John Conyers and Al Franken, representative and senator respectively, do share one thing in common, and that is being too comfortable in their position. They arrived at their respective positions through the accumulation of power by two, divergent means. One is the power within an inordinate amount of time, accumulated in the Halls of Congress. The other is wealth accumulated through conventional means.

Which type of power is the more indispensable in terms of a mindset? This author submits that it is time. By the same token, it is also time for Representative Conyers and many of his colleagues to ride off into a glorious sunset.

While there may still be sunsets for some, it is too late for others.

If education is elitist, government can't exist

There are a bevy of websites nowadays which have content pertaining to the Founding Fathers. A majority of such sites also allow comments. Many of them advocate that as structured, the U.S. governmental system benefits only the elite. They might also argue it seems fitting since some of the Founding Fathers were in the very same, elite class

History may support the theory that education is somewhat elitist. One need only to review recent activities here in the U.S.

at some Ivy League schools, supposed stalwarts of free-thinking via higher education. Recent on-campus actions and activism that have played out are certainly elitist, but lacking in any higher-education purpose beyond freedom-of-speech.

From the time of the Founding Fathers back to the Athenian debates involving both patricians and plebeians, education was the cornerstone of higher thought.

The challenge has always been how to actualize such abstract, altruistic, and cerebral concepts. For all of their faults, The Athenian system included input in its democracy via the working or merchant class, the plebeians. For all of their faults, the Founding Fathers took all of that into account in perhaps the greatest, philanthropic endeavor ever attempted.

A post-mortem since their passing unequivocally shows that the average U.S. citizen has benefited. However, the same citizens educated or not, encounter a plethora of roadblocks to running for office. The challenges are twofold. Without wealth or power, or a combo of the two, "joining" the government is simply out of reach.

If government exists, education must persist

The Founding Fathers were quite gifted in all their eloquent oratory. As a collective body, no one single entity has spawned more thought (arguably) after-the-fact. Included herein and pursuant to the subject matter, are just a few of their quotes, somewhat paraphrased:

  • Thomas Jefferson warned about cherishing the spirit of the people; to keep it alive through enlightenment and should their inattention take hold, the body-government would become like wolves (January 17, 1787)-
  • Benjamin Franklin warned of the acquiring of wealth being threefold. The first is by war and plundering a-la the Romans, e.g., robbery. The second is by commerce which can be easily manipulated, e.g., cheating. The third is by farming, the only honest occupation whereby through the miracles of Nature, a man can earn a very honorable and virtuous living supporting a nation (April 4, 1769)-

These two, lesser-known quotes from two of the more, oft-quoted founders go hand-in-hand.

They lend themselves to the premise of this article being those in government should care if their constituents are not paying attention and refrain from gaming the system. The second is to acquire wealth through honorable vocations.

It is safe to say good ol' Ben would not approve of acquiring wealth by lingering in Congress nor because of one's wealth, an ability to stave off any worthy challengers. The previously listed tweet-vid exemplifies the opposite of what the Founders prognosticated about the higher calling of representative government.

When education persists, power to the people

Representative John Conyers is the longest active Congressman among current members and is only a few years removed from the longest ever - that's probably not in the cards.

Or is it? Will the citizens of Michigan's 13th Congressional District make a change? Acquiescence on the part of their representative does not seem to be forthcoming.

Education is not always about book smarts, like the Farmer's Almanac for example. Education in this context is all about paying attention to what elected officials say or do on the voters' behalf. If such inquiry and attention to detail become the norm, the power of time ceases to have any meaning. Such power via influence will become a footnote as to the old ways of doing business in Congress. A new and sole focus of conducting the people's business in Congress will take hold.

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