I don’t know if they would let me do this, but after a presidential, or even a mid-term election, I’d like to stand outside the polling place and ask the voters that exit the facility a simple question: On a scale of 1 to 10 how much importance did adhering to the Constitution play in your decision who to vote for? I think the results of such a poll would be very revealing of the mindset of most voters.
I think there are two basic reasons why people vote for a particular candidate. Either they don’t want to see the other candidate win, or they like what that person says regarding whatever issues America currently faces; weak economy, terrorist threat, crime, etc. etc. Rarely does it cross the minds of most voters whether or not the things being promised by those seeking office are among the specific powers our government was supposed to be delegated with, and rarer still do people ever stop to wonder why we have these problems in the first place.
For instance, I have to laugh at people who watch the film Red Dawn, (the original, not the remake) and cheer on the Wolverines as they fight against the Russian and Cuban invasion of America. Yet these same people cheer on and support OUR forces as they invade other countries and condemn the bogeyman terrorists who leave roadside bombs and IED’s that wound and kill our troops.
In Red Dawn the Wolverines are considered terrorists by the invading forces yet we cheer them on as patriots and heroes, yet in Iraq and Afghanistan it is America who has invaded their country and those who leave those improvised weapons for our troops are defending their country against foreign invaders. Can you not see the hypocrisy?
How many Trump supporters were calling for military strikes against Iran after it, allegedly, shot down that U.S. drone? Then how many were applauding Trump for his level headedness after he decided not to initiate military strikes because the response was not proportional to the loss of an unmanned drone?
Can you not see that you are being played like a well tuned violin? Can you not see how, when the media begins beating the drums of war, you begin dancing to the tune like a bunch of mindless zombies? How would YOU like it if Russian, or Chinese drones were constantly flying up and down the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines, spying upon us? Wouldn’t you want them shot down, or some sort of military action taken to secure America from this hostile act of another nation?
I’m not proud of this, but at one point in my life I worked for a company that was affiliated with the U-2 spy plane program, and it was being used to spy upon other countries that were considered threats to American interests. I was let go after the Clinton budget cuts caused that company to lose some of its contracts, and since have been asked to return; each time with more pay as an incentive for me to return. I once told them I would if they would promise me that I would NOT have to go to Iraq of Afghanistan…they said that’s part of the job and if I wanted to come back I’d have to go. So I said no thanks, find someone else.
I wouldn’t go back to them and do THAT job for $100 an hour; it would be a betrayal of my belief that America is an imperialist empire that uses its military as its enforcing arm to either install puppet leaders loyal to American business interests, to plunder the natural resources our country needs, or open the door for U.S. business interests so they can set up shop in those countries we invade. I refuse to be a part of that.
But then my decision to stand behind what I believe in has caused me to lose friends and be labeled as a supporter of global and domestic terrorism. I suppose too many people swallowed that garbage uttered by George W. Bush, “You’re either with us, or with the terrorists.” In a way it’s funny, according to official reports those who flew the alleged planes that struck the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were either Saudi or Egyptian…yet we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yet we were pissed, we wanted blood, and we believed what we were told and went to war against an enemy we can never defeat. That’s right; we will never win the war on terror; for we’ll never be able to eradicate terrorism from the Earth. The war on terror is a blank check, handed to the government, giving it the authority to engage any enemy, anywhere on the planet, any time the government feels it is in the name of American national security. I suppose it is only a side benefit that those who make the bombs, bullets and planes that fight these wars are making huge profits, or that companies like Halliburton, who go in after we have bombed a country to shit, are given lucrative contracts to go in and rebuild them.
I wonder how our economy would be doing if we ceased and desisted in all military intervention in every country we have troops assigned to? Have you ever asked yourself that question?
Can you answer a question for me? When was the last time Congress declared a state of war with another country? I can tell you the exact dates; it was in December of 1941 that Congress last declared war; on December 8 Congress declared war against Japan and December 11 it declared it against Germany. Ever since, every military engagement the U.S. has been involved in has been unconstitutional. Think about that!
While serving as President, George Washington wrote the following in a letter to William Moultrie in 1793, “The Constitution vests the power of declaring War with Congress, therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject, and authorised such a measure.”
