Monday, January 10, 2011

The Farcical Reading of the Constitution

In what I feel is best described as a sort of publicity stunt, the newly seated members of the House of Representatives decided to read aloud the Constitution of the United of America on the floor of the house. Some might claim this to be some kind of big deal, that it shows our politicians have finally acknowledged their deference to the Constitution, but I don't think this is so. It only shows me that these people know how to read. It doesn't show that they understand what they are reading. It doesn't show that they care about what they are reading. It only shows that they know how to put consonants and syllables together to form words and that they can put words together to form sentences. It certainly doesn't show that they have any idea as to the concepts that were being put forth by those who penned the Constitution.

It is not enough to be able to read the Constitution. Those who have been elected to office must obey it. They must come to understand that this is the law of the land, the way in which our forefathers meant the federal government to operate. It restricts their power, and that is something those who seek power do not want to come to terms with. It is interesting to note, for instance, that while the reading was taking place someone decided to voice their opposition to the present sitting president by rather loudly voicing their concern that Mr. Obama was not actually a native born American. While I admit this was inappropriate behavior, I do not believe it warranted her arrest. The outburst was brief and she showed no sign of further disruption. Yet she was quickly removed and charged with a crime. What power does the average person have in this country if they cannot voice their opposition at a public event?

These people who pretend to care about what the Constitution says take an oath to it, and yet they pass laws year after year, month after month, week after week, day after day, that violate the constitution. The Supreme Court has upheld laws that were later determined to be unconstitutional. It isn't hard to understand the Constitution. It's written in plain English, regardless of what "experts" would have you believe about the language two hundred years ago. The English language hasn't changed that much and the culture of freedom the founding fathers were trying to cultivate is not that hard to understand. The Bill of Rights is plain and simple to understand. One does not have to read aloud the Constitution to understand that the federal government was meant to be very limited in its scope and was crafted to protect freedoms, not attack them as they have in the last decade.

The populace has become tired of the attempts to demonize and tear down and violate the individual rights granted to us by our very humanity. They are tired of being treated like criminals every time they go to the airport. They are tired of calls to further intrude upon our liberties every time something bad happens. Yet now some of the same congress critters who have passed and supported unconstitutional legislation want us to believe they are suddenly concerned with the Constitution by merely reading it. It's going to take more than a publicity stunt to convince me they want to honor their oaths.

Reading the Constitution aloud on the floor of the house isn't enough. Certainly it is a small step, but more concrete actions need to be taken before I will be convinced that they are truly interested in returning to a constitutional government. The process of repealing all the past unconstitutional laws must be started. It won't be enough to simply repeal the health care bill that has come to be known as Obamacare. There is other legislation that is still in force that the Republican administration passed. The Patriot Act comes to mind. The Military Commissions Act is another unconstitutional law that needs to be repealed. Repealing these laws would be a huge step in restoring government's respect for the people's freedoms and returning to the rule of law that is a constitutional government.

Along with these steps, laws need to be passed to prevent such federal government intervention from ever occurring again. Laws requiring congress to read the bills, write the bills, and cite the constitutional passage that grants the congress power to pass a particular bill need to be passed. Passing congressional rules for such things is not enough. Rules can be broken with virtually no repercussions to those breaking them. Laws with real teeth and real punishments for breaking them need to be put in place so that there is recourse when a congress person decides it might be in their best interest to break the law.

In addition, unconstitutional institutions need to be disassembled and their duties given over to more local interests. We don't need homeland security, we need local peace officers. We don't need a department of education, we need local and free market schools with more involvement of parents. We don't need to maintain an empire, we need to bring our soldiers back from all foreign lands. They should be here for defense rather than there for occupation. We don't need a TSA, we need to allow the airlines to provide security for their customers. These are but a few things that can be done to get back to a constitutional government.

I'm glad that the congress has recognized that many of their constituents do care about the Constitution and want it to be obeyed, but I am not going to be fooled into thinking that by reading it they are going to obey it. They must now show that they understand what they have read. They must now show that they care about what they have read. Actions speak so much louder than words. Now that the congress has recognized that there is a Constitution, they need to act and show that they are going to obey it. They need to realize that their power is limited and the power of the people is what truly matters. It is the people that make the nation prosperous, not the government.

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