Sunday, January 30, 2011
Being a true Constitutionalist is a tough thing. Sure you can run a politician campaign on upholding the Constitution, the problem is carrying through. Once they get into office they forget all about the Constitution and upholding it; in fact most of our politicians are not even sure of what the Constitution says, much less what it stands for. Politicians use the fact that most Americans have no idea what is in the Constitution while touting that they are upholding the Constitution. The general publics ignorance on the Constitution opens the door for Politicians to interpret and manipulate any part of the Constitution to their liking, all the while they are selling away our freedom and independence. The favorite one to use now is the preamble of the Constitution, specifically the general welfare clause. Politicians have written numerous unconstitutional laws based on the general welfare statement in the preamble; the preamble is just an opening statement, not a fact of law. Somehow Politicians have convinced us that the preamble overrides all other parts of the Constitution.
Politicians are not the only ones that manipulate and misinterpret the Constitution; every special interest group out there does the same thing. Special interest groups will pick one section or one Amendment that roughly fits their cause and manipulates the wording to further their cause. One of the best examples of that is the 1st Amendment, specifically where it states that Congress will make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. During his Presidency Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in response to a letter they wrote to him complaining about the States view on religion. Thomas Jefferson was a believer in separation of Church and State and stated so in his response. His statement in that letter has been misconstrued to be a definition of the 1st Amendment and to apply to all the States as well. The 1st Amendment was written to ensure that Congress could not establish a nationwide religion and therefore could not write any laws restricting the observance of any religion. States on the other hand could establish State supported religions or write laws restricting religions within their States as they saw fit, in fact the Massachusetts Constitution specifically states in Article III “Any every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law: and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.”. Anti religious groups have incorrectly used the 1st Amendment and Thomas Jefferson’s letter; they have used it to literally outlaw Morning Prayer in schools and the display of religious articles during celebrations such as Christmas.
The 1st Amendment is not the only Amendment that has been misinterpreted and misused. The 2nd Amendment restricts the Federal Government from writing laws that will restrict American Citizens from owning and bearing arms, guns. On the other hand the States retain the right to allow or restrict gun ownership to their citizens. The NRA and other groups such as the NRA fight for the rights of gun owners all across the United States, regardless of what their States Constitutions say. The NRA will take cases to the Supreme Court claiming States laws to be unconstitutional. The most recent case being the McDonald case from of Chicago, IL. According to the Illinois State Constitution Article 22 of the Bill of Rights states “RIGHT TO ARMS Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. If the NRA should have argued that the Chicago gun bans were against the IL State Constitution, not the United States Constitution. The Constitution of the State of New York has no right to bear arms written into it, therefore the State can write whatever laws it wishes without being unconstitutional by either the State or the United States Constitutions.
There are other instances throughout the Constitution and the attached Amendments where the words have been misconstrued, misinterpreted, or down right twisted to fit the moment. There are also other instances where the issue is not covered at all by the Constitution and should not be, but the Politicians, special interest groups and lobbyists will find some phrase, Article, or Amendment in the Constitution that is just vague enough for them to use as being fact that the Constitution is 100% behind their cause. The 14th Amendment is one that gets used often to “protect the rights” of anyone at anytime, unless it’s not convenient. The 14th Amendment was written and ratified to protect freed slaves and their offspring from being thrown out of the country since up to that point they were citizens of no country. That Amendment has been used to legalize the off spring of persons that have crossed our borders illegally and to argue for separation of Church and State.
