In the sweltering heat of Philadelphia from May 25th to September 17th, 1787, 53 delegates from 12 of the original 13 colonies (Rhode Island refused to send any representatives) struggled mightily to come to an agreement to adopt a Constitution for the United States of America. When it was over, an exhausted Benjamin Franklin walked down the steps of the Pennsylvania State House and was asked, “What kind of government did you create, Mr. Franklin?” To which he replied, “A republic, if we can keep it.” Are today’s leaders respecting and protecting the Constitution that Franklin and his heroic and patriotic colleagues gave us in 1787?
Can we keep it?
I do not see how we can keep it, if we do not understand what “it” is. I know that sounds uncomfortably close to a Bill Clinton quote that we might all like to forget. However, the history teacher part of me cringes every time I hear the media, columnists and most of our elected leaders refer to America as a democracy. New England town meetings are democracies. The majority determines the issue at hand. The government of the United States is a REPUBLIC. We ELECT representatives who vote in our absence and on our behalf. We trust them to lead us. These representatives take only one oath, when they are elected. That oath is to uphold the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution contains an oath of office only for the President. However, in 1789 the first Congress added a requirement to include members of Congress and other government officials, because they knew that adherence to the spirit and intent of our Constitution was critical to the survival of our republic.
As we glide into another election season of debates, press reports, news shows and interviews we must remember that elected officials do not take an oath to any political party. They do not swear allegiance to NAFTA or GATT or monolithic international organizations, like the United Nations or the World Court. They do not solemnly swear allegiance to support and defend large international corporations and certainly not to large special interests, lobbyists and political donors.
The term “political party” cannot be found anywhere in the Constitution. Not in the body and not in the amendments. Yet, political parties write the rules of participation in the ballot process. Party debates sponsored by media outlets that are for the most part hostile, delight in asking confrontational or embarrassing questions. CNN is basking in the glory of the intraparty squabble from the recent Florida Republican Party debate. Presidential candidates must “win” a majority of delegates at party nominating conventions to be the nominee. Certain states, such as Iowa, select delegates by holding caucuses that requires people to attend meetings and publicly state for whom they are voting. This process excludes people, such as the disabled and our military men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, from even voting at all!
The primary states, which do conduct secret ballot voting, concentrate on “leapfrogging” one another to see who can be first, rather than working together to make the process fairer for the voters as well as the candidates. The media and pollsters tell us who we are going to vote for before the election, and candidates “put their fingers to the wind” to decide how to take a stand on an issue. We suffer from electile dysfunction! This is hardly what our Founders had in mind when they wrote the Constitution.
So, if we do “want to keep it,” why do we continue to elect members of Congress and presidents who place these entities above the document that they swore to uphold? Why do we not insist on making changes in the electoral process? This precious document, so carefully crafted, is being trampled routinely every day! We cannot blame this on those we elect. We must accept the blame for continuing to elect them. We need bold, fresh, strong and courageous patriots to buck the system and “rock the boat.” Brave men and women put it on the line to create our republic. Surely, we can find some today with the courage to save it.
Make no mistake about it, however; this will be a long and arduous journey.
John Adams said that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.” Ben Franklin added, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need for masters.” Yet, no religious leaders were “allowed” to participate in the recent ceremonies commemorating the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York City. We often see stories in the news about someone trying to remove a cross, or other references to religion in some public place in America.
Our Republic is in very grave danger! Things have gone seriously wrong and they are getting worse by the day.
The sovereignty of the U.S. is constantly subjugated to trade agreements, international ventures, alliances and treaties not approved by Congress. Our worshipping at the altar of the “world economy” has contributed to the loss of our manufacturing base and the collapse of the value of the dollar.
We are currently fighting two wars that have never been declared by Congress, even though it is a requirement of the Constitution that Congress vote such a declaration, before we send our troops into war!
