Those responsible for the creation of our constitutional republic were particularly well-educated in the humanities and fully understood that any experiment in liberty would necessarily have to incorporate the essentials of human nature into the fundamental design. Their inspiration to include the idiosyncrasies of human nature into the rudiments of a governmental structure led them to choose the eagle to symbolize their creation. The eagle proved a particularly clever choice when considering the requirement was to illustrate, through imagery, how the American people could retain their natural temperaments exerting freely their sincere inclinations while operating within the bounds of a governing framework; managing productive governance while retaining a body of sovereign individuals cohesive enough to maintain a free society. By no means was this a simple set of criterion but miraculously they were able to extract a design. The Founders saw the union of American government and its people as an eagle comprised of two equally balanced wings capable of successfully projecting the corps of the eagle through the air. The left wing would serve as the problem-solving wing or the wing of compassion, which would be ever vigilantly sensitive to the unfulfilled needs of the people. The right wing would naturally concern itself with conserving the nation’s resources and defending the people’s freedom. If each wing fulfills its assigned function, the American eagle flies straight and high, however, if imbalance becomes pervasive, the eagle will most certainly drift toward anarchy or tyranny.
In other words, loosely speaking, those of left leaning propensity will be inclined to advance the needs of the community (or the People) – it is they who will proclaim “we need a park, we need lactation rooms, we need car seat safety education” and so on… it is then the natural inclination (as well as the responsibility) of the right leaning coalition to address practical considerations – “what is the cost of this endeavor? who is responsible for this effort? is it a necessity and thus appropriate use of funds? are there potential unintended consequences to this action?” The balance that emerges through proper debate occurring within the supporting framework of the rule of law and constitutional supremacy yields good, sound policy ultimately benefitting the majority of the American people. This process satisfies the need to renew the culture without decoupling from the coveted tenets of freedom. It is clear, without one of the eagle’s wings, our culture cannot thrive.
In today’s America there is a sizable group of people who no longer agree with the body of the eagle, otherwise understood to be our US Constitution as written. They would like to transform the American system into something quite different from that which was originally envisioned. Conversely, there are many who seek to conserve the framework laid out by the Founders and are rather unsettled by the erosion of allegiance to these principles. This struggle is creating a sense of irreconcilable tension hovering over the American people.
Peace among us may be easily restored if political steps are taken to move both parties back toward a commitment to our founding principles: the Bill of Rights, the rule of law, embrace of self-reliance and love of liberty. Otherwise, it seems apparent that an ongoing commitment by some toward transformation of the nation and the American way of life will be met with disharmony, discontent and resistance. If Americans find their way back to a common foundation, the body of the eagle will be restored. It is apparent that we need both wings to soar and when we soar we will once again enjoy peace and liberty.
by Stacey West