Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Our Founding Fathers: What Would They Say?

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Marvin N. Pichla
January 20, 2023

As we begin 2023, I believe it is valuable to professionally reflect on certain areas applicable to our everyday worlds-of-work. In my diverse employment situation, areas of special reflection include advancing innovative concepts, teaching courses in political science and offering creative consultant services. This year I have decided to focus my reflections in a unique, historical, projective way. Specifically, in a “just wondering” manner, this article will share thoughts on Our Founding Fathers: What Would They Say? regarding four major public administration topics:

  • The Influences of Political Parties
  • Our Spending…Our Debt
  • Career Congress People
  • U.S. Positioning in the World

These reflections are not a history lesson, rather basic mindful “wonderings” drawn from our nation’s beginning public administration leaders.

Influences of Political Parties

No matter what research tool you use to gain insight into the perceptions of the Founding Fathers with regard to political parties, their positions were not favorable. Collaboratively they thought of political parties as “factions” acting only on their own selfish interests rather than the public good. Even George Washington in his presidential farewell address said: “Political parties were likely to become potent engines by which unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government.” So, would they be proud or disappointed in the evolution of our political party system? Would we be able to convince them that we are able to glean certain positives from our strong party government structures?

Unfortunately we would be in complete denial if we proclaimed that our two party political system has been progressive. Rather I believe we would need to explain that citizens support the notion that there is power in numbers, and belonging to an established party enables voters to be “making a difference”. The Founding Fathers would be proud that our public administration system continues to adjust, adapt and improve. However we would struggle if they asked: “Do people vote on the best person or policy…or the party they belong to?”

Our Spending…Our Debt

When considering the viewpoints of our Founding Fathers with regard to Our Spending… Our Debt, I believe they would find this issue most disappointing. Based on the early history book writings there would never have been a time that our initial public administration leaders would have accepted the continuing growth of our government systems nor our staggering national debt!

It is unclear exactly when our public systems began to consider that “governments” were responsible for finding a solution for every problem. Think about it. Today it is almost a standard business procedure for the citizenry to ask: “What is the President or government going to do?” when a problem arises in any area of our country. I do not think the Founding Fathers planned for our governmental systems to accept fiscal responsibility for so many public service challenges or have ideas to reverse these unforeseen governmental expectations.

Career Congress People

Our public service employment sector has grown, progressed and specialized over the 200+ years of United States existence. This continuous improvement evolution has ensured that the investment of public tax dollars collected at all levels has retained the qualified support of our country’s citizens. However, one question that is often asked:  “Did our Founding Fathers ever think being a U.S. congressperson would be a life-long job opportunity?”

I do not believe that our original public administration leaders thought elected public service would be a career. Rather I think their belief was that individuals would appropriately serve their country for a personally determined amount of time and then allow others to step in and contribute their time and ideas. Perhaps they were thinking about the “citizens right to vote/choose” when they didn’t put in term limits? Regardless, as a career-long public administration practitioner, I believe our Founding Fathers would be split on the pros and cons of limiting one’s elected terms in office. Citizens decide…right?

U.S. Positioning in the World

Finally think about having Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton and the other U.S. Founding Fathers sitting with you discussing U.S. Positioning in the World today! Consider the diverse and fascinating discussion that would occur regarding our nation as the Worlds Police-person, one of the world’s superpowers, our leadership in the sciences and our advancements in the area of equality for all!

I am sure the debates, opinions and judgements of actions over the years would be strong and varied. However, deep down I believe they would have a real sense of pride regarding the status of their prioritization of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. I am sure they would agree that some government actions taken were not always totally correct…but the intentions were for the common good, both nationally and internationally.

Taking time to reflect on the past, present and future of public administration leadership can only enhance our role as quality public servants. So much of what the Founding Fathers put in place governmentally has stood the test of time. Therefore, revisiting their potential positioning on today’s challenges is high-value, future-driven learning.

Author: Marvin N. Pichla, Ph.D., is the owner and creative adviser of Inspiring Innovations, Inc. Sharing his unique entrepreneurship and innovation in public service experience, Marv consults with public and private business, education and community organizations to develop new and different problem-solving methods through real-life, example-based learning.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *