Aside from a few minor technicalities, like the voting of the Electoral College and being actually sworn in, the election is over; Donald Trump will become our 45th president. There are still those who reject the outcome of the election and there are those who are saying it’s over; get over it. But for the most part, people have moved on with their lives; their concern for all things political going dormant again until the next four year presidential freak show in 2020.
As for me, I am neither angered nor saddened by the outcome of the election. To use a common analogy; I didn’t care one way or the other as I didn’t have a horse in the race. Over the course of this election cycle I got into some pretty heated discussions with folks on both sides of the spectrum; those that supported Trump and those that supported Hillary. In a way it is kind of funny; both sides almost felt that the election of the other would bring about the end of America.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret; America, at least the America as outlined by our founding documents, ended a long time ago. The problem with American voters today is that they are divided along two lines; conservatives and liberals, or Republicans and Democrats. The beliefs of both are based not upon the documents which actually established our Republic, but upon their, or their party’s view on what government should do for the people.
That, in and of itself, is the problem right there; government is not supposed to do anything for the people.
When America first gained her independence we were a Confederation; a loosely joined band of independent Nation States with a central government whose job was to provide certain things for the overall management and protection of the union. Certain of our Founders felt that this Confederation was weak and ineffective; so a convention was called and a Constitution written which replaced the Congress created by the Articles of Confederation with a stronger central government.
Although the Constitution created a stronger central government than the one that existed under the Articles of Confederation, the purpose for which government existed remained constant. Most people don’t realize that the purpose for which governments exist is not found in our Constitution, it is found in the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence is more than just a formal declaration stating the intent of the Colonies to sever the ties which bound them to England; it is a universal declaration of the origin of the rights of man and the legitimate purpose for which all governments should exist.
In that document Jefferson states, “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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” (My emphasis)
There you have it, the purpose for which governments exist. You know, I’ve used this quote probably dozens of times, but I don’t think its meaning has ever sunk in. James Wilson, signer of both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, once said, “Government … should be formed to secure and enlarge the exercise of the natural rights of its members; and every government which has not this in view as its principal object is not a government of the legitimate kind.” (My emphasis)
Do you understand that; and I mean deep down inside? If a government is not of the legitimate kind what is it then but illegitimate? Do you know the meaning of the word illegitimate? According to the dictionary one of the definitions for illegitimate is: not authorized by the law. Therefore if our government is not of the legitimate kind, then it is an unlawful one; one whose acts are in and of themselves, violations of the law.
How is it that people call themselves Americans, or patriots, yet still support candidates on either side of the political spectrum who routinely violate the Supreme Law of the Land? You cannot justify voting for corruption because the corruption you vote for isn’t as bad as the corruption others are voting for; that defense does not cut the mustard as far as I’m concerned. Either you vote to uphold your principles or you vote to abandon all principle.
Not only do most not know the purpose for which their government was established, they also do not know how much our Founders despised the ideas of political parties and the origin of the ones we have today. Yet they fall in line behind their respective party and consider themselves good Americans; patriots. What a load of rubbish! A patriot would not vote for any candidate who would support programs which violate the Constitution or infringed upon a single right of the people. A good American would understand the importance of States Rights and seek to ensure that their respective State maintained all its sovereignty as guaranteed by the Constitution and protected by the 10th Amendment.
When our Constitution was written that wasn’t the end of the story; it had to be submitted to each State for ratification before it could go into effect. There was significant opposition to this new system of government by those who were staunch patriots; bulwarks of liberty you might say. Patrick Henry, whose immortal words Give me liberty or give me death stirred the hearts and minds of his fellow Virginians to independence vehemently opposed this Constitution, “It is said eight States have adopted this plan. I declare that if twelve States and a half had adopted it, I would, with manly firmness, and in spite of an erring world, reject it.”
A war of words ensued; with those who supported the proposed Constitution being known as Federalists, and those who opposed it being known simply as Anti-Federalists. Writers on both sides produced letters and commentaries; espousing their views on the proposed Constitution with eloquence and prose.
Among those who supported ratification were James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. They wrote a series of articles which we now know as the Federalist Papers. At first though, they were simply attempts to sway the opinion of New Yorkers towards ratification; not the decisive explanation of the Constitution they are considered to be today.
