As we near our celebration of America’s Independence from Great Britain the American Constitution must be brought to the forefront of our discussion. Why? Because it has been tarnished and trashed by politicians for too long. It has been misinterpreted and misapplied by politicians and members of academia for too long. In our beginning, everyone understood and studied the constitution but in today’s America, few have any real knowledge of that critical document.
We hear politicians and academics declare what they want it to mean and accept that as fact. We hear jurists define what it means and accept that as fact. In our formative years as a nation, the citizens from the most uneducated to the most educated there was the pursuit to inform everyone of the principles, declarations, provisions, protections, and prohibitions of that document. Why? Because the Constitution was the Law of the Land and America’s guiding document.
It is an incredibly simple and straightforward document. It is incredibly easy to understand and can literally be read in less than half an hour. If you listen to politicians, academics, and some jurist you would think it is so overly complicated that only those with advanced degrees in constitutional law could possibly understand it. That was not the intent nor is it the intended reality. Our Founders desired that everyone would know what was in it, understand it, and live securely under its governance. That ship sailed long ago, and we have become ignorant of what the Constitution provides and that has allowed the devious political elite to usurp it and strip us of our liberties. That must change!
One popular student text in our formative years was the 1828 Catechism on the Constitution compiled by Arthur Stansbury. That was a textbook for elementary students. The Federalist Papers testify to the simplicity of the Constitution and were written in 1787-1788 by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay. They did not fill those writings with legal mumbo-jumbo and legalese too difficult for the average citizen to understand. They wrote in plain language and were incredibly effective in introducing the constitution to the citizenry.
Elementary students mastered the Constitution and the most complex portions of it were understood by the average citizen. They understood and sought to know, enjoyed the provisions, and were able to keep politicians in check due to their knowledge. Knowledge is one of the greatest deterrents to tyranny and when we allowed ourselves to become ignorant of our Constitutional rights, privileges, liberties, freedoms, and the restraints on government we became the prey of the political ruling class. We did it and they took advantage of it.
It is estimated that only 1 in 1,000 citizens can name the five basic guarantees of the 1st Amendment. Those being freedom of religion, press, speech, assembly, and petition. It is because we do not know the Constitution that we are oppressed, and our rights violated and infringed upon. That is the reason that politicians are able to govern unconstitutionally and then redefine the Constitution to fit their method of governance. They have been backed by the activist on the courts and even the Supreme Court has been complicit in the usurpation of our Constitutional guarantees.
For the first century and a half, the simple and uncomplicated philosophy of America was that the Constitution was to be interpreted with an Originalist or Original Intent view. Thomas Jefferson wrote to Supreme Court Justice William Johnson a powerful guide that we need to reinstitute today. He said, “On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested 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.”
Congress has long ignored that view, as have many of the courts. Ignoring the constitutional guidelines, provisions, prohibitions, and guarantees introduced the Progressive Income Tax. American ignorance of the intent of the founders and possibly in our envy and desire to shift responsibility from ourselves to the federal government to provide we adopted a Constitutional Amendment that made that action constitutional. It is but it violates the Original Intent, yet it is where we are.
American exceptionalism is revealed in the Declaration of Independence’s first two paragraphs. There are six fundamental principles found in the wording expressing the hearts and minds of our Founders and the Framers. Let me list them and you muse on them and study them.
- There is a Creator.
- Inalienable Rights come from God.
- Government is to Protect our Inalienable Rights.
- There is an Absolute and Fixed Moral Law.
- There Must be the Consent of the Governed.
- We have the Right to Alter, Abolish, or Create a New Government.
Our first President and the Father of our Country, George Washington, in his ‘Farewell Address’ issued a warning that we need to be reminded of as we consider America’s future. He argued that we must always be careful in our attempt to change the meaning of the Constitution. He said, “If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or the modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation, for (this) is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”
Today’s politicians believe they can interpret the document and modify it without our approval and that must change. Many of the jurists sitting on court benches believe they are the final word in defining the intent and meaning of the constitution and that must change. Some presidents do not believe they are obligated or bound by that document and that must never be allowed to prevail. If we will, once again, become informed we can reclaim our Republic and see her restored to Constitutional governance. That is what I am voting for in November and pray you will as well.
God bless you and God bless America!