People Down on Constitutional Self-Government, Republicans More Than Most

Posted on February 15, 2013. Filed under: History, Politics, United States Constitution | Tags: , , , , |

The Washington Post/ABC released a new poll showing that 56% of Americans view our system of government unfavorably. What comes as the biggest shock is that 65% of Republicans surveyed have an unfavorable view of it.2013-02-10-Favorable-graphic

I understand that people are getting fed up and frustrated with Washington. However, the fact of the matter is that it isn’t the system, it’s the people and the parties. It shows me that most people in this country do not have even the slightest inkling how things are supposed to work. Instead, they take the sound bites and photo-ops that are spoon fed to them and swallow them whole.

I recently concluded a series of articles about the Constitution, trying to put into simple terms, what it says, and what it is supposed to mean. I’ve poured over all of the different articles, amendments and did some research on some of those things that were a little more difficult to grasp to make sure I have the correct information. I looked at some Supreme Court cases to determine how the Constitution was interpreted by those in the past, in many cases, closer to the adoption and ratification.

People are frustrated with the economic recovery. People are frustrated with the continual government spending and debt. People are getting frustrated with continued governmental attempts to take away our rights. People are frustrated with the constant logjam of the two parties. They believe, incorrectly, that the Constitution is the source of these problems. It isn’t. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that Congress will be divided into two parties.

From the time of the Revolution, this country has been divided about everything. Approximately 1 out of every 5 whites remained loyal to the crown, about 15 to 20% of the colonists. The patriots, on the other hand, were a group of rabble rousers who numbered at most, 45% of the population. The other third wanted to stay out of it.

There you have it. The patriots who initiated war with George III  to gain independence weren’t even the majority.

After the Revolution, a group of men gathered in Philadelphia and hammered out the Constitution, the framework for a form of government. These men were divided into two groups; the Federalists, and the anti-Federalists. The Federalists wanted a strong central authority, but not too strong, while the anti-Federalists feared a strong centralized government. Many of the anti-Federalists left without signing the Constitution, but most would later serve in that government.

As you can see, there were splits from the very beginning.

However, as time moves on, the government has moved to gather more power for itself, not just through Constitutional amendments, but through unchallenged laws.  The Tenth Amendment specifically states that any powers not given to the Federal government, or prohibited to the states, are reserved to the States, or to the People. The Constitution outlines, very clearly the powers of the government. Over time this has been warped by lawyers and judges, and Federal power has grown.

How has Federal power grown?

One of the powers granted to the Congress is to Raise and support armies, but appropriation of money for that use  can’t be longer than a term of two years. Large land forces were not meant to be a permanent thing. Now we have a huge standing army, and Air Force, reserves and National Guard, the Federalized militia.

The only branch of the military that was meant to be large and permanent was the Navy: [Congressional power to] Provide and maintain a navy. The Founders had a strong mistrust of permanent, standing armies. A standing army was what touched off the Revolution when they moved to confiscate Colonial arms.

The start of the Civil War still saw few Federal troops. Most were members of the Navy and Marines. Some were members of the army, but Lincoln had to call for volunteers and used the volunteer militias as well as State militias to protect Federal property. The militias kept Delaware, Maryland and Missouri in the Union.

The experience of this, as well as the need to keep troops on the frontier began the expansion of the Army. Logistical problems in Florida for the volunteer and state militias during the Spanish American War pushed the Federal government to expand and essentially Federalize the militias into the National Guard, while growing the Army.

It was the first time that the American army had to fight overseas, and that is where the Constitutional grey line starts.

The Constitution clearly states that Congress is to Provide for the common defense of the United States.

Cuba was not a state nor a territory, and neither were the Philippines at the time.

The Spanish-American War marked the first time that the US military was used overseas (the Barbary Wars notwithstanding, which was a war on piracy), and it eventually led to our involvement in both World Wars and the overseas wars after it. It led to the upsizing of our military on a drastic scale, so we could send a force anywhere in the world if we needed to.

Congress is to provide for the common defense, that is, the defense of any state or territory. South Korea is not a state or territory. Vietnam is not a state or territory. Western Europe is not a state or territory.

The early 1900’s was a time of power grabbing by the Federal government. The 16th Amendment gave them the power to tax incomes. The 17th Amendment took representation away from the States themselves by passing the election of Senators directly to the people. The 18th Amendment ushered in the Prohibition era, and was ushered back out 14 years later with the 21st.

These two amendments may seem like little things, but they have turned into big things. Why is the election of Senators by the people instead of by the States a big deal?

