American is not a Democracy ..

America is not a democracy … it is a republic.  This is not an accident.  The Founders of our country, those who wrote the Constitution, intended it to be that way.

Most of us were poorly served when we were instructed in civics.  Our teachers themselves had been taught by professors who were imbued with a century of Progressive propaganda aimed at distorting the meaning the Constitution and the clouding of the reasoning behind the tenants of that August document.  We are constantly told that America is a “democracy” … that we should venerate the idea that democracy is absolute equality, that “one man, one vote” is the utopian goal.  We are told by the purveyors of Progressive and Socialistic thought that elements of the Constitution are “anachronistic” (out of step with time); we are told that the electoral college that elects the President is a confusing dinosaur of the past that has no present usefulness; we are told that the Constitution is a “living” document; we are told that the “interstate commerce clause” was intended to allow the Federal government to regulate all business in all the States no matter where or how it is conducted; that the “supremacy clause” means that any State law can be overturned merely by passing a contrary Federal law; that the “general welfare clause” or “necessary and proper clause” empowers the Federal government to spend any amount of the people’s treasure to help the “disadvantaged.”  Are these and other intrusive actions in which the Federal government engages what the Founders of the Republic had in mind?

Consider the men who wrote the Constitution.  They were not exposed to the propaganda of massive newspapers and magazines.  There was no radio or TV blaring their incessant commercial yammering.  What they had, for this was the Age of Enlightenment, was the history of the travails of antiquity and the reality of their own times.  They knew about the governments of men, not only in their present, but of the triumphs and failures of the past.  There had never before been individual freedom anywhere on Earth and they were determined to save that freedom  for themselves and their posterity now that they had gained it.  These men had all been subject to the will of an autocrat.  Either they, their father or not too distant grandfather had fled from serfdom or deep tyranny, mostly from Europe, to this new place of hope.  They were all traitors to their beginnings … they were all revolutionaries, but most importantly they were all individuals that respected the individuality of their peers.

Their revolution had been overseen by a mostly anemic organization, the Continental Congress, but the war had been fought by volunteer militia from 13 separate Sovereign States.  After the war, these sovereign states continued on their separate ways, but because of shared common interests, they attempted a common national front before the rest of the world under the Articles of Confederation.  Under the Articles many of the problems among the states could be and were solved, take for instance the “Northwest Ordinances which allowed for the westward expansion of the country.  But there were many shortcomings among which were … the inability to finance the government; the inability to act in a timely fashion on issues of commerce and navigation; and the inability to provide for the common defense.  After a failed meeting in Annapolis, Maryland in 1786, leaders, including Madison, Hamilton and Washington, decided to meet in Philadelphia in May of 1787 to address the problems and suggest solutions.  Very soon after the meeting convened, the delegates mutually consented to attempt a radical overhaul.  Thus began the epic meeting that lasted, overcoming many contentious debates, from May 14 to September 17, 1787.

What were the issues?  Of course the main consideration was to protect individual freedom.  Secondarily, they had to devise a national government to promote harmony among the States and with foreign governments and to protect their common interests from outside influences and dangers.

Because the members had a “classical education,” they had become experts in comparative government, and because they knew what had happened in the past, they, to a man, distrusted mass democracy.  They opted instead for a Republic of limited governmental powers.  A national Republic of State Republics wherein the individual voter democratically elected from among those he knew or could know, his peers, those of known integrity to represent him at the state level and through those legislators or electors, the Senate of the national government.

There hadn’t been many democracies in the past, but those that had existed had all devolved into chaos, the most notable being the example held up to us by our teachers as being a beacon of freedom, Athens.  Perhaps the Founders distrusted democracy because many of them had studied the Greek language and knew that the word, democracy, could be translated as “mob rule.”

