A nation governed by the rule of law. We are free men and women who live not at the mercy of fiat or public opinion, but rather operating under a Constitution that spells out the limits and role of government and protects the rights of individuals and the States. Sounds good in theory but how much of it remains? The Constitution and the rule of law are under assault.
Articles I, II and III lay out the scope, roles, responsibilities and limits of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of our federal government. However, evolution seems to be more pronounced in government than in nature. These branches operate much differently than described in their organizing document. The legislative branch has ceded much of its authorities to the executive and judicial branches. The executive branch, which is to administer the laws passed by the legislature, finds less use for that branch of government with each passing day. The judicial branch now routinely goes beyond judging and has decided it is quite fond of legislating itself. And when it does judge, it determines that nearly all actions or lack of action is commerce and therefore under the control and regulation of the government.
Well, at least the Bill of Rights is still there to protect the individual from the state, correct? Sadly it too is slowly being stripped of its bite and sacred stature. The first amendment, which once safeguarded the freedom of religion, is now viewed as a freedom from religion. Speech, depending upon the type can find you in bad standing with certain government agencies such as the IRS. And the freedom of the press now seems much less free. The government can spy and bully and twist the press to its liking. Sure the press itself is partly to blame. They got in bed with government and now find that it is becoming a bit too kinky for its liking.
The second amendment once meant the federal government could not infringe on the right to bear arms. Now it is just a starting point to decide to what extent they can infringe upon that right. Daily those who swore to defend the Constitution work to undermine it. And the individual who was once innocent until proven guilty must first prove he is innocent before exercising what is left of this right.
The fourth amendment is the latest victim. Technology has allowed government to assure that we in fact are not, ‘secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures’. Big Brother says to protect us it must first violate us and make us less free. But is being safe from terrorist the only standard of being safer? Are we really safer in our homes and lives and property if we are less free?
Although the list and examples are numerous, I will conclude with the tenth amendment, which is not just under assault but seems to have surrendered. Are there any out there that still believe that any power that was not specifically enumerated in the Constitution has been left to the States or the people? The states are little more than slaves to their federal overlords. They sucked at the teats that is federal monies so long that they now seem incapable of surviving without it and will obey to receive it.
We have so dismantle the original intent of the U.S. Constitution that we now live in a society where the federal government has few if any limits. Try and think of things in your life that are not in one way or another controlled or regulated by the federal government. You may have to think a while. Are we still free men operating under the rule of law as defined by the authors of the Constitution? Or has the very definition of freedom changed to keep us from facing the truth?
Well, at least we know whom to blame, the politicians. Wrong. Those people are there because we put them there. We continue to put people there who dismantle the constitution. We as a people seem to have bought into the philosophy that we need a big, powerful central government. That certainly is a decision that can be made, but it goes against the Constitution and has required the dismantling I have been discussing. Some would say they were not aware of what was happening. Apathy has been a large part of this. As information has become more available apathy has become more plentiful. Once again the blame goes to the citizenry. We hear and see what is happening but we accept it. We may show temporary outrage but to what extent? Public opinion seems to have given way to party opinion. If our guy did it then we will not cause a fuss.
So is this where I am supposed to give the solution for the problem? No, the founders supplied the solution in 1787. The words remain but we have allowed the meanings to change. And with that change the words and the Constitution itself becomes less relevant each day.