In Federalist #45 James Madison explained both the balance between State and Federal authority and the powers granted each as follows, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”
That is less than 100 words, 97 to be exact. Yet it explains the relationship between the States and the central government and the powers held by both. Now, if you’ll indulge me, compare that to the balance between State and federal authority today and tell me how far out of whack things have become.
Yet this war of words is the seed from which our current political parties sprung. Once our Constitution was accepted by the required number of States, it went into effect and the obvious choice for our first president was the man who led the Continental Army against the British; George Washington.
When Washington retired from public service after two terms as president he delivered what set the precedent for all future Presidential Farewell Addresses. In his Farewell Letter, Washington states, “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
The man who succeeded Washington as President was John Adams. In a letter to Jonathan Jackson Adams wrote, “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”
The man who followed Adams into the presidency was Thomas Jefferson. In a letter to Francis Hopkinson, Jefferson writes, “I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”
Can you see where I’m going with this?
Yet today in America party takes precedence over principle…EVERY TIME!!! I don’t care if you are a Democrat or a Republican, the Constitution should be your guide in choosing who is best fit to serve as your representative in government; be that representative a member of the House or the president himself. Instead, party platforms dictate the stance candidates take on the issues. Political parties have become, just as Washington feared, “…potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people…”
I remember when the Tea Party first became a movement. I actually began to have a glimmer of hope for this country. Then I attended a Tea Party meeting and saw that it was mostly a bunch of disgruntled Republicans who sought a means to get members of their party into office. Then I saw Sarah Palin as a spokesperson for the Tea Party. Then I saw the candidates who were being elected under the banner of the Tea Party. After all these things I realized that the principle upon which the Tea Party began had been corrupted, infiltrated, and hijacked by the Republicans and turned into a movement which benefitted their cause, their agenda.
Every election I keep hearing the same old tired response to my opposition for run of the mill GOP candidates; that we have to first get our candidate elected; then we can worry about turning things around in this country. Well, when is the turning around going to begin? I heard that nonsense when people voted for Bush; and look what happened; we got the Patriot Act, Department of Homeland Security, and an expanded TSA that all violate our rights.
I tell you what; you guys who voted from Trump can hold your breaths while you wait for all this returning to Constitutional principles you so often talk about; I’ll keep breathing like normal and we’ll see who passes out first.
Trump campaigned on the slogan of Make America Great Again. The problem is this; what do you consider greatness? Do you consider it a booming economy or a return to superpower status? If you do, you’re wrong; because those aren’t the things that made America great. In fact, they are not things the government should have anything to do with in the first place.
Remember how just a few moments ago I mentioned that Patrick Henry opposed the proposed Constitution? Well, the very next words out of his mouth after making that statement were, “You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government.”
You see, that right there is where all the problems lie; not in whether we’ve had too many Democrats or Republicans in control of our government; but what we expect out of government. As long as people do not know the limits the Constitution imposes upon government; as long as the States have lost their position as co-equal parts of the government, as long as people continue to ask government to provide them with benefits and protections they are not entitled to, nothing will change.
Sure, we’ll go back and forth between the two parties; taxes may go up and down, jobs might be created, then lost, but the fundamental principles upon which our nation will not be restored until the people themselves are ready to defend them and stop voting for candidates who have no inclination to support them; or stop voting altogether; withdraw all support for a government that has become illegitimate.
You may cry all you want that your government has become corrupt; but that is not the case. The problem is that the principles you adhere to are corrupt; and the sooner you recognize that fact and change it, the sooner America can truly become great again.
However, the reverse is equally true, the longer you refuse to admit that you are part of the problem, the longer America will continue to circle the drain; and along with it will be the loss of all your liberty.
But hey, go ahead and believe whatever you want. I can only provide you with the facts; it’s up to you to think about them and form your beliefs based upon them. Then again, you need to be ready to accept the consequences of those choices; of your ignorance, your apathy, and your complacency. As the rock band RUSH sang in their song Freewill, “You can choose not to decide but you still have made a choice.”
Choose well grasshopper…