On the Twelfth Day …Bayonets!
On the Eleventh Day ...The Star Spangled Banner!
On the Tenth Day …Old Glory, Our Flag!
On the Ninth Day …Sacred Rights!
On the Eighth Day …Patriots!
On the Seventh Day …The Declaration of Independence!
On the Sixth Day …The Armed Forces, Our Defense!
On the Fifth Day …The Principles of Liberty!
On the Fourth Day …Our Founding Fathers!
On the Third Day before Election Day our County gave to Us…
WHY DO WE NEED A CONSTITUTION?
Excerpts by Lorne Blackman
Every aspect and institution of human civilization requires some form of government to prevent injustice and maintain order. People need boundaries. The healthiest, happiest children are those with clear boundaries. Citizens are subject to the laws of the land in which they reside. Property is secured with boundaries. Armies and business organizations are subject to internal and external rules of order and discipline.
Madison said “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, no controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government of men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place oblige it to control itself” Just as we have civil laws to restrain men in society, so we have constitutional laws to restrain men in power
Flawed human nature and unrestrained power are a dangerous combination. Just this century while 34,000,000 have been tragically killed by wars, 120,000,000 have been killed by their own oppressive governments.
Prov. 27.12 “A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.”
Our founders were prudent men who foresaw the evils of unrestrained government. They were students of world history and civil affairs; they searched the annals of history for the answers that would keep America from experiencing the snares and pitfalls that had claimed all other great civilizations. They called America the great experiment.
They gave us the Constitution as the fundamental law for our national government and the written authorization, by the people, for its existence. They gave us an extensive system of checks and balances, separation of powers and a Bill of Rights. They gave us an Electoral College to help protect small and rural states against the power of the big states and population centers and the democratic rule of the mob. It still comes in handy from time to time.
They gave us a federal system that is a limited central government responsible for a mere handful of functions involving defense, and interstate and international affairs such as trade and foreign relations. They both implicitly and explicitly reserved the all other areas to the states and to the people. They saw centralized one size fits all policies as oppressive, dangerous and contrary to the love of liberty and the genius of the American people.
In George Washington's Farewell Address the political dialogue focused on national security, foreign policy, constitutional integrity, government frugality, duty and national morality: Today the national political dialogue focuses of social security, health care, prescription drug benefits, education, product safety and government daycare. America has undergone a fundamental transformation: Americans love of liberty has been replaced by the love of security.
But Jefferson said: “He, who trades liberty for security, deserves neither and will lose both.” Likewise, Benjamin Franklin said “He who gives up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety.”
Liberty and risk are two sides of the same coin. Security and servitude are the two sides of another coin.
One cannot enjoy the blessings of liberty without enduring risk; likewise one cannot enjoy the comforts of government provided security without giving up liberty. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
Thomas Jefferson said “Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction”. On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifest in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it; conform to the probable one in which it was passed.
A man’s attitude toward the constitution reveals much about his attitudes toward government, authority, human history and even human nature itself. Many liberal-minded individuals say that we have a “living” constitution, that each generation must breathe new meaning into it. What they are really saying is “we make it into whatever suits us at the time”; another translation is “We will not be bound by its limitations.” Their attitudes reveal the same spirit of lawlessness and contempt for boundaries that has plagued mankind throughout history. Their attitudes are precisely why our forefathers wrote the Constitution in the first place.
In the Biblical time of the judges, the people brought misery on themselves because they would not respect boundaries; “Every man did what was right in his own eyes.” Just as it was in the time of the judges, so it is today in America: Every politician does what is right in his own eyes, ignoring the experience of past generations, ignoring their constitutional grants of authority and reducing government to a relativistic do as you please approach.
The approach of Jefferson and the founders is clearly not evolutionary but fixed and conservative. The Constitution is inherently a conservative document designed to maintain a conservative government. It's the conservative’s best friend, if he will learn to use it and if he is willing to apply it consistently and impartially.
Without the anchor of absolutes there is no stability for society. Flexible boundaries are no boundaries. If you can take a single step over the line, there's nothing to keep you from taking two steps or a thousand. Thomas Jefferson: “To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus… drawn… is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer [subject] to any definition.”
Article 1 Sec 32 of the Washington State Constitution declares: “A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the security of individual right and the perpetuity of free government.”
America has lost its perspective. Materialism, affluence, and the dumbing down of the electorate have led to a fundamental shift in political philosophy. We are forgetting what set us apart and made us free, prosperous and a light to the world. We desperately need to begin talking about fundamental principles if we are going to preserve liberty and free government. Just as we need to restore basics to education so we need to restore basics to the political dialogue. We ourselves must become advocates and spokesmen for Constitutional principles.
We must decide as a people: whether we are a republic or democracy; is our system national or federal; do we want liberty or security? Are constitutional boundaries firm or flexible and evolutionary; or is it a “living evolving document” that must be interpreted by the courts, or does our Constitution mean what it says?
Karl Marx said: “A nation without a heritage is easily persuaded.”
Any genuine solution must involve helping the American people rediscover who they are and what set them apart as a people and as a nation. Our goal must be nothing less than to generate another great awakening in America, much like the first one, as remembered in the poem, AWAKEN.
AWAKEN, A 1700's Poem by Lawrence Tribble
One man awake,
The second awakens
His next door brother.
The three awake can rouse a town
The whole place
The many awake
Can cause such a fuss
It finally awakens the rest of us.
One man up,
With dawn in his eyes