I’m not saying that the U.S. cannot use force to defend itself if it is attacked; what I’m saying is that we cannot mobilize our military and send them to the far corners of the globe without an official declaration of war by Congress. We did so after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, (even though I suspect we knew that attack was coming and let it happen to open the doorway to American involvement in the war engulfing Europe), why couldn’t we do it after 9/11?
But an official declaration of war requires a clear cut enemy that we can go in and defeat; or be defeated by if that should happen. This war on terror is vague in that there is no clearly defined enemy for us to fight; terrorism can spring up anywhere and under the banner of the war against terror U.S. troops could be deployed to fight it. Hell, had 9/11 happened decades ago we could have seen U.S. troops on the streets of Dublin, Ireland fighting the IRA; Irish Republican Army for you youngsters. Or we could have invaded Germany again to battle the Baader-Meinhof Gang, otherwise known as the Red Army Faction.
Where are the declarations of war by Congress for all these past and present U.S. military engagements? Vietnam didn’t have one, nor did the Korean Conflict. You see, the way it was supposed to work is that Congress decides who we go to war with, and once they have declared war then the President is charged with the management of the war effort as Commander in Chief of the armed forces. But none of that was supposed to happen without a formal declaration of war by Congress.
Congress cannot pass the authority to decide when and where to send U.S. troops on to the President; it doesn’t work that way. We delegated certain powers to each of the 3 branches of government by the Constitution, and once delegated those branches cannot simply delegate their power to another branch…not without a constitutional amendment altering the balance of power between the 3 branches. So, unless Congress declares war, no U.S. troops should be involved in, what were Washington’s words, oh yeah, any “… offensive expedition of importance…”
I would say close to two decades of U.S. involvement in Iraq qualifies as an offensive expedition of importance, wouldn’t you? Now the drums of war are beating once again, and this time it is Iran that is in the crosshairs.
It’s funny how we say Iran is a threat to the U.S. as a sponsor of global terrorism yet they have never directly attacked the U.S. On the flip side, what has the U.S. done to Iran? Well let’s see. In 1953 the CIA, along with British Intelligence staged a coup that saw the democratically elected leader of Iran ousted, to be replaced with the brutal Shah who subjugated and terrorized his own people, but was allowed to lead because he was friendly to U.S. and British business interests – meaning the oil companies.
Depending upon who you ask there are anywhere from 45 to 80 some odd bases where U.S. troops are deployed in the Middle East; forming a circle that encages Iran. And yet we are the ones who feel threatened? I wonder how we’d feel if Russia or China set up a ring of bases in Canada and Mexico; each within striking distance of any U.S. city? Oh, but Iran is the bad guy; just like Osama was the bad guy; like Saddam was the bad guy.
I guess you forgot that we helped Saddam with intelligence and weapons when he fought his war against Iran in the 1980’s. I guess you forgot that Osama was our ally when we were funding and equipping the Mujahedeen who were fighting to evict Russia from Afghanistan during that same time frame. It’s funny how all these former allies turn into our enemies that we later have to go in and deal with when they become threats to us or our business interests. Maybe if we just kept our noses out of the internal affairs of other countries we wouldn’t have so many enemies to fight; but what would become of the economy; the bottom line of the military industrial complex if that happened? It would tank, for who would they sell their bullets and bombs to if not the U.S. military?
In 1821, back when there was still some semblance of understanding of America’s role on the world stage and the powers delegated government by the Constitution, John Quincy Adams delivered a speech commemorating our independence. In that epical speech Adams said, “America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights. She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”
But that’s what happens when ignorance of the document that established our system of government prevails in this country, we get a government that no longer feels it has to adhere to the limits imposed upon its powers. To most people supporting a particular candidate, or whatever war effort our government deems is in the national interests is the barometer for patriotism, not whether or not government is limiting itself to its constitutional authority.
Although I kept my focus on the American war machine for the purpose of this article, the same concept applies to almost everything our government does, from creating jobs to providing social justice and benefits to those living within the U.S.; are these things among the specific reasons our government was established to serve and are they among the specific powers delegated to it?
