may have had the most far reaching affect in subsuming power from the States into the centralized Federal Government. To undo the evisceration of the United States Constitution by two centuries of compromises and cheating performed by the representatives of the people, often despite vocal protests from a minority of strict constitutionalists, the people must be convinced it is in their vital interest to partake of an effort to reassert the original limitations, definitions, identifications, and structures of the Constitution of the Federal Government and all other forms of governance throughout the United States. Even if this should become evident, it would then take transmitting this eminent desire to the ensuing generations very likely for far longer than it took allowing for the constitution to be abridged. That will be one difficult and possibly climbable mountain to conquer, but likely a worthy goal. It is that very difficulty that makes the idea of revolution and quick restoration so tempting, but that allure would likely not produce the desired end. The fires of change tend to burn out of the control of those who lighted the initial flames.
Beyond the Cusp