An Independence Day Message From President Garfield

Before being elected President, while serving in Congress, James Garfield stated at the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1876:

James A Garfield 250p“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature … If the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”

I’m sure that quote will garner its fair share of “amens,” especially among the political right. However, I expect most of those “amens” will be predicated on the supposition that it’s “the other guy” who has tolerated ignorance, recklessness and corruption in Congress by his vote for, and support of, “the other party.” You might want to hold up on passing judgment just yet, and look at some numbers first. Continue reading “An Independence Day Message From President Garfield”