The Preamble – Part II

As I pointed out in the past essay in this series (The Preamble – Part I), the Preamble is not an actual part of the Constitution, meaning it carries no weight as “law”, but rather serves as a broad, thematic statement as to the purpose for which the Constitution’s articles (and subsequent amendments) were written, and in turn, the purpose for which those citizens in 1787 were forming the new government which sprang from the Constitution.

This understanding of the function of a preamble to any document and how broad, general statements, cannot be applied to mean anything and everything is to be permitted, is critical to grasping how the intent of the Constitution was to limit the power of government and expand the freedom and liberties of the citizenry.

This is clear from two perspectives.  One is grammatical, the other is from the pen of James Madison.  Grammatically, the Preamble states that what is to follow in the Constitution has a distinct and limited purpose as indicated by the phrase “in Order to.”  This would indicate that anything outside the scope of the six actions that follow is not something within the purview of the national government.  The Constitution charges the government to perform six actions, indicated by the verbs “form”, “establish”, “ensure”, “provide”, “promote” and “secure.”  I will be examining each of these six functions in the weeks to come, but, as we go through a study of them, remember these words of Madison when he was expounding on the structure of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution in The Federarlist No. 41 regarding how to interpret general phrases:

“But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter.”

It is the specifics delineated in the Constitution that explain in what manner the government is to carry out these six broad commissions given to it by “We the People” that we will be examining in the coming essays.

  • November 17, 2017

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“We the People…”

So begins the opening of the Preamble to our national Constitution.  If you research the preambles of other countries’ constitutions, you will find that ours is not unique as many of them also make reference to their constitutions being ordained and formed by “the people”.  However, all of these other constitutions came after ours – the ideals of our Constitution have served as the model for numerous others around the globe.

Is it not ironic that a constitution that has inspired so many others is disparaged by no less than a sitting associate justice on our nation’s Supreme Court?  In an interview in Egypt in 2012, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had this to say about our Constitution and Egypt’s plans to draft a new constitution for themselves:

“I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012.   I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, have an independent judiciary. It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done.”

I would expect such an observation to come from someone who was unfamiliar with our Constitution and who had never read the defense of its ratification made by its authors in The Federalist Papers, but not from someone who sits on the highest court in the land and is charged with applying the tenets of the Constitution to the cases that come before that court.  Yet, that is the perspective of the leftists in our country today.

Our preamble reflects a radical change in government – that power flows upwards from the people, not downward from those sitting in the seat(s) of power.  Critics today charge that the Constitution was not a product of the people, but by a bunch of rich, slave owning white men.  Unfortunately, too many of our fellow citizens, educated by the leftists who control our educational institutions, believe this to be true.  Yes, they were white men, some were wealthy, but not all of them were slave owners – in fact several argued and wanted to outlaw slavery in the Constitution.  That they did not do so is not because they owned slaves or supported slavery, but because they knew without some concessions on that issue, no Constitution would be forthcoming and America would disintegrate and be swallowed up by the European powers.

Those who gave us our Constitution were appointed by the legislatures of their respective states, who in turn were individuals elected by the citizens of the states.  It was either the legislatures or special conventions appointed by the people who debated and ratified the Constitution, and in the case of Rhode Island, it was ratified by the direct election process of the people (albeit not until May 1790 because the people initially rejected the Constitution).  Furthermore, if the people had no say in the ratification of the Constitution, then why did the Federalists in the Federalist Papers address their essays “To the people of New York”, and those of the Anti-Federalists style those to the people in the states wherein they lived?

Clearly, our Constitution is indeed sourced by “We the people”, and because it is, the government it framed and created is accountable and answerable to us.  Therefore, since the government came from us, those in power should be warned that we have the right, as Jefferson so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence, to abolish it and erect another one that will protect our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness from the tyranny of government – even one that has lost its moorings from its charter document.

-October 29, 2017

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A Tale of Two Constitutions

(I realize I’ve missed a couple of weeks with these essays and I apologize; I’ve been distracted by pressing family matters.  For those who have had to deal with the transitioning of care for a loved one with dementia, you can understand how consuming that can be, and I appreciate the reception you continue to give to my writings.  Now for this week’s thoughts)

When I go into classrooms of junior high or elementary schools during “Constitution Week” and talk to the students about our Constitution, I explain to them that a constitution is simply the “rules of the game of government”, just like the rules of any board game they might play.  A constitution dictates to all those involved in the governing of their fellow citizens how they are to govern and the limits to their powers.

