Governor Sarah Palin has resurrected an old term – Joe Six Pack. Her notion is that she represents that demographic – folksy, hard working, beer drinking, regular American people. Her position is not so much that she can represent Joe – it is more that she is Joe. This is troubling.
The Founding Fathers wrote the Bill of Rights. We think the Bill of Rights was actually written by George Mason for the Virgina Constitution, and then adopted in the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights protects Joe Six-Pack. This is an historic document – the first since the Magna Carta – that protects individual rights. The Bill of Rights reduced the complex idea of relationship between government and people to simple, understandable, enforceable, rights.
The relentless authority of Monarchy or Dictatorship, embodied in totalitarianism, oppressed individuals as being subordinate to the State. Freedom to speak, freedom to worship, freedom from wanton search and seizure, freedom to arm oneself – all qualities that Americans protect with vigor. Joe Six-Pack found a home in America.
The Founding Fathers were of the elite, educated, and wealthy class. These great men saw themselves as individuals – by protecting their individual rights of opinion, they protected the rights of all Americans. Charled Beard, an economic historian, wrote in 1913 that the founding fathers wrote the constitution out of personal self interest – designed to protect and grow their wealth. This writer wrote a paper way back in college disputing Beard’s claim of self serving purpose in the constitution. But that is another story for another time.
The point is that the greatness of America rests in respecting the rights of Joe Six-Pack. But how many Joe Six-Pack’s have actually been President? Only a few – Harry Truman was the last. Truman was the last President who never graduated from college. He was first a farmer, then a soldier, then a small businessman, then a local politician, then Senator, then Vice President, then President. Like Governor Palin – Truman was an unlikely choice by party bosses.
The Republican Party – the Grand Old Party – was the party of the elite class. This is not a derogatory statement – because the GOP believed in the protection of individual rights. The GOP was led for a Century by men who believed in an elite education. They believed in a necessary study of Liberal Arts to round out a business perspective that was good for the country. The GOP encouraged Joe Six-Pack to go to a University and nurture their intellect beyond a local understanding of the world. The GOP believed this was possible for anyone. The GOP consisted of philanthropists who supported intellectual study at elite Universities. They did this as a patriotic duty – they understood the value of education, of having a broad world view. They nurtured the next generation to leadership.
Somewhere along the line the GOP lost it’s bearing. There must be some secret document in the safe at GOP headquarters that is a Bill of Rights for Corporate America. The modern GOP has lost the value of the Liberal Arts – the study of humanities, of literature, and of history. Mark Twain and Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo were great champions of Joe Six Pack. The study of the social sciences grants perspective to the future leaders of America.
Today we find the Grand Old Party protecting Corporate America. We find the GOP thrusting military might for global dominance – seeking empire – and a loss of the value of the individual. The educated bankers of Wall Street must have missed their class on Dickens. The GOP leaders fail to appreciate conserving the environment. Choking smog drifts through the streets of Joe Six Pack while the wealthy retire to the Hamptons.
This writer submits that the Bill of Rights was the first document of Government regulation. In this case the regulation was of government itself. The Founding Fathers knew very well that unbridled power was corruptible. T. R. Roosevelt applied the same principle to Corporate America. He knew that big business, like big government, must be bridled. Roosevelt knew that big trusts, big corporations, would abuse Joe Six Pack.
These are complex thought processes – but they can be reduced to simple principles. Joe Six Pack should be protected from a feudal Corporate America.