I’m sure some of you reading this have seen the Nicholas Cage movie National Treasure; where he steals the Declaration of Independence to find a treasure map on the back side. Remembering back to how well protected, and closely guarded our Founding Documents are, it would take a small army to steal any of them.
But let’s just say that someone were successful in stealing the Constitution; how would the people of this country react? Let’s say someone did steal it, then later posted videos on YouTube of them running it through an industrial sized paper shredder…then how would people feel? I’m not 100% certain, but I’m pretty sure that whoever did such a thing would go down in the history books right next to the likes of John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald.
The Constitution has no monetary value; unlike a painting by an artist like Rembrandt. Also, there are copies of it almost everywhere. Hell, I have 3 copies of it in my house and would gladly be willing to give one to people if the original were somehow destroyed.
So again, why would people be so upset were our Constitution to be stolen and destroyed? The only logical answer to that question is that the Constitution is valuable to them…priceless even, because of its historical value; not what it says.
The Constitution is more than just some ancient piece of parchment with words written on it and the signatures of a few famous men from our countries history; it is the permit to operate which the people gave our government. Without it, government has no right to exist or exert any authority over us. Take it away and their power goes with it; it’s that simple.
Two years after it was ratified the same Thomas Paine who stirred the Colonists to a revolutionary fervor with his book Common Sense wrote another book defending the French Revolution entitled The Rights of Man. In this book Paine gives the best description of what a constitution is that I have ever read. You would do well to read and understand what Paine says:
A constitution is not a thing in name only, but in fact. It has not an ideal, but a real existence; and wherever it cannot be produced in a visible form, there is none. A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution. The constitution of a country is not the act of its government, but of the people constituting its government. It is the body of elements, to which you can refer, and quote article by article; and which contains the principles on which the government shall be established, the manner in which it shall be organised, the powers it shall have, the mode of elections, the duration of Parliaments, or by what other name such bodies may be called; the powers which the executive part of the government shall have; and in fine, everything that relates to the complete organisation of a civil government, and the principles on which it shall act, and by which it shall be bound. A constitution, therefore, is to a government what the laws made afterwards by that government are to a court of judicature. The court of judicature does not make the laws, neither can it alter them; it only acts in conformity to the laws made: and the government is in like manner governed by the constitution.
The Constitution of the United States is nothing less than the law which governs the actions of our government. If they violate it their acts are not only unconstitutional, but criminal.
HOW HARD IS THAT TO UNDERSTAND?
The Constitution is only 4,543 words long; 7,591 if you include all 27 of the amendments which were added to it. Yet I bet that less than 5% of the people in this country know what it says; and I’m being generous with my numbers.
All the time I hear people talking about how they are making informed decisions when they vote. How can that be when they do not even know the limits upon the powers granted government, or choose to vote for people who base their campaigns upon promises which clearly overstep those limits?
How can people say, with a straight face anyway, that they cherish the Constitution, yet vote for people whose campaigns clearly show they do not intend to uphold it? How can people say they cherish the Constitution yet allow their government to routinely violate it without fear of reprimand by the people?
On June 5, 1788 when Patrick Henry rose to address the Virginia Ratification Assembly, he stated, “My great objection to this Government is, that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights, or of waging war against tyrants.”
Did you know that when America fought for its independence that only 3% of the people actively fought the British? One third of the Colonists sought a separation from England; one third of the people sought to remain British subjects, and one third of them didn’t care one way or the other.
If you think about that only one third of the people cared enough about their liberty to seek independence from a tyrant, and only 3 out of every 100 picked up their arms and fought to ensure that independence happened. The other two thirds were either happy in their servitude, or they were, as are the majority of Americans today, blissfully apathetic.
You may not care that your government oversteps its powers; but I do. You may not care that government routinely violates your rights; but I do.
You say you are making informed decisions but the truth is you don’t know squat; otherwise every one of those people in our government would be sitting behind bars, or hung from lamp posts for their crimes; not drawing a salary and collecting retirement packages that dwarf those the average American gets when they retire.
We could change all that if you would only learn what the Constitution says, and then apply that strictly when choosing whom will represent you in government. So, in an effort to enlighten you, here is what the Constitution actually says are the powers given our government?
Article 1, Section 1: All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
(That means only Congress can make laws)
Article 1, Section 8:
1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
4: To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
5: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
6: To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
9: To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
13: To provide and maintain a Navy;
14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;—And
18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
(These are the things Congress can enact legislation upon)
Article 2, Section 1: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.
(The job of the president is not to create law, but to execute faithfully the laws passed by Congress and veto those which violate the Constitution)
Article 2, Sections 2 & 3:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
2: He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
3: The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
1: He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
(These are the powers given the office of president)
And finally, these are our rights as protected by Constitutional Amendment; almost all of which have been violated to varying degrees:
Article [I] (Amendment 1 – Freedom of expression and religion)
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Article [II] (Amendment 2 – Bearing Arms)
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Article [III] (Amendment 3 – Quartering Soldiers)
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.
Article [IV] (Amendment 4 – Search and Seizure)
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.
Article [V] (Amendment 5 – Rights of Persons)
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Article [VI] (Amendment 6 – Rights of Accused in Criminal Prosecutions)
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Article [VII] (Amendment 7 – Civil Trials)
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Article [VIII] (Amendment 8 – Further Guarantees in Criminal Cases)
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Article [IX] (Amendment 9 – Unenumerated Rights)
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Article [X] (Amendment 10 – Reserved Powers)
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
People voted for Barack Obama because he promised them Hope and Change. They voted for Trump because he promised to Make America Great Again. Stop voting for catchy campaign catch phrases and start voting for those who will adhere to the limits placed upon their power and authority, and who will respect and safeguard your rights.
Otherwise the next time you want to know what’s wrong with America you need only look in the mirror for an answer.
As I was writing this my friend Mike Gaddy was writing something that, after reading it, I felt was the perfect companion piece to this. So I am including a link to his article, IT’S ALL OVER BUT THE SAD SINGING AND SLOW WALKING! here for your edification.
If you read them both I think you will have a good sense of how Mike and I feel about the state of affairs in America today.