Thomas Ramey Watson

Checks and Balances–movement toward wholeness

I received this email today, July 4, 2009,  from an old colleague, Gene Marlatt.  I think it’s worth pondering, since good counseling encourages checks and balances without and within the human being.  A Freudian might say the healthy ego must moderate the basic drives of the id and the idealistic demands of the superego.

Lest we forget:

389 years ago the Mayflower Compact,a written agreement  (constitution) composed by a consensus of the Pilgrim settlers arriving at New Plymouth in November of 1620, was drawn up to establish a government,  with fair and equal laws, for the general good of the settlement and with the will of the majority.

233 years ago the Founders of

the United States drafted and adopted

the Declaration of Independence.

220 Years ago George Washington took the oath of office as  the First President of the United States under the longest running written democratic Constitution in history.
146 years ago on July 4 the North defeated Southern armies at the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg–events that saved a united United States and insured that slavery would indeed be abolished in every state of the United States.

91 yeas ago a coalition led by the democracies of France, England and the United States defeated the dictatorships of Germany and Austria.
64 years ago.the United States and its allies defeated the monster dictatorships of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany.
45 years ago American law made it unlawful for an employer to “fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions or privileges or employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Title VII of the act created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to implement the law.

20 years ago the Berlin Wall–a barrier to freedom first erected in Aug., 1961 by the Communist East German government at the orders of the Soviet Union

of Russia government along the border between East and West Berlin–.came down because of the long struggle for freedom by the United States in a Cold War against Communist Russia. . In a few months Communist East Germany fell, and three years later communism ended in Russia with the fall and breakup of the Soviet Union.

Lest we forget, these events did not just happen.

They happened, in part ,because of two of  the most powerful forces in history:  the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

Lest we forget, one of the driving ideas of both founding documents was the principle that “if men and women were angels, but they are not,” and governments to be effective and just most must recognize this.

This is described further in the following essay celebrating the meaning of the Fourth of July.

From “Founding Skeptics: Revolutionaries wth Clear Eyes,” by Rich Lowry, 7/03/2009,

[With interpolations by Gene Marlatt.  I’ve only included the first part of the essay and Marlatt’s comments.  Double click on link below to read the rest of Lowry’s essay.]


AS a nation, we were extraordinarily blessed in our revolutionaries [of 1776 and 1787, who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution].. It wasn’t just that they were brave and determined. So were the avatars of throughout the 20th century who wrecked nations and peoples[ e.g., Russian communism’s Lenin and Stalin, Cuba’s Castro].

No, what makes them so wondrously distinct is that they were also just and wise, grounded always in a clear-eyed view of human nature.

“There is a degree of depravity in mankind,” James Madison wrote in The Federalist Papers, “which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust.”

When [other] revolutionaries talk of depravity, it is often to brand their class or ethnic enemies for destruction. Gas chambers, prison camps and killing fields inevitably follow.

The depravity of which our Founders spoke was different. It ran through the hearts of all men, themselves included. It tempered their expectations of what they could, and what they should attempt to, achieve. No secular millennium, no perfectly harmonious republic — because, as Madison wrote, “the latent causes of faction [political parties, special interest groups and the like] are sown in the nature of man.”

For the rest of the Lowry’s essay click here.

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