Several Senators in recent years have lamented that the Senate was once the greatest deliberative body in the world. It isn’t, anymore. It’s degraded into partisan bickering.

The idea in the Constitution was that if Senators didn’t have to worry about being re-elected, they could take a more neutral view on legislation, and not worry about the pressures of party or their constituents. Instead, Oregon led the way to screwing things up by being the first to pass legislation that elected Senators through the popular vote, despite this being prohibited in the Constitution at the time.

The Seventeenth Amendment needs to be repealed, in my opinion, so we can maybe start getting away from all the partisan bickering and start to restore sanity back to Washington.

The Sixteenth Amendment, which allowed Congress to collect taxes on anything they wanted to is a serious power grab on the part of the Federal government. Sure, it started off benignly enough, at 1% for all income taxes (corporate and personal), but look where were are at now. The government can take more and more from corporations and people to fund military adventures around the world, give to those they feel are in need, and pay off not only our allies, but our enemies as well. They use the money to fund state projects, but bully and intimidate those same states into going along with the wishes of the government, or needed funds will be withheld. More and more Federal programs are being rolled out daily, costing us more and more money, enslaving, again in my opinion, the American citizenry to the government.

The government has even gone so far as to use taxes to influence the behavior of the citizenry. Buy a hybrid or electric car, we’ll give you a tax break. We’ll raise tobacco and alcohol taxes to make it so fewer people smoke and drink. We’ll raise gas taxes as an incentive to drive less. Want money back from the government? Have kids. Lots of kids.

Unless you are a millionaire or billionaire, then you get to foot the bill.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that Congress has the power subsidize any business.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that any office of profit and trust can make rules governing the American people or their business.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that Congress has the power to fund the arts. The useful arts are not the same thing, and it does not call for them to be funded.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that Congress has the power to fund research.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that Congress has the power to fund any foreign military.

Nowhere in the Constitution does Congress have the power to subsidize other nations.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that Congress has the power to require the citizens to purchase an unwanted product, despite what Chief Justice John Roberts thinks.

We are now seeing non-stop attacks on our rights, from the Second Amendment laws in New York, and the proposed legislation from Dianne Feinstein, the State of Washington, and the States of Missouri and Minnesota, where they have introduced legislation to confiscate weapons from law abiding citizens.

A whole new agency has been added following the attacks of 9/11. Now we and our children are degraded as we are groped, poked, prodded and herded like cattle through security to board an airplane. Homeland Security has turned it attention to the American Citizenry, wanting databases on who has guns and who doesn’t, who could potentially be an “anti-Federalist”, who could be an “extreme right winger” or “militia” member. Being a survivalist is just as evil. Anything that could threaten the government, that’s why the agency has purchased 1700 AR-15 style “assault” weapons, and millions of hollow point bullets. Sure, hollow points don’t do a lot to someone in body armor, but they do a lot of damage to those who don’t have body armor. But the sheer number of bullets they have purchased allows them to fight a war for years. Who, exactly, are they planning to fight?

John Adams once subverted the First Amendment through the Alien and Sedition Acts, and it ultimately cost him the Presidency to Thomas Jefferson, an anti-Federalist. The Federal Elections Commission tried to subvert the First Amendment by restricting independent expenditures from corporations and unions. While corporations and unions are not people, they are made up of people, and they have as much right as anyone else to look out for their best interests and make political statements.

We see attacks on our Fourth Amendment rights under attack with warrantless wiretaps and now the advent of drones.The FAA “promises” that they won’t allow armed drones into our airspace. Then they announce that they are kicking off a competition between states to have drone test areas. Feeling uncomfortable yet?

The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments are being attacked by a President who kills American citizens overseas that he, or some other “well informed high level government official” deems to be an “imminent threat” without Due Process. Like I’ve said many times before, even the Rosenberg’s were tried for treason before they were killed. So was Timothy McVeigh.

The government is trying to overwhelm us by attacking all of our rights at once.

I’m not trying to pin this on Democrats or Republicans. I will get to them eventually, but both are responsible, both are doing the same thing. Remember, it was Bush who created Homeland Security. It was Republicans who pushed for the 16th Amendment and the Federal governments ability to tax the people. It was the Democrats who spent it. Congress cares about one thing and one thing only, and that is their own personal power and how to get more of it.

Folks, it isn’t the system. We have been blessed to live in a country with the best system in the world, but we’ve grown complacent. We let the government convince us that they know what’s best. We are now starting to wake up to this fallacy, and it is up to us to change it. Our forefathers are watching us.

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