Friday, September 17, 2010

Constitution Day Repost

I've been incredibly busy this week, so I'm reposting last year's Constitution Day post.

Say a prayer for our Republic today, we're on the brink of ruin.

In 1787, a group of men came together, initially to revise the Articles of Confederation which were barely holding the newly independent nation together. When it became apparent that this would not be sufficient, they began the awesome task of hammering out a Constitution, establishing a fundamental system of government heretofore unknown in the world.

What they did was remarkable on many counts, not the least of which was the fact that they had vast disagreements on what exactly should be included. (Patrick Henry, remember him? Mr. "Give me Liberty or give me death"? He opposed the ratification because it gave the Federal government too much power-I wonder what he's thinking about it NOW?! He also refused to sign it.)*

These Founding Fathers as they are affectionately known, were diverse in their backgrounds, occupations and temprements. It proved to be an interesting mix.

Fifty-five men met together to establish this, our beloved Republic.  The day, May 14th, that the Convention was to begin, only 8 delegates were present. It would be 11 more days before the Convention started in earnest; on the 25th of May, George Washington was elected president of the proceedings, and things got underway.

The debate raged for four long months, through the heat of a Philadelphia summer. Would we have a strong central government or would we have a limited government? Would the central government run the show, or would "we the people"?
Each article, each section was debated, and voted on; piece by piece the Constitution took shape.

In the end, 222 years ago today, the Constitution of the United States of America-a title not in use until this day, was ratified and signed by 39 of the delegates. A new nation was born, "concieved in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal" as Abraham Lincoln would later remind us.

As I ponder the incredible responsiblity we all have to uphold the Constitution, I am awed by what has transpired to bring freedom to this land. The intricate weaving of lives that were knit together by "divine Providence"
The Book of Mormon talks about this land as the Promised Land, and I know with all my heart that this is true.
In a prophecy to Joseph Smith, the Lord tells us that he raised up good men to establish this Constitution for us, His children.

These fifty-five men, raised up and inspired, created a nation that would change the political landscape forever. The question remains as to whether we can keep the gift they bequeathed to our care.

*Patrick Henry didn't actually attend the Convention, he was an ardent states rights fan, and, while asked to be a delegate, refused.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Seventeenth Amendment

Article I
Section 2:
“The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States…”
Section 3:
“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.”

It seems rather simplistic in its scope, and maybe that’s why it was so easily overcome, but our Founding Fathers were genius in their ability to protect us from tyranny.
They weren’t however able to protect us from evil and designing men who do, and will have intentions to overthrow the Republic.

The way the Constitution is set up we have two houses of Congress, one house, the House of Representatives, was designed to represent the people as individuals; representation is based on population, so a census is taken each decade to establish the number of Representatives from each state; the bigger the state, the more representation.

The second house, the Senate was designed to represent each state as a whole; states were to be equal in the eyes of the Federal government, so two and only two Senators from each state. These Senators were to be chosen by the state legislatures, not by popular vote. They were representing the states as a whole, and the state was to choose who to send; the Founder’s even had the crazy idea that the Senators would be well respected men with varying backgrounds and varying expertise; in other words, people who would represent the State with dignity and knowledge.

James Madison, writing to Thomas Jefferson said “The Senate will represent the States in their political capacity, the other House will represent the people OF the states in their INDIVIDUAL capacity” (emphasis mine).
They didn’t want the rights of individuals and states to be subject to the whims of popular opinion.

Enter the Seventeenth Amendment, ratified February 3, 1913.

The United States Senate was NEVER intended to be a mini House of Representatives; there is good reason to have the state choose the Senators.

Think about all of the unfunded mandates that have been dumped on the States--take no Child Left Behind for example.
NCLB dictates, unconstitutionally I might add, that the state has to meet certain benchmarks and standards, but provides little to no funding to accomplish that goal.
Take Obamacare as another example.
With either of these mandates, if the Senators had been subject to recall, when their state objected to the mandate the Senator would vote how the STATE wanted him or her to vote, not along party lines, and not at the whim of special interests.
The Patriot Act
The Real ID (act)
I think you get the picture.
If our Senators had been subject to the STATE, it’s a VERY good chance none of these unconstitutional bills would have passed.

The Seventeenth Amendment took away the voice of the state; left the state to flounder at the whim of the Federal government.
Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) pointed out that “Ever since the safeguard of State legislatures electing U.S. Senators was removed by the 17th Amendment in 1913, there has been no check or balance on the Federal power grab for the last 97 years.”
He’s absolutely right!

In 1913 Woodrow Wilson, leader of what is known as the “Progressive Era” saw the Constitution as old and cumbersome, in need of reform. Using the term “Democracy” which is nothing more than mob rule, something deliberately shunned by our Founding Fathers, the Progressives pushed for “democratically elected Senators”; using the approved method of amending the Constitution, the Seventeenth was passed on April 8th 1913.

Wilson doesn’t get all the credit however; as early as 1826 efforts were afoot to undermine the Constitution, and by the early 1900’s, Oregon had begun electing Senators by direct election, in DIRECT opposition to the Constitution, followed by Nebraska.

William Randolph Hearst, another Progressive, used his magazine “Cosmopolitan”, a general interest magazine at the time, to push for direct elections, reaching around 100,000 readers.

The cry for “democracy” was heard and felt; when the Seventeenth was ratified our Constitutional Republic took a giant step backwards towards Democracy, removing one genius roadblock the Federal government had to go through to step on the rights of the states.
Money is always the root of evil, and the Seventeenth removed a final hurdle to the people being able to vote themselves more money from the treasury--Bastiat calls this “Legalized Plunder”, but that’s another post.

Repeal must be discussed; must become a bigger issue if we are to regain Constitutional integrity.
It won’t be easy, “democratic” is a term that is bandied about, wrong as it may be; we need to help people understand we don’t HAVE a Democracy, we have a Constitutional Republic; we must use the correct terms if we are to gain ground in the battle for the Restoration of the Constitution.
Let it start with us.