Time and again, for every new politician and every new appointee, we hear the same argument when discussions ensue: “Well, we can’t find one we agree with on everything!” or, “No one’s perfect, we just have to do the best we can and keep moving in the ‘right’ direction…” This sophomoric approach always gives us the same result, and that is compromise on our principles. Note also, that the compromise typically goes in one direction – in favor of big government.

So what do we end up with?

Candidates who, once elected, perpetuate a system of government that is more about their maintaining power than the protecting liberties of the people they were elected to represent.

Must we have to have a “perfect” candidate on all issues? Absolutely not. If fact, I will settle for mere competence on one single issue: respect for the federalist system of government the framers set up for us. With that comes adherence to the limitations put in place to constrain them.

Recall that the Constitution set up a federal system; the central government had few, enumerated powers and those not delegated to it remained with the states. The powers of the new government were few; the powers of states’ were numerous and indefinite.

James Madison said the government the Constitution created was one that was federal in nature, not national. What does that mean? Well, the powers the states granted the new government were specifically listed, with the powers of Congress being enumerated in Article I, section 8. The powers of the Executive and Judicial branches were detailed in Articles II and III, respectively.

But this was not enough to ensure ratification. Further assurances were needed to get all the states on board. Accordingly, a Bill of Rights was added, the purpose of which was set forth in its Preamble. In relevant part, the Preamble explains that the states “expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added.”

The goal was to gain the public confidence that the government would fulfill its “beneficiant” ends – meaning, not do the very things it is doing today, and pretty much has been doing before the ink was dry on the documents.

So when we look to the “perfect candidate” when it comes to national elections, what is it we should be looking for? Their stance on abortion? Gay rights? The environment? Schools? Jobs? The economy? Immigration policies? Healthcare? The War on Drugs or opposition thereto? Note, not a single one of these examples falls within the proper scope and purpose of the Constitution as ratified. Yet every single one of those issues was a focus during the past Presidential Dog and Pony Show — I mean election cycle.

There are 320 million people on this continental land mass known as these United States. Somehow, we are supposed to come together, unite, and if not, find someone who is simply good enough, or NOT Hillary Clinton, or any other candidate to whom you are personally opposed.

Imagine if all we required of an acceptable candidate were this: a comprehension of the federal system of government and the proper role thereof.

If we had stuck to that principle, imagine the size and scope of our government today, the absence of endless bureaucratic, illegal agencies and endless intrusions into our everyday lives. Less tax dollars stolen from us, and a government small enough and constrained enough to keep us from this cycle of endless wars and imperialism.

Difficult social policy decisions would be made at state and local levels. Remember, the founding generation went to war over the issue of a system of government that influenced their lives, yet did not allow for representation, and had no accountability to them. This is pretty much what we have today, a national government that pays mere lip service to the Constitution, our own version of Parliamentary Sovereignty.

When we seek to support candidates who are merely “good enough” on any given issue, we continue to surrender our liberties and our Revolutionary legacy.

Suzanne Sherman
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