All of the above are just a few of the examples of the misuse of the Constitution. Being a Constitutionalist is tough. It means that your moral beliefs and your political beliefs may not always match. You have to accept what the Constitution says and not try to interpret it to mean what you want it to mean. I fully believe in the right for all citizens to keep and bear arms but I have to support the Constitution’s limitation on the Federal Government. If my State wants to restrict the ownership and the right to bear arms then I have to accept that fact. Being a Constitutionalist also means that you believe in the both the 9th and the 10th Amendments, the ones that retained all rights not enumerated in the Constitution for the People and the States. Today we as a country seem to have forgotten both of those Amendments. We are not holding our States accountable for their actions and the States are not standing up to the Federal Government to protect their citizens. We have also lost our personal identities, rather we have given them away; we want to be taken care of, we want our entitlements. I use the term We to mean the general population of the United States. Being a Constitutionalist means you accept responsibility, you care for and protect your freedom, your liberties, and your beliefs. That is what the Constitution tried to give to the People of the United States of America. The Constitution was written with free and responsible People in mind, not to take care of everyone.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
I have talked many times about getting back to the Constitution. I have heard many say that we don’t really want to get back to the Constitution; it would be too hard and we would lose many of the things that we have gotten used to. In some ways this is true, we could lose many of the things that we have gotten used to having around. I’m not good at getting my point across when in a discussion so I write. I do believe we need to get back to the Constitution and yes it will be a painful transition, but only for a short period of time compared to the pain we could be looking at.
Getting back to the Constitution will not be an overnight evolution, it will take time and it will take planning. The country would be thrown into complete and utter chaos. Just name a department within the Federal Government and it would more then likely be abolished on the spot. Our military would be in disarray since there is only one branch that is authorized by the Constitution. The FBI and CIA would become members of the bread lines along with anyone that is being fed or supported by a Federal Program, and all of our National Parks would become no mans land since they aren’t really owned by the States anymore and the Federal Government is not to own any lands that are not “needful”. Anarchists would be dancing in the streets and progressives would be crying in their beer, sorry, Champaign. The libertarians, moderate liberals, democrats, republicans and conservatives would be scratching their heads wondering what had just happened. With all that being said I still say, we need to get back to the Constitution.
Getting back to the Constitution means getting back to a smaller Federal Government; a Federal Government that works within the confines of the Constitution for the People and for the States. It means we would have to have an Article V Convention to repeal the 17th Amendment putting the power back in the hands of the States and reinstituting the checks and balances in Congress that the Constitution put in place. The Convention would also have to propose Amendments that would bring the Constitution up to date with the way things have changed in the United States since the writing of the Constitution; some agencies are now needed so they need to be added correctly, constitutionally. It would mean a shifting of programs from the Federal Government to the States, or at least to the States that felt they should have them as is their right. The entire tax system would have to change to where only the States collected taxes from the citizens of their respective State and the States then paid the Federal Government an equal apportionment depending on population. It would mean that the individual States would have to balance their own budgets and determine which programs they wanted to support and which ones they didn’t want to support. It would mean individuals would have to take personal responsibility for themselves and become active at all levels, even on small levels, of the Government so they would be heard. There are many programs that in comparison to our Country are relatively new that used to be taken care of by our religious establishments and our communities. These programs should once again be taken care of by them.
Will getting back to the Constitution be easy? No. I have been fortunate enough to only live through prosperous times in our Nation. The times we are heading for, in my humble opinion, will be anything but prosperous and they will lead to changes in our country that no one will have ever dreamed could happen. All we have to do is look at history and see what has happened to other forms of Government that were allowed to run the lives of the citizens to see where we are headed. That is not the American way. If there is a true American out there anymore that is not the way they will want to live.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Over the last year and a half or so I’ve written a lot about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and how things that the current administration is doing ties into both of them; rather how it doesn’t even come close to either of them. We have a lot of problems in our country right now and it seems like the 111th Congress and the current Presidential administration are doing all the wrong things to correct them. What’s even sadder is that we, the People of the United States, are doing the same thing that we have been doing for the last 150 years; we trust our future to the same people that have been slowly taking it away. Will the 112th Congress be any different then the ones that have come before them? Unfortunately even with the influx of the supposed conservatives I’m afraid they will not be. I’m afraid they will do the same thing the 111th Congress did only they will do it in the name of conservatism and free trade. Whether your name has an “R” or a “D” beside it matters little, it’s what you do with the power that was granted to you from the electorates that matters.
