Thursday, September 17, 2009

Constitutional Birthday, 17 September 1787

Say "Happy Birthday!" to the US Constitution. It is 222 years old today.

On 17 September 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Constitution of the United States of America was born (completed & signed), having been written primarily by James Madison and debated in secret by the invited members of the several states. But it wasn't until the 9th state, New Hampshire, ratified it on 4 March 1788, that it became the supreme law of the land.

On that day the US government started operating under the new rules and began the work of ensuring laws enacted under the Articles of Confederation were in compliance with the new constitution.

But some weren't satisfied with the lack of specificity in some areas, so it was agreed that it would be amended to specify the people's rights and the government's limits. This brought about the first 10 amendments, known as the "Bill of Rights".

The US Constitution's premise is that the government has limited power on loan from the people and that the people of the United States are endowed by there creator with certain inalienable rights. The primary purpose of the central, or federal, government is to protect the people's rights by way of securing the nation from its enemies, both foreign and domestic, providing a system of laws and courts, and promoting the general welfare. It is a shame that it has moved way beyond.

Today, in 2009, we have a serious constitutional crisis. And this is a real crisis, not one made up by politicians, although it was created by politicians. This crisis is signaling the end of constitutional law in this country in favor of the politics of 'what-have-you-done-for-me-lately'?

When I say "-me-", I mean those who take, but lament when asked to be responsible. For example, just look at Wall Street. The movers and shakers made many very bad choices and when the bottom fell out of their schemes, they went crying to President Bush's Treasury Secretary, the former CEO of Goldman-Sachs, for relief. The Bush administration allowed Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. to fail, then along with the US Congress bent over backwards proclaiming the financial meltdown was imminent, we were in a crisis and this country would fail, jobs would be lost, and millions of Americans would lose their homes. They said we needed to put a stop to it, with money. Money we don't have. Money we won't have. Hope Dollars.

Did this huge transfer of hope dollars on loan from China make a difference? Did it prevent anyone from losing their home? The short answer is: No, it didn't do anything to help the situation. It did, however, transfer a huge amount of money to executives of the financial institutions who support the politicians in Washington.

Is this fair? Is this the founders idea of America? Is this the contract the people made with the government? Again, the answer is an indisputable "no".

It is not fair and it is not the government's job to pick winners and losers. The US Constitution is about equal protection under the law and we are not seeing fairness from our elected officials.

After the "Wall Street Bailout" they decided that the economy was going to fail anyway and they did exactly zero to help defaulting mortgage holders, they chose to help out out GM and Chrysler instead. We then learn that they gave a third share in the auto companies to the very union that is the primary cause of the US automaker's problems.

So who did they help? I would say they helped themselves and their supporters at the expense of everyone else.

This pattern is repeating itself with the Stimulus Bill, Cap & Trade, and health care reform. None of which qualifies as legitimate constitutional programs. This kind of legislation becomes law due to the fact that politicians are not concerned with topics they do not understand. They display a complete lack of understanding of everything except what their hired marketers tell them.

Some citizens pay less (many pay nothing) and demand more from government, while others receive less and pay more of their earning to government so they can "spread the wealth". This gives rise to the 'Vote for me to keep your benefits flowing' politics and self aggrandizement that we see at the national level (and Charlie Crist). When you throw in many well funded lobbyists into the mix, hard working Americans are on the bottom of the list of "interest groups" that politicians are interested in being responsible to.

The pattern no doubt started immediately after ratification but has become epidemic in a political system set up and managed by politicians that has become an incumbency protection game of twister, with each party trying more and more ways to lock up the vote. They employ gerrymandering districts, voter registration, opinion polls, and campaign donations from anyone or anything that will give.

We should use this constitutional anniversary to start a new American rights movement to bring this country back where it belongs: a free market society where you receive what you earn and the government is looking out for your welfare as opposed to their own bank accounts.

Lately, the Tea Parties and other grass roots protesters have kicked the ball into play. But under the playing field has been landscaped by politicians and it will be very, very hard to change.

Happy Birthday, US Constitution.

Move it right.

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