That having been said, as I pointed out in my last essay (“Constitutional Relevancy?”), a constitution is only as relevant and worthwhile as those in power follow and adhere to it.  It is safe to say that every government of man has “a constitution”, be it written or merely understood.  Every government is understood by the citizens as to how it will operate, be it an absolute monarchy, a repressive dictatorship (whether of one or several), or a republic.

In light of that, I will present for you the elements of another nation’s constitution to illustrate my point.

ARTICLE 10. “The right of citizens to personal ownership of their incomes from work and of their savings, of their dwelling houses and subsidiary household economy, their household furniture and utensils and articles of personal use and convenience, as well as the right of inheritance of personal property of citizens, is protected by law.”

 ARTICLE 118. “Citizens of { } have the right to work, that is, are guaranteed the right to employment and payment for their work in accordance with its quantity and quality.”

ARTICLE 119. “Citizens of { } have the right to rest and leisure.”

ARTICLE 120. “Citizens of { } have the right to maintenance in old age and also in case of sickness or loss of capacity to work.”

 ARTICLE 121. “Citizens of { } have the right to education.”

ARTICLE 122. “Women in { }  are accorded equal rights with men in all spheres of economic, state, cultural, social and political life.”

ARTICLE 123. “Equality of rights of citizens of { }, irrespective of their nationality or race, in all spheres of economic, state, cultural, social and political life, is an indefeasible law.”

ARTICLE 124. “In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the church in { } is separated from the state, and the school from the church. Freedom of religious worship and freedom of anti-religious propaganda is recognized for all citizens.”

ARTICLE 125. “In conformity with the interests of the working people, and in order to strengthen the socialist system, the citizens of { } are guaranteed by law: 

  • freedom of speech;
  • freedom of the press;
  • freedom of assembly, including the holding of mass meetings;
  • freedom of street processions and demonstrations.”

Some of these “rights” listed sound very familiar to those of us to know and revere our Constitution, while some seem a little more like those espoused by the likes of the Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders.  It should not be surprising that those that sound like Senator Sanders’ political platform are articles of the 1936 Constitution of the Soviet Union (I purposefully deleted “the USSR” in these quotes where you see the brackets) since Senator Sanders chose to honeymoon with his bride in the USSR back in 1988!

Based on history we can see just how well this constitution worked out.  Stalin’s constitution (as it was also known) is regarded by many as nothing but a propagation constitution, for most of its articles expound how power was to be concentrated solely in the hands of the communist party.  Despite the platitudes of guarantees to the basic freedoms we take for granted, they were never recognized by Stalin and his successors.

Those on the left today would very much like to rewrite our constitution to more closely follow those of the Stalinist Constitution rather than the tried and true guarantee of individual freedom in our 230-year-old US Constitution.  Clearly, as I’ve argued before, a constitution is nothing but a piece of paper inscribed with ink.  Unless a country has leaders of integrity who are faithful to their oath to uphold the tenets of their constitution in guaranteeing the freedom and liberties of the people, that constitution is just a piece of paper – nothing more, nothing less.

In subsequent essays I plan to take a look at what makes our Constitution so special and why it was written the way it was compared to other constitutions such as the one I’ve contrasted in this essay.

-October 14, 2017

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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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The First Amendment and Social Media

Lately there has been much criticism levied at social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., and companies who have censored certain postings or statements made by individuals (or employees in the case of employers).  I have heard many conservatives claim that these sites and employers are violating the first amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and think that the government should step in and do something about it because those being censored are political conservatives.  Such criticisms and allegations regarding violations of the first amendment are completely off base.

Do I like that conservatives are censored in this manner?  Absolutely not.  Do I think such censorship is a violation of the first amendment?  Again, absolutely not.  The first amendment states “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”   This guarantee is unambiguous – it is a prohibition against Congress from censoring speech and the press, not private companies such as social media sites and employers.

Conservatives who make this charge need to pause and reflect upon what they are asserting.  They are in effect appealing to the government to force a private company and/or employer to allow individuals who use the companies’ services or who are employed by them to permit their preferred form of expression.  Constitutionalists should understand that the government has no authority under the Constitution to do any such thing.

It is hypocritical for conservatives to make this complaint and appeal to the government while at the same time arguing that the government has no authority to tell bakeries they must provide a cake for a gay wedding or that the government has the authority to tell a company or individual what they can or cannot do with their private property, and so forth.  You cannot argue on the one hand for the government to interfere with a private entity’s business operations when it goes against your preferences while at the same time telling it that it has no authority when it interferes in matters that go against your principles.  That old adage of “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” comes to mind, does it not?

