Here’s a rather jarring omen of how diseased our political system has become – a Public Mind poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University reveals that 29% of American voters believe it will take an armed revolt to protect their civil liberties.
Little wonder people are so frustrated and frightened these days. How much confidence can they have in a political system when the anti-war, pro-civil liberty candidate wins the election, then orders yet another surge of US troops in an unpopular war, and expands both domestic surveillance and the exercise of arbitrary government power?
This poll reflects genuine concern about the abuse of power by a centralized, hostile federal government that Robert E. Lee predicted would rise from Lincoln’s successful counter-revolution against the principles of 1776. The dynamic that Lee foresaw – “aggressive abroad and despotic at home” – is made vividly clear today as civilian control methods perfected in occupied Iraq are beiing utilized here at home by an increasingly militarized police. What a perfect illustration of the mutual hostility and distrust between rulers and the ruled.
As DC hardens itself to reform by hamstringing potential third parties and nullifying local self-government, frustration with our increasingly inept and catastrophic government can only solidify and spread.