So if you believe in the individual and distrust the crowd, will democracy work anywhere and if so where?  The answer is that democracy works and is fair where there is reasonable discourse.  It works in small groups where all can participate, like the town hall meeting, the coffee klatch, the school board and the commissioner’s meeting or small bodies like the Houses of the Legislature.  It works in those places where people are willing to give and take and are willing to cede some of their individual interests to the majority will of their immediate community for their own security.  But consider the fairness of a majority vote in a large stadium full of people where the issue is contrary to your own personal interests.  Chances are that you will have no personal input in this scenario, or if you do, your voice and interests are lost in a sea of other people’s voices and interests, generally in issues in which you may have no cause.  Since you do not well know the motivations or needs of the others, isn’t it likely that you will follow the lead of some “expert?”  In ancient Athens there were those experts, the demagogues.  This word translates to “mob teacher.”  Now, common sense will tell you that the demagogues will plead to the crowd in their own self interest in order to gain power or fame.  Always have and always will.  Common sense also suggests that the unscrupulous teacher might lie, stretch the truth, omit, slander, obfuscate or otherwise distort to gain his point.  This was the experience in Athens.  As the story goes, the assembly would require you to drink poison hemlock one day and then build a statue to you the next, all depending upon the message of the last speaker.   And so it goes today … “I will close Guantanamo my first day in office;” “if you make less than $250,000, I will not raise your taxes one dollar;” “you can keep your present health care policy;” “unemployment will never go over 8%.”  And on and on.  Our Constitutional Founders knew the scenario well and feared it … you can read about it in the Federalist papers and in the histories of the Convention.

James Madison and his fellow Virginians opened the Convention by proposing a three branched Federal government where the executive, legislative and judiciary were all elected popularly.  If you think about it, under this arrangement, it was only necessary for Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston to vote, because that is where the majority of the population resided.  (By the same token, the entire western United States could be democratically represented today by the votes of San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Denver)  The suggestion was not well received by the Convention.  Why would or maybe how could the “small states” participate in such a scheme?  Where was the protection for the interests of the States?  An answer soon came from the small states, New Hampshire, Delaware, New Jersey and Connecticut.  The President would be elected by the popular vote in each state, state by state; the Congress would have two houses, the Senate to represent the interests of the States and the House of Representatives would represent the interests of the people.  The Senate would have two members from each state regardless of the size of the state; the House would have members in proportion to each state’s proportion of the total population with the caveat that each state would have at least one member, so that no state was precluded from representation in that body.  The Senate was to be elected by the state legislatures.  Since Senators were, in essence, ambassadors from the state to the national government and since, in addition to their legislative duties, they were to supplement the executive by ratifying both treaties and the appointment of members of the judiciary, it was thought that they needed longer terms of office that would span several Congresses and the term of the President.  This was done in order to enable them to be free of momentary exigencies in their deliberations.  Since the legislatures that elected them, in most states, changed every two years, the terms of the Senators were staggered so that those in office more accurately reflected the views of the Legislature.

It has often been said that the Constitution is a document of genius.  The genius is in the division of powers.  Each of the three arms of government has Constitutional controls of some nature over each of the others.  This is also manifested in more subtle “checks and balances.”  The Congress is constrained by the necessity of legislation having to be passed by both bodies; the Senate by the fact that any appropriations must originate in the House; the executive and judiciary by the fact that the legislative must pay them; the President has his veto, but the Congress can override him. And if any or all of the branches of the Federal government should take on powers not delegated to them, after the adoption of the 10th Amendment, the States can reject their actions. Any study of the Constitution informs us of the aforementioned, but we must look more deeply to discover why our system has been so successful.

Looking deeper into the problem, we were never informed as to the political benefits of this system.  How did it enfranchise the individual?  It is without question that the persons selected by this process to the United States Senate would always be among the most ardent advocates for their particular state.  That is because they would be selected for that high office by the most honored members of the state’s local communities, the legislators.  The individual legislators, in turn, had been democratically elected from communities where they were not only known, but were leaders.  The individual voter knew or could easily know the local legislator, because the legislator was, like himself, a visible participant in local affairs.  The avenue for the individual to make his vote count for something was to be an active participant in local political and civic institutions.  By doing this, the individual could know and communicate with his local representative … the local representative would then know the individual and could use that person’s expertise and experience as a resource. Symbiosis!  If candidates for the United States Senate were to campaign locally, it is probable that the interested local individual would come to know their stances on issues, but not likely that he would ever know the candidate’s true character … but his friend, the legislator would.  Through this truly republican mechanism, now gone up in the smoke of the 17th Amendment, the individual had a direct personal link from himself to the floor of the United States Senate.  As the system stands now with “one man, one vote” the individual’s vote disappears into a black morass of yeas or nays with no one responsible for the veracity of his efforts.  The 17th Amendment coupled with court mandated re-apportionment has destroyed the once vibrant institution of local and state politics.