Again, please do not think I applaud the censorship of these firms; I do not.  I find them to be hypocritical as well and cowardly as they cannot handle honest dialogue and debate.  However, as one who believes in trying to consistently adhere to our constitutional principles of limited government and individual right to self-determination, appealing to the government in this case is a slippery slope we as conservatives and constitutionalists do not want to go down.  The solution is to turn to other venues of service, if possible, and if not, to not use them.  Difficult to do and most likely not a successful alternative, but if you cherish the thought of limited government as well as non-governmental interference in your private affairs, this is the position you must regrettably take.

-September 15, 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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Why I’m Cheering Actions by Liberal Democrats

I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d ever be pleased by anything that Jerry Brown, aka Governor “Moonbeam” of California, did, but I am now.  I never thought the leftists in Seattle and Chicago would give me reason to cheer them on, but they have.

No, I’ve not lost my constitutional moorings.  Democrats have been for more and more expansive government intrusion into our rights and constricting our freedom and liberties, and by and large they still are.  However, recent (and some not so recent) actions taken in these local areas has given me reason to cheer.

Two weeks ago, Governor “Moonbeam” announced that the state of California would embrace and abide by the so-called Paris Climate Accords even though President Trump pulled the US out of them.  California is going to sell carbon tax-credits to industries that cannot meet the environmental standards the state will be imposing in order to abide by these accords.  All-in-all, this move is going to make it even harder and more expensive to do business in California.

Moving up the coast to the Peoples’ Republic of Seattle, they have done several “great” things of late.  First, they raised the minimum wage to a ridiculous level, forcing many businesses to either shut down, move out of the city, lay off employees, and/or raise prices for their services and products.  Then they cracked down on the right of Seattle citizens to own firearms and to purchase weapons and ammunition, again with the same result as with restaurants and other service-type businesses.  Now they are imposing a 2.5% tax on individuals earning over $250,000 or $500,000 for couples.

Like Seattle, Chicago has some, if not the most restrictive measures on gun ownership by its citizens.  Yet, despite that, it has the highest murder rate among major US cities.  However, Seattle seems to think Chicago presents an outstanding role model for them to follow in this regard.

So, what makes me applaud these moves?  Simply the fact that liberals have finally embraced the concept of federalism as espoused by our founders and how they envisioned the states would operate under our federal constitution.  We are a country composed of what is supposed to be fifty independent, somewhat sovereign entities who are free to exercise all those powers not delegated to the federal government (which powers are few and defined as Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers).  We have fifty free incubators to test measures to see what works and doesn’t work in the realm of governance.

So you want to limit your citizen’s access to guns for protection?  Look how well that’s doing in Chicago.  You want to impose draconian measures and taxes on businesses?  Watch and see how many of them look to relocate to more business-friendly states.  You want to force businesses to pay more than market rates in the labor force?  See how many of your formally employed citizens come knocking on your city hall doors asking for welfare assistance.  Watch your tax base dwindle as more wealthy individuals along with businesses more out of your city/state limits.

Yes, federalism is a fantastic concept!  It teaches us what works best in preserving freedom and liberty, or in the cases I’ve cited in this essay, the absolutely worst and stupidest policies to pursue.

-July 28, 2017

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Revisiting the Third Amendment

“No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

 Today, most individuals would consider this a “dead’ amendment, worthless, and in need of expunging from its place within the Bill of Rights.  Many probably (out of ignorance of the time in which it was written) find it rather amusing that such a “trifling” matter was inserted into the Constitution.  Let us then re-examine this amendment and see just how relevant it still is today.

Granted, we have no fear of soldiers being quartered in our houses, especially against our will, but that was not the case in colonial America.  British rulers could and did order Americans (British subjects at the time) to house the King’s soldiers and provide them with meals, even if it meant they were turned out of their beds and went without food!  Note that this was not an occupying foreign power forcing this upon the populace (such as the Germans forcing similar lodgings upon say French citizens in WWII), but rather a people’s own government perpetrating this action.  So colossal was this imposition that the framers were determined to make certain that their new government would have severe limitations placed upon it in this regard.

Fine, you may say, but what does this have to do with us today?  To begin with, the actual prohibition, whether we feel it so remote as to be impossible, is still in place.  Yet if you “pull back the curtain” and look at the underlying principle, you can see just how important it is.  In a number of essays, I have referred back to the principle of individual liberty, as enunciated by the 16th century political philosopher John Locke, that it is founded upon the security of individual property rights.  Locke states that whatever we gain by the work of our hands belongs to no one else but us, and no one – including government – has the right to remove it from our hands without our consent.  By forcing Americans to house these soldiers the British government was in effect plundering the private property of its own subjects – something Locke stated it had no moral authority to do.