Following the November 2010 mid term elections the Republicans put out their version of a contract with America. At the same time the lame duck Congress was pushing through legislation that would further put our country in debt. The current Administration learned nothing from the mid term elections, or did they? They learned that they would not be in control any longer; they learned that if they wanted to push their particular progressive agenda on us they would have to push it hard and fast. They knew that any legislation they passed would survive for at least another 2 years, long enough to feed the addiction of Government support that so many Americans have become dependent on.
When the 112th Congress took their oath and their offices one of the first things they did was to read the Constitution. The only problem was that they did not read the entire Constitution, they left out any part that could be considered offensive, such as the part in Article I Section 2 (3) that excludes Indians and counts Blacks as only three fifths a person when determining the number of Representatives a State shall have. Was this offensive? Yes it was. What is forgotten is that if the founders had not limited the number of Representatives that the Southern States could have by limiting the way slaves were counted then the South would have all the political power in the House of Representatives, what would that have done for how slavery was viewed and handled in our fledgling country? They also left out the part in Article I Section 3 where it talks about Senators being selected by their State legislators to represent the States interests. Nor did they read the 18th Amendment which made the sale and transportation of liquor illegal, although they did read the 21st Amendment which repealed the 18th Amendment. All of these were left in the Constitution because they are lessons, they are history, on what worked and what did not work. They are lessons that we need to learn from, some are lessons that we need to relearn and get back to. Was this reading of the Constitution a real attempt at trying to get the Government back on track? I doubt it. I think this reading was an attempt to give lip service to the Tea Party and the American People as a whole. While they did read the Constitution did they understand it? Probably not. No one has yet to come out and talk about how our President and Vice President are elected compared to how the Constitution says they will be elected. No one has yet come out and talk about why Senators are selected by the legislators of the individual States and how that was one of the checks and balances placed in the Constitution, at least up until the 17th Amendment was ratified and the States gave away their power, their sovereignty.
The President, his Administration, the past Congress and even the present Congress are not the only ones to blame for the place we have now found ourselves in. The blame goes back for decades, decades of bad Administrations and Congresses that sought nothing more then power and control, decades of the American People being asleep at the wheel when they go to the ballot boxes, decades of American People being addicted to being taken care of like a gold digger from the 1800’s. There is a saying that goes something like this; “With great power comes great responsibility”. The last time I heard it used was in a movie of all places, the People of this country, especially the politicians, no longer speak that way, much less think that way. We want our roads paved and our retirements funded. We want unlimited access to the internet and to satellite TV but we don’t want to work and earn it. We want everyone to have healthcare but they don’t have to pay for it. Where do people think the funds for all of this is going to come from? It’s going to come from us and our descendents with no hope of ever paying off the debt we are now incurring. We have elected individuals that know they can gain power by feeding this addiction. This is irresponsible of us and a misuse of responsibility by our elected officials. When the 112th Congress read the Constitution they left parts out so they would not offend anyone, I want them to offend us; they need to offend to stop the bleeding from the coffers of our children and our grandchildren before they are even old enough to contribute to them. Congress is addicted to spending and having power and the American People are addicted to entitlements more then any junkie has ever been addicted to any drug. These addictions need to end and this can only be accomplished by responsibility. The difference between a Politician and a Statesman is that the Politician craves power and ducks the responsibility of their actions; the Statesman desires no power and accepts all responsibility for their actions. As my writings show I’m a believer in accepting responsibility for what you do and say. I’m also a believer in America, I believe we can come out of this but it will take a change, a change that will be painful at first but rewarding in the end. The American People can and should control the destiny of this country, that was the beauty of this country and that is what the Framers wrote the Constitution to do. Now it’s up to us; are we going to save our country or are we going to sit back and watch the Politicians run it into the ground until we are all more or less slaves to the system with no freedoms and no choices of our own?