Thomas Jefferson once said, “…in questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution.” But what are those chains to bind government by and where may they be found in the Constitution? What power do you as a voter have in restraining those you elect from overstepping their delegated authority; that is if you even had the wherewithal to exercise that power? I certainly haven’t found such power within the Constitution. They have a standing army in the form of a multitude of governmental agencies and law enforcers to ensure that we obey the laws they enact, but where is our recourse for when they overstep the supreme law of the land? Hmmm, can you answer me that?
You may be, at heart, a good person…then again you may not be, but if you are a basically good person where is it within your power to restrain government from overstepping its authority if it should so choose to do so? I’m not talking about voting them out of office, I’m talking about the halting of any unconstitutional piece of legislation from being implemented and enforced, or those responsible for enacting such legislation being punished and sentenced to prison for their crimes? Where is that authority and power to be found in the Constitution?
I’ll tell you where, NOWHERE. As Patrick Henry said in a speech opposing the ratification of the Constitution, “The Honorable Gentleman who presides, told us, that to prevent abuses in our Government, we will assemble in Convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. Oh, Sir, we should have fine times indeed, if to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people. Your arms wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical; no longer democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all?”
We put our trust and faith in those people we elect to do what is right, but we have no means of punishing them should they do wrong, and the sad thing is that most people can’t tell the difference between the two because they are ignorant of what their government was created to do in the first place.
Therefore, the constitution is nothing more than a blank check for tyrants and power hungry people to gain control over a people and a nation to enrich themselves and those who fund their campaigns for office. We are merely the dupes and saps who fall for their lies and their rhetoric; thinking that we are patriots who are doing what’s best for America.
That is why I no longer vote; for I see that the entire system is flawed, that it imposes no real checks upon the expansion of government and the growth of its power; with the consequent loss of liberty to the people. If the people have no means of restraining government, and if the government will not restrain itself, then what do you get? You get tyranny and an overbearing and oppressive entity that believes it is not there to serve you according to the few specific powers delegated it, you get an entity that believes it was instituted to rule over you…and that is not representation, it is subjugation.
As Daniel Webster once said, “There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” I didn’t sign up to be a part of any system where I have a master who tells me how I can live my life; what I can and cannot do. That is not what liberty entails, and if this system of government believes that is its sole purpose, than I no longer want to participate in choosing who will sit in the various seats of power within that system.
And if neither the people or the Constitution itself are capable of restraining government and defending my liberty then Spooner was right in saying, “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”
I fear I have already stretched the limits of your tolerance, but let me add but one final thought. If our government truly was instituted by consent of the people, and if it should become tyrannical and oppressive, isn’t it within the power of its creators to revoke their consent to this form of government and return to a condition where it holds no authority over them? After all, isn’t that what the Declaration of Independence is all about?
If that is the case, then why do so many idolize Abraham Lincoln; for he sought to deny that power to the creators of government, saying that once established the people must forever yield to the authority and will of said government; that they may NEVER return to a state of being free of its influence and power.
From the moment our government was instituted it began expanding its power beyond the power those who chose to ratify the Constitution were promised it would exercise. In essence, it immediately began the process of becoming a tyrant. Yet it wasn’t until the Civil War that it exerted its supremacy in denying its creators the right to alter or abolish government and institute government that would better serve the ends for which all government should serve; the rights and liberty of the governed.
We have not had a Constitutional form of government for a very long time. What we have had is a government that does as it pleases; or at least what it can get away with without too much backlash from the public, and one that can and will use force upon the governed to ensure that we remain loyal to it and obey the laws it enacts.
As long as we don’t rock the boat too much we are left free to pretty much do what we want; as long as we obey certain rules and regulations in doing those things. That is not freedom; not when there are thousands of minute rules and regulations telling us what we can do, and how we must go about doing it.
But you go right ahead, keep voting; hoping that the infusion of a few fresh faces into this machine is going to change things for the better. I mean, it’s worked so well to restore liberty so far, so you might as well continue…right?
Yeah, keep on believing that…and I have some land on the Moon I’d like to sell you….