It has been claimed that the 17th Amendment was instituted, among other reasons, because sometimes the state legislature was unable to come to an agreement as to who should serve.  As a result some seats were vacant for a considerable period of time.  This indeed did happen.  The fact is that if the legislature of the state could not agree, it may well have been better to not send an ambassador to the Senate at all.  Of course, the legislature apprehending this problem could have easily provided a method by which that fault could have been cured if they had wanted.  But it was not a disaster … why send someone with whom you do not agree?  And as always happens when dealing with the Federal government, the beast was its self the cause of the problem; in 1866 the Congress had passed a law that forbade the seating of a Senator who had not received a majority vote of the Legislature.  Leaving this law un-enacted would have guaranteed that a plurality could have elected Senators and the issue of vacancy would have never arisen.   Interestingly, another manifestation of this check to the system follows thusly: if the political content of the legislature changed between the elections of the Senators so, presumably, would the philosophy of the new Senator.  In this case, the votes between the two would have cancelled … giving the same political result that would accrue if the state had no Senator at all.

It also has been scurrilously alleged that the 17th Amendment was adopted to end the practice of the bosses, the rich and the influence peddlers who were allegedly bribing state legislators for their votes in Senatorial elections.  This allegation is an unconscionable attack on the integrity of not only state legislators, but upon the Legislatures themselves.  At the time of the debates on adoption of the 17th Amendment, US Senator Weldon Heyburn, from the State of Idaho, commented, “I should like to see some Senator rise in his seat and say that the legislature of his state which elected him was not competent, was not fit, was not honest enough to be trusted.  Then I should be interested to see him go back and say ‘I am a candidate for re-election.’ ”

It is a matter of provable record that bribery or corruption was alleged in only 15 senatorial contests from 1789 until 1913 with only 7 Senators being denied their seats.  In that time 1180 men were elected Senator.

So what do we have now?  The United States Congress has two popularly elected bodies.  In the name of democracy there is no longer a check on “popular sovereignty;” the Senate no longer represents the interests of the State; the Legislature no longer has any viable ambassador to check the actions of the Federal government; the popular actions of the House are no longer balanced by a Senate composed of members with a different agenda; … Congress is essentially a unicameral body.

And is the process better?  What could be more corrupt than the lobbyists that the Senator meets each day, in his comings and goings from the chambers of the Senate, being his biggest campaign contributors?  Today, the least expensive Senatorial campaign is a multi-million dollar affair.  Carpet bagging is rampant … how does an Arkansas lawyer become a Senator from New York State? … Or for that matter a rich politician from the home of the “Red Socks” serve New York?  In States where the elections are less expensive, the exceedingly wealthy suddenly appear to rescue the “uninformed.”  And if the candidate is not articulate enough to be a demagogue, the media, the newspapers, radio, TV and now the internet do it for him.  Elections that should take only a small part of one legislative day and cost very little are now contested for a year or more and cost millions of dollars of in-state and more ominously out-of-state money.  Ask yourself which system lends itself to more corruption?

The democratic republic envisioned by our Founding Fathers has been attacked and severely wounded.  The political process in this nation is disintegrating into the “mob rule” so feared by our forefathers.  The Founders created “a more perfect union” of very limited, albeit important, powers to protect the essence of the American Revolution … the States and their People.  Let us repeal the 17th Amendment as the first and most important step in restoring our Republic.  This can be done by forming a truly representative Legislature, one where every political subdivision, the Counties, has a voice.  The answer is to have a state legislature where each County has a Senator and at least one Representative  … where the diversity of problems of the land and the People is represented.

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Your Duties as a Legislator ..

This post was a proposed floor speech written to apprise a legislative assembly of the obligations of the members to their oath of office.

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When an individual enters the Legislature of a state, that person takes an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America and of  (my state).”  It is as solemn and sacred a pledge as a human being can give and is a covenant binding that person with all those who have gone before, beginning with colonial America.

Those who served in the legislatures of the British colonies are the people who were responsible for leading our forefathers out of tyranny into our Republic.  Our republic is a miracle system that venerates, and for the first time in history protects, individual freedom.  Those early legislators were the ones that cried out for our “inalienable God given rights.”  It was in the Virginia Legislature, the House of Burgesses, that Patrick Henry immortally said, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

Our “Bill of Rights” in a large part came from that same Virginia Assembly, which in its wisdom sent a brilliant young legislator as a delegate to the 2nd Continental Congress.  That delegate, Thomas Jefferson, using as his guide the recently enacted “Virginia Rights of Man” wrote one of the greatest documents of all history, the American Declaration of Independence.

