by Neal Ross
During last year’s election season, I went down to my local mall to buy a book entitled, Who Killed The Constitution. After purchasing my book, I sat down on a bench and waited for my wife and son to finish looking around the rest of the mall.
As I was sitting there I noticed a table set up by the entrance to Sears. There was a large crowd surrounding it talking and looking at literature. I paid no attention to it, as there is always some sort of table set up signing people up for one thing or another.
Eventually my wife came up to me and asked me to come with her, as there was a blouse she wanted me to look at in Sears. As we walked past that table I looked down and they had all kinds of Obama paraphernalia and one of them was saying, â€œOnce he gets elected we still have a lot of work to do.â€
I guess by the way my stride had slowed my wife could tell I was going to stop and say something, she gently grabbed my arm as if to say, â€˜Keep on walking Nealâ€™. I really wanted to stop and ask them a couple questions, but I guess my wife didnâ€™t want me to start a fuss and embarrass her.
When I got home I began to think about why people support a politician like Barack Obama, or any of the others for that matter. I know I have said it a thousand times, but I will keep saying it until peoples actions allow me to stop saying it, it just seems that people today have no clue as to what powers the Constitution grants those whom we elect to represent us.
I began thinking that people in this country have been enslaved to the arbitrary assumptions of power, by the very people they elect to serve them, that they no longer understand the true meaning of liberty, and where we derive it.
Thomas Jefferson said that, â€œRightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add â€˜within the limits of the lawâ€™ because law is often but the tyrantâ€™s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.â€
That answers what liberty is, but where does it come from? To answer that I again turn to the words of Thomas Jefferson, â€œGod who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God?â€
Merriam Websterâ€™s dictionary defines liberty as,
1: the quality or state of being free: a: the power to do as one pleases b: freedom from physical restraint c: freedom from arbitrary or despotic control d: the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges e: the power of choice.
With all the laws our government has passed that restrict our actions, which if you bothered to look, they werenâ€™t authorized to pass, how can anyone honestly say that they are truly free?
James Madison once said, â€œThe essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.â€
And abusing power is something our government has gotten very good at. The whole time we sit back and believe that we are free, that we still maintain our liberty.
People are under the assumption that government is there to watch over them, to aid them when run into times of difficulty. I defy anyone to find a single clause in the Constitution that grants the government the power to take money from one person, or a group of people, and give it to others who are less fortunate.
James Madison, who just happens to be considered as the primary author of the Constitution, once said, â€œWith respect to the words, â€œgeneral welfare,â€ I have always regarded them as qualified by the details of power connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitutionâ€¦[that] was not contemplated by the creators.â€
Is that clear enough? If not, maybe Thomas Jefferson said it in simpler terms, â€œCongress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.â€
If people really want to know what their government is authorized to do, I recommend they find a copy of the Constitution and read Article 1, Section 8. There they will find the specifically enumerated powers that Jefferson spoke of.
If people took the time to educate themselves concerning the powers we have given to our government they would realize that they have been abusing the trust we have placed in them for quite a long time. Those whom we elect to represent us do not measure up to the quality of character of George Washington, who said, â€œThe Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.â€
When people continue to be fooled by the promises of those seeking office, when they continue to allow those whom they elect to ignore the constraints the Constitution has put upon them, the people will be in constant danger of losing that which our government was created to protect, their liberty.
Thomas Jefferson said it best, â€œA government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.â€
Ben Franklin once told us that â€œThe Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.â€ It is not the job of the government to provide you with all these benefits those seeking office promise you. Along with each benefit comes a price, and the price may be something you arenâ€™t willing to pay when the bill comes due. At that time it may be wise to remember what Jefferson said about protecting your liberties, â€œThe tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.â€
I would think that the American people would much prefer to hold their elected officials accountable to their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution, than to face the alternative of having to once again fight for their liberties.