The Compact Between Americans
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
It is said the USA has more of it’s citizens incarcerated, imprisoned, than any other nation on earth.
I heard this some time ago on TV. I wondered what reaction the person making the statement hoped to elicit from me, and others, who heard it.
My own reaction was… so what?
I mean, only a person having no understanding of the foundation of this country could be surprised by such a fact.
Now… for those of you who still think that is an awful thing to say about a nation… hold on a minute!
Consider the US is a nation founded on laws, on a written constitution, and a code of laws founded on that constitution, Old English Common Law, the laws of the Judeo-Christian religion, commonly known as the Ten Commandments, and a few other lesser known codes of laws. The US is a “nation of laws”.
Now, here is the “kicker”! Citizens of the US are free people… so long as they/we remain within the boundaries proscribed by the laws, which are made by their/our fellow citizens who have been vested with the power to create those laws.
America asks very little of her citizens. All she asks is that they/we obey the law(s) made by the citizens of the country.
If a US citizens, or anyone residing within the US decides, for whatever reason, to live outside those laws, or to ignore, or in any other way, break those laws, then the wrath of their fellow citizens, the people of the 50 states as a whole, will come down on them like a ton of bricks! And in a system such as ours… that is a good thing.
The fact that we have so many of our citizens in jail says nothing derogatory about our system of government. It DOES say a lot about how our family structure, our educational system, and our religious community, has failed and failed miserably.
The “American Family” is as close to non-existent as it has ever been. We can’t even decide what a family is, anymore! “The Church” has abrogated its position as the “setter of societal standards” and has, instead, adopted the aberrant behavior of many in our society as accepted… and even praiseworthy. No longer can a functioning American family point it’s young children to The Church for moral guidance. The Church has failed us miserably. As a result the American family has all but disappeared.
Our educational system has also failed… not only it’s students, but the parents of those students who entrusted their young into the hands of an educational system which no longer educates, but indoctrinates the innocent among us.
Those of you astonished when you hear statements about how many of our US citizens are in prison… remember this: Those imprisoned broke the compact, the covenant, with their fellow Americans to live by the laws of our land. They knew, before hand, their fellow citizens would require their freedom as payment for their transgressions.
So, do not even try to use the number of imprisoned Americans as a maul to hammer shame onto American society. It won’t work. Each American lives within a self-imposed covenant, or compact, of laws he has forged with his fellow Americans. This American Compact has managed to hold off the blackness of chaos and anarchy since the country was founded and it has allowed the US to become the preeminent power on the planet.
To those who would run our system of law down, we say: Do not speak of that which you do not know… and do not understand. Look first to your own government’s failure! If you are an American citizen and do not already know this… then the shame is on YOU!
© J. D. Longstreet