It was the Legislatures of the Colonies that sent their very best emissaries to the Continental Congress to conduct the affairs of the war that won us our independence.  Those Legislatures, after we gained our independence, again sent their very best to Philadelphia to write the Constitution of the United States of America.  And when it was written, it was the Legislatures that provided for its adoption.

Many, if not most, who have taken the oath, have not reflected deeply upon what its obligations are.  But you can be assured that there is no obligation to “protect and defend” laws unauthorized by the Constitution.  Constitutionally unauthorized laws are no law at all.

Most of us are not aware that many of the most prominent Revolutionary leaders were very fearful of the new Constitution when it was being considered for ratification.  They felt that the document did not overtly protect those “inalienable rights endowed to us by our Creator” nor did it give due deference to its creator, the States.  Great Revolutionary patriots like Patrick Henry, George Clinton, Melancton Smith, George Mason, James Monroe and Henry Lee openly and stridently opposed the writers of the “Federalist Papers,” James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay because they were proposing (although they, for the most part denied it) a superior government that could and probably would present a tyranny over the States and ultimately the People not unlike that that the Revolution had so recently overthrown.

The vote on the adoption of the Constitution by the States was a narrowly run thing, it being adopted by miniscule majorities in many states … and only then after the Federalists promised their opposition, the writers of the “Anti-Federalist Papers,” that the first order of business of the new government would be to adopt a “Bill of Rights” that guaranteed the status of the States and the inalienable rights of the people that already existed in the Constitutions of many of the States.  With those assurances, the Constitution was adopted.  The Federal government  was established to promote peace and harmony between the States and to present a  unified United States of America presence to the Nations of the Earth.  The States were to make the laws that particularly represented the needs, cares and wishes of their citizenry.

The “Bill of Rights” consists of the first ten Amendments to the Constitution.  We are all familiar with the rights of free speech, assembly, press and religion and the right to bear arms.  We, for the most part, have never given any thought to quartering troops in our houses and we are all aware of the freedoms of the individual when standing before the law and courts that are guaranteed in the 4th through the 8th Amendments.  The unarticulated rights of man protected by the 9th Amendment have never been truly tested or vetted.  And the Federal government has never attempted to enforce the 10th Amendment.  Nevertheless our government under the Constitution of the United States of America would be, I believe, unthinkable, without the “Bill of Rights” that the “Anti-Federalist” patriots fought so hard for.  And don’t forget that the Founders held that all the ten amendments in the “Bill of Rights” to be fundamental to the protection of our Freedoms.

Most of us who have made a limited study of the application of the US government can cite many of the advantages given our great Republic by the “Bill”, but in my experience and acquaintance with state government there is a continual complaint … why does the Federal government ignore the 10th  Amendment?

Consider why!  None of the three branches of the Federal government has any interest in policing laws that favor the States … any consideration of the States opposes the powers of one, two or all three of the branches of the Federal government.  The prima-facie truth is that the 10th Amendment provides the Constitutional vehicle for the States to oppose and refuse un-Constitutional actions by the Federal government.  It provides that any law (or court decision interpreting a law) that is not specifically authorized in the Constitution is no law at all.  The States have full Constitutional power and sanction to ignore and refuse to enforce such epistles from the President, Congress or the Supreme Court.  State Legislatures are fully authorized by the Constitution to not only to disregard such illegal attempts, but to provide penalties for doing so.

Much devilment of the States has been provided by Supreme Court decisions that find “hidden intent” in the plain language of the Constitution.  Where in the Constitution is there a clause that says that the Federal Courts can determine the make-up and apportionment of state legislatures when the plain wording in the Constitution guarantees the States a Republican form of government?  How does the Federal government gain the right to pass any law whatsoever that it wishes because the Supreme Court in Wickard v. Filburn found that a pig eaten by a farmer, grown by the farmer, fed wheat grown by the farmer, none of which ever left his farm was in interstate commerce?  These decisions and the States sycophantic adherence to them were the precursors to the fulminating federal tyranny now descending upon us.

There are precedents as to how to proceed.  One being that when the Statists of the early Republic attempted to impose the tyranny of the “Alien and Sedition Laws” upon the populace and the States and the Supreme Court upheld them.  Great champions of freedom, no less than Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, proposed “nullification” of those Federal laws by the States.  Their efforts resulted in the laws being repealed.