Fast forward to today and consider my comments in the closing paragraph of my essay from last week (Income Taxes and Bridal Dresses).  The EPA tells us what we can/cannot do with our property.  Fail to pay your property taxes and see just how long you remain in your house before the government seizes it and evicts you.  Fail to pay your income taxes – or at least what the IRS claims you owe – and you may be raided and your assets seized and sold out from under you at pennies on the dollar.  Try to open up a business without first gaining a business permit from the government, or practice a profession you spent years acquiring the necessary knowledge needed, such as in medicine.  All of these things our founders would be aghast at were they to come back to view their creation today.

Many know about the fourth amendment’s protection of our personal matters, but it is the third amendment which sets up this more expansive amendment following it, which constraints are also routinely shredded by our government.

Today, those less knowledgeable about the differences between rights and privileges go about chanting they have a “right” to this that or the other and yet miss the boat on the principle of what should be the shield for preserving our natural, inalienable rights.  It is past time we revisit and elevate the third amendment to its rightful place of respect among the other nine amendments in our Bill of Rights and insist that Washington respect the limits it and the others place upon their power.

-July 21, 2017

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Income Taxes and Bridal Dresses

It has just now come to light that a few months ago, in Garland, Texas, 20 armed IRS agents swooped down upon a mom-and-pop bridal store owned by two elderly immigrants from Thailand and seized their entire inventory and equipment for alleged unpaid back income taxes.  The designer dresses, valued at around $615,000 were sold for pennies on the dollar along with other assets such as sewing machines, a flat screen television, game console as well as the hat of Vietnam Veteran customer who had left it there to have some patches sewn on.  The total net take for the IRS:  around $17,000!  As a result, this elderly couple is left destitute and out of business after 34 years of operation.

The authority upon which the IRS relied in this robbery is 26 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 301.6335-1, “Sale of Seized Property.”  Note that this is not a law passed by the national legislature (Congress), but rather is part of the 80,000+ pages of “laws” promulgated by an unelected bureaucracy (IRS) which has both written “laws” (i.e., regulations) – a legislative act, interpreted how to apply these “laws” – a judicial act, and enforced these “laws” – an executive act.  Clearly no separation of powers as designed by our founders in the Constitution.

Citizens of the United States are guaranteed the right to protection against such acts by our government:   “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” (4th Amendment, US Constitution).

According to news reports, the IRS did obtain court authorization upon their presentation of an affidavit, but the broader question is “Was this ‘reasonable’?”  If you read the complete set of guidelines of the CFR I referenced above, it appears the IRS violated its own protocols.  Not only this, but in seizing some of the non-clothing items they seized items outside the court’s authorization, especially the hat that belonged to someone not involved in the tax dispute.  If you or I do that, it’s called “theft of personal property” and we go to jail!

What is more outrageous is the speed with which this was carried out.  According to the CFR there is supposed to be at least a ten-day period between serving notice of the pending sale and the commencement of the sale; but if the IRS believes that the items to be seized are “in jeopardy” of losing their value, the items can be sold immediately without any further due process.  Designer bridal dresses “in jeopardy” of losing their value??  Seriously – weddings are going to cease and the dresses be of no worth unless disposed of immediately?

Clearly this action by the IRS costs us taxpayers much more than what they recovered by the sale of these assets.  Furthermore, the tax returns for the years in question indicate that the couple had a carryover of a net operating loss, and thus no taxes would have been owed.  Also, a memo written by an IRS supervisor obtained via the Freedom of Information Act issued a directive to agents to “shut down this failing business.”  If freedom is to be preserved, this insidious income tax and the agency it gave birth to must go.

We are no longer free my fellow Americans.  Unelected bureaucrats in these unconstitutional agencies (admittedly the IRS was created to enforce the 13th amendment) tell us what we can do with our property (EPA), what products we can produce (Dept. of Commerce), how much people must be paid by employers (DOL), how we are to obtain health care and related insurances (HHS), and how much disposable money from our earnings we’re allowed to keep (IRS).  The government, via these bureaucracies, control our property, our businesses, our health and our incomes, and our representatives in Congress do nothing to stop them.  You tell me – if the government controls these critical aspects of our lives (and there’s more), then how is it we can consider ourselves to be “free”?

-July 14, 2017

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President Trump and Maximus Decimus Meridius

When the Constitutional Convention of 1787 had completed their work on crafting what is now our Constitution, as the aged and feeble Benjamin Franklin was being helped away from Independence Hall where the delegates had been meeting, a woman called out to him “Doctor Franklin, what have you got for us?”  His reply was classic – “A republic, madam – if you can keep it!”

