Folks, our government is broken _ seriously broken. It is broken because We The People allowed it to be broken. I don’t know when it started to break. Maybe from the very beginning. Certainly long before I appeared on this earth. I do, however, think I know why we allowed our government to deteriorate into the mess that it is today. The reason, in my opinion, is that Americans, as a whole, do not and possibly never did have a solid understanding of our constitution or of our civic duties and responsibilities under the constitution. maybe it started out that way because many Americans, at the time this nation took form, were illiterate and so were not really at fault. On a personal note, I had what I thought was reasonably good civics class when I was in Jr. Highschool in the 1950’s. After that _ nothing. According to the comments of various lawyers that I have read, not even our law schools teach much about the constitution.
This is indeed a sad state of affairs. After all, the constitution is not a lengthy document. Neither is the Declaration of Independence. The Federalist Papers are a different story. But people don’t need to be constitutional scholars. There are some basic fundamentals about the constitution tha need to be well understood and there is a serious need for citizens to understand their civic duties and responsibilities as citizens.
The first thing people need to understand is the Founders gave us a constitution so that we could control our federal government and not so the federal government could control us.
Secondly, people need to understand who has what power and how the checks and balances were ment to work. People need to understand th the government has only what power we have given it, which are fully enumerated in the constitution (they are not many). Also, people need to understand that the three branches of government are not; I repeat, are not equal and were never intended to be equal. The executive branch and the legislative branch are equal and each has a check against the other. The judicial branch is subordinate to both the executive and legislative branches.
Plubius-Huldah has just posted another remarkable essay that covers the President’s enumerate powers, rule making by executive agencies, Executive Orders and, much, much more. If someone had just the constitution for the first time and wanted to understand more, this essay by Plubius-Huldah would be a great place to start. I encourage you to bookmark and read this essay when you can. For now, I am asking you to go to the article and scroll down to the comments section. You will find this comment/question by me as Conservatives on Fire:
The problem I am having with nullification is this. If one branch of government (executive) says something is not constitutional and the other branch (Congress) says it is constitutional, how does the issue get resolved?
Please read her response and then scroll-up and read the comment of Ross that starts out “Hi, nice article.” and read the response by Ms. Huldah. I think you’ll her responses very educational. I know I did.
Here is what I would like people to understand.
- All elected officials take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Nothing out of this world. The Constitution is only what; seven pages long? Our elected officials have done an abysmal job of living up to their oath, haven’t they.
- The job description for the President is fairly simple. Besides waging wars and making treaties and overseeing trade agreements with other nations, his job is execute and enforce the laws that are passed by the Congress providing that they are deemed to be Constitutional. If the President deems a law passed by Congress as unconstitutional, he is duty bound by his oath not to enforce such law.
- If the president does not enforce a law that the Congress believes is constitutional, the Congress is duty bound by their oath to impeach the President. This is a duty that has rarely been carried out.
- If the Supreme court makes a decision that the President deems to be unconstitutional, the President is duty bound by his oath not to enforce that decision. If the Congress deems a decision of the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional, the Congress is duty bound by their oath to impeach the justices who took the unconstitutional decision. How has that been working out for us?
- If a President or members of Congress are not ling up to their oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, it is the duty of the people to vote these people out of office and elect people who will live up to their oath. Yes, the ultimate responsibility falls to us and we have shamefully neglected our duties as citizens of the great country.
So, from the above it should be clear how we have come to be in the mess we are in. No branch of government has lived up to their oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. And, We The People, through ignorance or sloth, have not lived up to our civic duties and responsibilities.
Is there no hope for the America our Founders envisioned? Educating 100 million voting age citizens to their constitutional duties as citizens is not going to happen any time soon. But, the good news is that there has been a GREAT AWAKENING in America in the last few years. At least I hope that “great” is the correct word. Those who belive in the letter of the Constitution; I think that include conservatives and most libertarians, are the biggest voting block in American. Our job si first to educate enough of the “swing voters” to win the Presidency and control of the Senate in 2012. And then to continue electing more and more people who will live up to their oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
I’d like to throw out a thought for you to consider. When vetting candidates for public office at all levels of government but especially at the Federal level, we should be asking these questions:
- For a presidential candidate. Do you understand the Constitution of the United States? Will you live up to your oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States? Do you understand tha your oath requires you to not enforce any law or decision of the Supreme Court that is unconstitutional and that if you do enforce any unconstitutional law or unconstitutional decision of the Supreme Court, that you are subject to impeachment?
- For House or Senate candidates. Do you understand the Constitution of the United States? Will you live up to your oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States? Do you understand that if the President makes an unconstitutional law through Executive Order or if the President enforces an unconstitutional decision of the Supreme Court, that you are obligate by your oath to impeach the President. If the Supreme Court makes a decision tha the Congress deems unconstitutional, you are obligated by your oath to impeach the Justices that made the unconstitutional decision?
Well, that is what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?