Surprise, surprise -- according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey, nearly half the public thinks we’ve lost our way:
If America’s founders came back today, would they be impressed or disappointed?
A new Rasmussen Reports shows that 36% of American Adults think the Founding Fathers would consider the United States a success. But a plurality (46%) believes the Founders - a group that generally includes George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, among others - would view the nation as a failure instead. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Well, that’s a rather depressing thought.
According to this view, the Founding Fathers staked "[their] Lives, [their] Fortunes, and [their] sacred Honor” on a failed, doomed-from-the-start venture that, even if they were immortal, would only have lived to see it squandered.
In fairness, however, as the Founders were no doubt aware of at the time, no self-described "democracy" had ever not descended into tyranny or dictatorship. As John Adams once put it: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
So why, then, shouldn’t ours? Perhaps in time it will -- but I do not believe we’re there yet. All things considered, the Founders’ idealistic vision of a forward-looking, sovereign, and self-governing nation has endured remarkably well over the centuries. It survived a Constitutional Crisis, a bloody civil war, a Great Depression, and Adolf Hitler. And while the tragedy in Ferguson, MO reminds all of us that problems exist in this country -- problems that perhaps cannot be resolved anytime soon -- now is not the time for pessimism or despair.
As the president himself recently said: "I have witnessed [enormous progress] in my own life," he intoned. "To deny that progress, I think, is to deny America's capacity for change."
All of which is to say I stand proudly and unshakably in the “36 percent” camp.
I’m not consigning the nation to damnation just yet.