Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Why Not Obey the Entire Constitution?

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The U.S. Constitution requires the president to swear an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” As required, Barack Obama swore this oath at both of his inaugurations.

The Constitution directs the president “to give to the Congress information of the state of the Union.” Obama and his predecessors have dutifully obeyed this command early each year.

The Constitution states that “Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services” as well as “compensation” for the president. These provisions are unquestionably honored without hesitation.

The Constitution then requires all members of Congress to swear an oath to support the Constitution and they do this in session at each new Congress convenes. When the 113th Congress began early in January, all members did as required.

All of this, of course, means that our leaders do indeed know that the Constitution exists. It would be wonderful, however, if they faithfully adhered to all of it.

The Constitution’s very first sentence states: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States….” This clearly means that law-making is the sole prerogative of Congress. But the current president (and his predecessors during the last few decades) regularly issue “executive orders” that are given the force of law. Congress should not allow this to happen.

The Constitution’s first sentence also limits legitimate law-making power to whatever is “herein granted” within the pages of the Constitution itself. And the bulk of the law-making powers granted solely to Congress appear in Article I, Section 8 of the document. For instance, if this portion the Constitution is obeyed, only Congress can take the nation into war. Yet, our nation has been at war several times since World War II, the last congressionally declared war.

Perhaps the most frequently ignored portion of the Constitution is the Tenth Amendment, which states, in effect, that if power is not given to any portion of the government by the Constitution, then wielding it is illicit. Anyone reading the Constitution cannot find authorization for foreign aid, or for federal involvement in education, energy, housing, medicine, and more. Nor is there any authorization to create the Federal Reserve or send military forces all over the globe at the behest of the United Nations or some other international body.

All of these unconstitutional moves by the federal government have contributed mightily to America becoming history’s most heavily indebted nation. We are committing fiscal suicide.

To use a current and much-abused phrase, our nation is heading “off the cliff” fiscally. We face national bankruptcy and looming dictatorship. Obedience to the Constitution is the solution — not just to the parts about getting paid, making a speech, and taking oaths — but all of it.

Citizens who won’t demand that federal officials adhere to the document each has solemnly sworn to honor aren’t doing their duty. Today’s children, who are surely not responsible for our nation’s suicidal behavior, are the victims of this ongoing process.