Part of the oath taken by our elected officials is to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. Yet, they refuse to seal our borders from terrorists and those who come here illegally, at a terrible cost to our taxpayers in crime and undeserved benefits. Our porous and uncontrolled borders threaten the very survival of America.
Unscrupulous defense contractors sell our weapons systems and secrets to our enemies, forcing us to chase our own technology around the world to stay ahead, and Congress does nothing to stop it. Indeed at times they support this treasonous action.
Even our own ports, where dirty bombs could easily be imported, have been “offered up” to the control of other nations!
Congress and the President continue to raise our national debt year after year. All the fanfare about the recent “debt ceiling” extension/budget agreement notwithstanding, there is no serious effort to rein in so-called “entitlements” and other programs, while mortgaging the future of our children. The growth and size of the federal government is amplified by programs, bureaus and departments that have no connection to the Constitution whatsoever.
Activist justices on the Supreme Court and judges on the lower courts have shredded much of the Bill of Rights and imposed their personal views on the citizenry. These judges impose gun control on honest citizens and routinely put violent criminals back on the streets to kill and rape again.
The liberal and activist judges who voted for Roe vs. Wade have sanctioned and indeed promoted the slaughter of over 50 million of our unborn children since 1973. Is it possible that one or more of those children could have become a president or a researcher who found a cure for cancer? We will never know because those children never had a chance to live their dream. God bless these children for they had no voice. Their blood is on our hands. Where do we find “abortion rights” in the U.S. Constitution?
Judges take our property without fair compensation or respect for the rights of private property provided under our Constitution. As if this were not bad enough, they have taken God from our schools and public buildings and are determined to remove all mention of Him anywhere. Guess who placed these judges in their positions? When Ruth Bader Ginsburg came before the United States Senate for confirmation several years ago, “conservative” senators voted “aye” to please Bill Clinton, leaving Jesse Helms, Don Nickles and me, alone, as the three votes against one of the most activist justices ever to be appointed to the bench.
Is it possible to save this glorious constitutional republic that Franklin first informed us about in 1787? George Washington warned us in 1796 when he said, “…It is essential that public opinion should be enlightened. In a republic, what species of knowledge…and what duty more pressing…than…communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of our country?” Yet, most of the “communicators in the majority of the large news outlets appear to work against the very constitutional values our Founders so eloquently espoused.
Our elected officials have let us down. We must elect strong advocates for our constitutional republic at every level of government, from school board to president of the United States. We must change America from the bottom up.
Millions of Americans are beginning to figure this out. The Tea Party surge gives us hope. In spite of a constant lambasting by the left-wing media, they have made a difference in the electoral process. They have influenced the discussion and even gotten CNN to acknowledge them with a debate sponsorship! There are millions and millions of Americans who support the traditional values of the sanctity of life, religious freedom and family who are not affiliated with any party. They are rich and poor, young and old. They work in factories and offices, they live on farms and in suburbs, they attend churches by the millions and they are patriotic! They are sick of what is happening.
When the patriots needed to communicate with one another before and during the Revolutionary War they formed “Committees of Correspondence” to keep each other informed. They wrote the Federalist Papers to garner support for the Constitution. They were prepared to sacrifice their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. They communicated by horseback and word of mouth. We have the Internet, talk radio and media watchdog organizations such as Accuracy in Media. The “mainstream” news media no longer controls the debate.
The Constitution of the United States is our battle plan. We all must be “teachers” of the Constitution and we must insist that it is thoroughly taught in our schools. We all need to be the purveyors of the “Constitution Papers.” We must be uncompromising leaders and experts on this document and teach our friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors about it. Learn and teach what is constitutional and you will in turn get constitutionalists as leaders.
It is time for conservatives to step back from whining about media bias and take a positive approach to challenging the press. As sure as the sun comes up each morning, the left-wing media are going to attack our values. We need to get up before the sun and promote our own.
Media bias is constitutional, but it does not have to be successful in undermining our value system.