Constitutional Relevancy?

This past Sunday, September 17, was the 230th anniversary of the conclusion of the Philadelphia convention of 1787.  Upon the conclusion of the convention, as he was leaving “Independence Hall”, the aged Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well Doctor Franklin, what have you got for us?”, to which he replied, “A republic madam, if you can keep it.”  Actually, what he and the other delegates to the convention had given to their fellow Americans and us, their descendants, was a constitutional republic.

Yet, this week, we must ask, “After 230 years, are we still a constitutional republic?  Is the Constitution still relevant in our day and time?”  To these two questions I would answer with a resounding “No”!  Consider the following (with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy):

If the party in power can use secret courts to get an order to wiretap and spy on their opponents with no repercussions, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If government agencies can plant applications on the computers of reporters who are reporting on governmental malfeasance and tap their phone conversations (e.g., James Rosen and Sharyl Attkinsson), thus violating both the first and fourth amendments, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If the government records the conversations and all electronic communications of every citizen in massive meta-data fusion centers, again violating the fourth amendment, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If elected officials constantly create unconstitutional agencies and empower them to act as legislator, executor and judge over your property, business and personal affairs, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If elected officials listen more to those who fill their campaign coffers instead of their constituents, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If certain officials in high positions of power use their position to influence policies and negotiations with foreign powers to grossly enhance their financial well-being at the expense of the liberties and security of the rest of the country (e.g., Hilary Clinton), with no fear of prosecution, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If elected officials and even members of the Supreme Court have no inkling as to the tenets of the Constitution, even mocking it (e.g., Nancy Pelosi’s response regarding the unconstitutionality of “Obamacare”), you might not live in a constitutional Republic.

If the government routinely eschews the limitations imposed upon its authority by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

I could go on and on with these, but I think it’s a sufficient number that you get the picture.  Our elected (and unelected) government officials pay lip service to the Constitution they take an oath to uphold and defend, but they seldom live up to that oath.  So, is our Constitution relevant today as to the operation of our national government?  I think, sadly, the answer is rather obvious.

-September 22, 2017


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US Representative’s Job Description

Being a manager in Human Resources over the years, I’ve had many occasions to create job descriptions. I was prompted to think about this the other day when I heard Representative Maxine Waters proclaim that her only reason in running for re-election in 2018 was to continue to pursue the impeachment of President Trump.  So, with my professional background, allow me, Representative Waters, to tell you what you and your colleagues’ job description is per the Constitution.

Most would probably say that the job of our representatives in Congress is to pass laws.  After all, the Constitution plainly states that they comprise half of the national legislature, and legislating involves writing laws.   True, that is the meaning of the term “legislate”, and that is the part of the government to which the Constitution assigns them; but I’d rather they spend time unwriting laws, abolishing regulations and de-authorizing the myriad of departments and agencies they’ve created over the years that have no foundation within the Constitution!  The preacher in the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes concluded by stating a truth “amened” by every student, namely that “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.”  If he were to write that today in view of our Congress he could well have said “Of making laws there is no end, and much regulation wearies the citizenry.”

Though some laws are necessary to the preservation of a civil society and the liberties of its citizens, I would submit that such is not the primary duty in a congressional representative’s job description.  Instead I would point to the last phrase in the first amendment to the Constitution:  “…to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Why would the founders have felt the need to add this to the Constitution?  We need look no further than to our Declaration of Independence, for that is exactly the purpose for which it was written and submitted to the British Crown, but to no avail.  The founders had languished under the tyranny of a ruler who brushed aside their petitions for redress, so they wanted to make certain that in the new government they were crafting there would be a mechanism to preserve that ability and right of the people.  So just what is that conduit that is available to us whenever we feel the government has overstepped its authority and is threatening our liberties to seek redress if it is not through our representatives?  Is that not the very meaning of the term “represent”?  Just who are they representing?  Us, their constituents.  To whom are they representing us?  Is it not the national government?

No, no Maxine, your purpose in running for the office of Representative is not to “Impeach 45” (unless he has committed offenses that threaten our liberties, which he has not), but to be the mouthpiece for your fellow citizens when they feel they have been harmed by the government.  Lord knows you have a mouth – you just need to use it for the purpose for which your office intends.

-August 11, 2017

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Just What Did We Declare?

This July 4 we will celebrate the 241st anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Parades and concerts will be held, gatherings of family and friends for backyard cookouts will take place, and most citizens will enjoy a day off from work.  However, if you have ever watched any of these “man on the street” interviews where individuals are asked what we celebrate on this day, far, far too many haven’t a clue.  So as we enjoy this day, let’s reflect upon just what our forefathers put their lives, fortunes and sacred honor on the line to declare.

Some, but not enough, of these queried citizens about this day may be able to quote a phrase or two from the Declaration but there is a greater underlying principle to the Declaration than “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

You may wonder what greater principle can there be than the right to equality, life, liberty and happiness?  The answer can be found in the opening sentence of the Declaration and repeated a little further down in the second paragraph.

In that first sentence Jefferson lays out the principle that Nature’s Laws and Nature’s God entitle people to be self-determining when it comes to how they will be governed.  Listen to how he begins:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them,…”

Jefferson here claims that people have the right “to assume the powers of the earth” which entitles them to choose with whom they wish to band together into society.  He then proceeds in the second paragraph to expand upon this right by stating that the assuming of this power means they also have the right to determine how the society they formed when banded together is to be governed:

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

If a people are not free to choose how they wish to be governed then they live in a state of tyranny and oppression.  As the song recorded by the Rascals in 1968 put it,

All the world over, so easy to see

People everywhere just wanna be free

Listen, please listen, that’s the way it should be

There’s peace in the valley, people got to be free

That same sentiment is inscribed on the base of our Statute of Liberty:  “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Without self-determination when it comes to governance, there can be no life to speak of for it is life without liberty nor happiness.  Yet as far too many in our country today go about the frivolity of fireworks, concerts, et al, and are oblivious to the fact that we stand at the precipice of losing all that our forefathers declared are our inalienable rights that day 241 years ago.

It is time that we all re-learn the true meaning of this day and commit ourselves to the principles contained within that Declaration.  Five years ago I woke up in the middle of the night and penned the following – a modern update to Jefferson’s Declaration.  I hope you find it worthwhile and will share it with others that we might, like our forefathers, dedicate ourselves to the future freedom of our posterity:

Declaration of Reclamation

-June 30, 2017

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