Have you ever stopped to think about what makes America, “America”? I mean, what is it about this nation that took us from what amounted to a backwater colony to a world power in less than two hundred years? Why is it that so many people want to immigrate here? And why is America held up as a beacon of freedom across the globe?
Laws. Or more specifically, the U.S. Constitution.
You see, for those of you who slept through Civics class, are the victims of Common Core, or were just never interested in what makes America tick, the Constitution is a pretty amazing document. There’s a book I highly recommend that you read – The Five Thousand Year Leap, (Skoussen) that explains what a game-changer the Constitution was for the world. It was (and is) nothing short of a miracle. Just about every human accomplishment has been built on the backs of previous innovators. The wheel begat the wheelbarrow, which lead to the chariot, the oxcart, the wagon, and eventually, the station wagon. But in the case of laws, The U.S. Constitution was created by men who studied other forms of government, history, and human nature, and collectively made an intuitive leap that transcended all that had come before, skipping innumerable steps others would have made. It was not “evolutionary,” but revolutionary.
The founding principle of the Constitution is that no man is above the law. Or to put the way founding father John Adams did, “we are a nation of laws, not men.” That’s essential. The Constitution is to the law what a fine. Swiss watch is to timepieces – every part has a specific function, and every function balances the others to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. The concepts of “separation of powers,” “limited government,” and “Constitutional authority” are unique to our Constitution. And those that monkey with the system without first understanding it, do it irreparable harm.
But no matter how wonderful the Constitution is (and it’s pretty wonderful, mind you), even it has limits. Specifically, it is limited by the concept of a “social contract.” Think of it this way: Laws work because people agree to abide by a set of rules for the common good. When one or two people refuse to abide by the rules, we call that “breaking the law” and call them “criminals.” When a group of people break the law, we call that a “riot” and if a larger group does it, we call it an “insurrection” or “revolt.” Society has ways to restore order – we call that “law enforcement.” But fundamentally, the law works because of that social contract – the majority of citizens have agreed to be bound by a set of rules for the common good. And we’ve agreed that the Law must supersede the actions of men, otherwise, we have what is called a “lawless society.”
The Constitution was created by a group of brilliant men who had just endured rule by a powerful nation who refused to give them a voice in their own laws. They survived a revolution, where that nation was rejected as rulers. And they worked feverishly to create a set of laws that would enable America to survive…and thrive. One of their biggest concerns was limiting the power of both the government and individuals in the government, to avoid a repeat of British rule. Their first try – the Articles of Confederation – failed, because they erred on the side of keeping the government weak to avoid bureaucrats running amok. Their second attempt resulted in the U.S. Constitution, a document that is the envy of the world.
Really, though, without the assent of the governed, the Constitution wouldn’t work. That’s why so many countries undergo military coups – when the going gets tough, the military steps in and takes over, and runs things. In a very real way, that social contract is the unspoken glue that keeps our nation from becoming a dictatorship or a nation ruled by military junta.
But what if the social contract was broken by someone in power? What if someone decided to ignore the Constitutional limits of their power, and simply do whatever they wanted to? And what if the other people in government stood by and did nothing to stop them?
When you put this in abstract terms, I think most reasonable people, no matter their political stripe, would agree that this would be a bad thing. I mean, if you have an individual who decides to ignore the Constitution and just do whatever they feel is necessary to enact their own ideas, then Constitutional authority, limited government, and separation of powers all goes right out the window. And once that happens, it establishes something we call “precedent.” Once you establish a precedent, it’s incredibly difficult to overturn.
I don’t know that any President in the 20th or 21st centuries have always played by the rules. In some cases, it’s a matter of perspective or opinion. But in times previous, the other branches of government have been there to rein in the Executive branch, and prevent them from going too far off the reservation. But today, we’re faced with a situation where the Chief Executive of the nation has usurped the power of Congress, single-handedly overturned law, thumbed his nose at the Constitution…and gotten away with it, due to the weak or nonexistent leadership in Congress, and a court system that is complicit and/or unwilling to exert their Constitutional authority to stop unconstitutional actions.
Now if you lean Left, you may think “but we’ve been hamstrung by the Constitution…at least Obama is getting things done!” Not so fast, Bunkie. Obama won’t be in office forever. What if the next person to occupy the White House has a similar disdain for the Constitution, but plays for the other team? Um…didn’t think that one through, did you?
See, that’s what worries me about any candidate that bases their appeal on “cult of personality.” It’s been devastating to the country with Obama running roughshod over the Constitution. And I’m afraid that Donald Trump may take that same approach, should he win the White House.
Now, if you’re a Liberal, you either think Trump is a bad joke that will never win, or you’re scared to death he WILL win. You may be right to be scared. But not necessarily for the reasons you think. You see, within a Constitutional Republic, no one man can enforce his will on the citizens without having his power checked by the other branches of government. But when a President ignores his oath to uphold the Constitution and rules by executive fiat, all that goes out the window. We end up with NO limits on power, and we become dependent on the good will of a President with all the power (and none of the limits) of a dictator.
So you see, dear Liberals, be careful what you wish for. You gave us Obama, and have stood by, without question, objection or remorse, as he’s usurped power and abused his office. But politics is like a pendulum – and the pendulum is swinging back over to the right. If we are lucky, the GOP will nominate someone who will obey the Constitution, and undo all the damage to the document that Obama hath wrought. If we’re not, we may get the antecedent to Obama – someone who’s just as bad, but in the opposite direction. Think about it. Maybe it’s time for you to stand up and be counted, supporting the principle of limited government and putting that ahead of politics and ideology.
Or then again, you may just prefer to wait, and be hoisted by your own petard. If the stakes weren’t so high, I’d say “either suits me.” You people got us into this mess. It’s about time you helped get us out.