Yes, as a legislator your duty is to represent, protect and advance the views of your constituents to the state gathering, the Legislature, for the benefit of all.  But you have a higher duty and that is to protect the people of your state from tyranny … from whatever quarter it comes.  The 10th Amendment of the precious “Bill of Rights” demands that you stand up to the statists in the Federal government.

Where in the Constitution does it say that this state is inferior to the EPA; or the Fish and Wildlife Service; or the Department of Labor; or the Department of Education or any other bureau?  The answer is that it does not … none of the rules, edicts, mandates, coercions, regulations or other demands, or for that matter, the Federal bureaus themselves, are legally authorized in the Constitution.

If we, in the legislature do not stand against this descending tyranny, then tyranny we will have…

OUR REPUBLIC WILL CEASE TO EXIST!!!

The Legislature is duty bound, for the protection of our freedoms, to inspect and then reject all actions from the Federal government that do not conform to the 17 actions authorized to the Federal government under the Constitution.  The 10th Amendment protects us from Federal tyranny and demands our protective vigilance.  There would have been no Constitution without the 10th Amendment, for if the States had not had the final say, they would not have ratified it.

The only powers specifically given to Congress appear in Article I Section 8, and are the following:

  • To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
  • To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
  • To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;
  • To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;
  • To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
  • To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;
  • To establish post offices and post roads;
  • 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;
  • To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
  • To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
  • To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
  • To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
  • To provide and maintain a navy;
  • To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
  • To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
  • 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;
  • To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles (16 km) 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, dockyards, and other needful buildings.

Only these powers were given under the original Constitution and the only subsequent powers are those necessary to enforce several amendments.

Remember, the 10th Amendment constrains the Federal government to only make laws that are specifically authorized … all other laws not specifically denied to the States are reserved to the States or the People.

 

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Proposed Legislative Remarks ..

This speech, previously posted in this blog, although undelivered, was written to be delivered to the Legislature to apprise the members of their duties and make them aware of the tyranny confronting them.  Although all Legislators have sworn an oath, (“I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of  (“our State,”) and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of (“my office”) according to the best of my ability.”) few have read the Constitutions and fewer still have taken the time to understand them.  We, who are fighting this fight understand that we are in an existential battle to save our republic … most Legislators are unaware of this fight and if they are, they are resigned to the premise that we can do nothing about it.  We know that we can fight and win.  Our duty is to convince the Legislature to act.

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Mr. Speaker and Honorable members of the House … I arise today, at the beginning of this session of the Legislature to speak to you about our mission here in the Legislature … to urge you to think about our place in the destiny of this the greatest experiment in human freedom; about our place in the genius of the American system; about that Republic called the United States of America.

Surely, our primary job here is to provide for the protection of the persons and property of the citizens of our great state.  To provide a legal environment of mobility, safety, tranquility, and sense of hope and optimism for the future for our children … and a haven of comfort and satisfaction for our elderly and disadvantaged … but we also have a higher duty that has been sorely neglected, that duty of protecting the gift of human freedom bequeathed to us long ago by our Revolutionary Forefathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

Today the States of our Federal Republic are being attacked from Washington, DC in seemingly the same arbitrary manner that King George III was attacking our forefathers from London in the mid 18th century.  King George would not tolerate self government in the colonies and we are now confronted in a similar manner by an incomprehensibly enormous bureaucracy in that far away place, Washington, DC … a government that is clearly, day by day, year by year usurping the Constitutional rights of this state and its people to itself.

We are all familiar with the opening lines of the Declaration which states its intention … “When in the Course of Human Events it becomes necessary”… but how many of us can recall the reasons given for the separation?  Let us review some of those reasons … the Declaration states:

  1. In one place, “We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us” … Have you ever given thought to the fact that the US Constitution grants the Federal Government 17 enumerated powers and only those powers alone.
  2. It states in another, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it” … You should be cognizant that most of the Federal Government and its intrusive bureaucracy is not authorized by the Constitution, but has been created by unauthorized laws or by fiat judicial decisions.
  3. In another it states, “When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, It is their duty, to throw off such Government” … Our nation is a Federation of small self governing Republics; when a central government erected to promote peace and harmony among equals and to protect the whole from foreign aggression itself becomes the aggressor of our freedom, it is our right … our duty to stand up to that aggression.
  4. Further it states, “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance” … The bureaucracy to which we are subjected is so large as to be unknowable and is motivated by forces alien to, unresponsive to and uninformed of the exigencies of our State. Is our State subordinate to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the case of the introduced wolves? Or to the US Department of the Interior in the case of managing the Sage Grouse?
  5. And further, “He has combined with others (*I would say the 3 branches) to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws” … Where in the US Constitution does it say that the Federal Courts have the right to nullify an article in our State Constitution defining marriage?
  6. And finally, “For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent” … The socialistic Obamacare outrage was sold to the Congress and us as providing for our healthcare, when in fact, when the 2000 plus unread pages of the bill were finally deciphered, we, as does the US Supreme Court, find it to be a tax.