There have been a number of republics down through the ages; one of the greatest was the ancient Republic of Rome.  We all know how it was with the advent of Julius Caesar and the subsequent rise of Octavian (aka Augustus Caesar) that the Roman Republic was dealt its death blow and replaced with a monarchial form of government headed by an emperor.

In the movie Gladiator staring Russell Crowe, there is an interesting exchange between Crowe’s character Maximus, the honored general of the Roman army, and the aged and dying Caesar, Marcus.  The conversation takes place in Caesar’s tent following a bloody but victorious battle.  In the conversation, Marcus tries to convince Maximus to be his successor because his own son, Commodus, was evil and not fit to rule.  Allow me to share some clips of their conversation:

MAXIMUS: You sent for me Caesar? [No response. Maximus turns to look at the weak and old Marcus.] Caesar?

MARCUS: Tell me again Maximus, why are we here?

MAXIMUS: For the glory of the empire, Sire.

MARCUS: Ah yes, ah yes. I remember. You see that map, Maximus? That is the world which I created. For 25 years, I have conquered, spilt blood, expanded the empire. Since I became Caesar I have known four years without war – four years of peace in 20. And for what? I brought the sword, nothing more.

MAXIMUS: Caesar, your life…

MARCUS: Please, please don’t call me that. Come here and sit. Let us talk now, together now. Very simply, as men. Well, Maximus, talk.

MAXIMUS: 5,000 of my men are out there in the freezing mud. 3,000 are cleaved and bloodied. 2,000 will never leave this place. I will not believe they fought and died for nothing.

MARCUS: And what would you believe?

MAXIMUS: They fought for YOU and for Rome.

MARCUS: And what is Rome, Maximus?

MAXIMUS: I have seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and dark. Rome is the light.

MARCUS: Yet you have never been there. You have not seen what it has become. I am dying, Maximus. When a man sees his end he wants to know that there has been some purpose to his life. How will the world speak my name in years to come? Will I be known as the philosopher, the warrior, the tyrant. Or will I be remembered as the Emperor who gave Rome back her true self? There was once a dream that was Rome, you could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish. It was so fragile and I fear that it will not survive the winter.

Maximus, let us whisper now. Together, you and I. You have a son? [Maximus nods.] Tell me about your home.

[Maximus looks a bit surprised at the invitation to hear of his home, but eagerly and proudly describes it — a peaceful happiness overcome him as he speaks.]

MARCUS: I envy you, Maximus. It is a good home. Worth fighting for? [Maximus nods yes and Marcus rises.] There is one more duty that I ask of you before you go home.

MAXIMUS: What will you have me do Caesar?

MARCUS: I want you to become the protector of Rome after I die. I will empower you, to one end alone, to give power back to the people of Rome and end the corruption that has crippled it. [Shock and bewilderment overcome Maximus. He tries to keep from displaying these feelings. Hearing no response, Marcus continues.] Will you accept this great honour that I have offered?

MAXIMUS: With all my heart, no.

MARCUS: [Tenderly holding Maximus’ head with both hands]: Maximus, that is why it must be you.

MAXIMUS: But surely a prefect, a senator, somebody who knows the city, who understands her politics….

MARCUS: But you have not been corrupted by her politics.

If you have seen the movie, you know that Commodus murders his father and assumes the title of Caesar.  He attempts to have Maximus executed but Maximus escapes and ends up as a gladiator.  As a gladiator he ends up fighting in the Coliseum in Rome, and in a one-on-one battle with Commodus, kills him and returns power back to the people.

In 2016 the citizens of this republic elected a non-politician to be our president because we were tired of the corruption of those who have worked their way up the political ladder that is our federal government.  The appeal of Donald Trump to many was he had not been corrupted by the politics of “Rome” (Washington, DC) and pursued the office because of his perceived genuine love for his country and desire to make it great again.

Now, as President, he finds himself in what I would style as the role of a gladiator as well as president.  He is constantly beset by and having to combat those who are corrupt in both political parties, the media and the elite intelligentsia of so-called “higher learning.”

Do I agree with everything President Trump has done?  Absolutely not.  Do I think he is firmly grounded on constitutional principles?  Unfortunately no.  But one thing I do know – he has the tenacity and courage of a gladiator, and with our republic on the brink of vanishing, we need someone who is not afraid to wield a sword in the arena of political combat.

In the 2016 election we had the choice between one in the mold of the corrupt and power-hungry Commodus and one who was not of the political class and was asked by the people to return the power of government to them so that like ancient Rome, America can once again be that shining light on the hill.  Like him or not, President Trump could well turn out to be our Maximus.

-July 7, 2017

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