All in all, the abuses by King George that propelled our forefathers to revolution and the abuses of the Constitution by the present Federal government toward the states are compellingly similar.  We certainly do not want to overthrow the Federal government, but as free men, elected representatives in a federated Republic, sworn by solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution, we are honor bound to do as Jefferson so eloquently proclaimed: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter.. it” … We must alter any unConstitutional infringements on our freedom!

So what does the Constitution say about it?  First it is of fundamental importance to understand that our Federal government is not a Democracy, nor are the States Democracies.  You will find no reference to democracy in either the Declaration or the Constitution.  Our forefathers were uncommonly expert in comparative government.  They, to a man, knew that democracies always fail; they fail because the masses cannot understand the issues and are therefore at the mercy of the demagogues… or more insidiously, compelled by the human failings of avarice and greed, they vote themselves largess from the public treasury until the polity is bankrupt.  The forefathers also understood that there is a tyranny of the majority that will prove fatal to general government.  Can the massive population majority of New York City efficiently govern Rhode Island, Vermont or New Hampshire or for that matter the rest of New York state?  Shouldn’t those entities have the final say in their fate?  The Revolutionary War had been about human freedom … the freedom of the individual.  The writers of the Constitution understood that only a representative form of government would work to preserve human freedom.   A government where the individual voter picked from among his peers a person who was an exemplar of his particular ideals with the integrity to represent his views in the next level of government.  They understood that democracy only worked where people of good will met face to face and presented their solutions to problems of mutual concern to the judgment of their gathered peers.  They knew that this face to face discourse worked in villages, townships, precincts, and legislatures and would work in the new Congress.  Small bodies where men of good will meeting face to face solving their problems with their peers.    The Constitution compartmentalized American government, giving due deference to the diversity of the States and to the general populace.  That is why the Constitution plainly states in Article 4 Section 4 that the States are guaranteed a “Republican Form of Government.”

James Madison, the father of the Constitution, a scholar of comparative government, initially believed that the Federal government could be given a limited list of duties to circumscribe its powers and because of the propensity of men with power to strive to always take more power, to have it administered by three separate branches of government each with checks upon the other.  He believed the bare Constitution to be sufficient in itself, we did not need a “Bill of Rights.”  But when Madison took this beautiful handiwork back to his home in Virginia for ratification, he was met with a firestorm of opposition, most aptly personified in the thinking and eloquence of Patrick Henry.  Henry objected to the Constitution because he was sure that the “unalienable Rights of Man” were not properly protected in the document from the caprices of those who would run the government.  He insisted that Rights of Man already codified in the Constitutions of the States be re-articulated in the Federal Constitution.  A vehicle was needed to block any attempt by Congress, the Executive, the Judiciary or the bureaucracy to modify the inherent rights of the Individual so recently won by the blood and toil of the Revolution.  Additionally, and the reason why Henry finally supported the Constitution, was that the States had to have the final say as to the validity of Federal law should any or all of the three branches attempt to overstep their Constitutional mandate.  His insistence on this point was met by the inclusion of the first ten amendments, the “Bill of Rights,” into the Constitution.  Henry’s amendment was the Tenth Amendment … “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.”   This powerful amendment allows the States to nullify or disregard actions of the Federal Government that are not granted in the enumerated powers.  It may be, in the final analysis, the most important of the “Bill of Rights.”   Patrick Henry certainly thought so!

We as Legislators can disregard the mandate of the Tenth Amendment at the peril of our Federal Republic or we can re-affirm our oath to the people of our State by standing against the usurpations of the Federal government.  As we watch the creeping tyranny descending upon our nation, we in the our Legislature can, we must, take action to preserve our sacred Republic.  We must make it clear to the Federal Government, “This far and no further!”  This Legislature must provide a vehicle to monitor and act upon the usurpations of the Federal behemoth.

 

 

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