Apparently, no written agreement is without wiggle room. Apparently, no written contract is entirely rock solid or totally immune to collapse if no one is prepared to enforce it; not even the United States Constitution.
To most people, the Constitution is a revered document. Most of us hold it to be one of the most brilliant documents ever written by mortal man. To those who have studied it the Constitution is not merely the parchment upon which a government was built, but a culmination of the work done by some of the finest minds of its time. More than just the foundation of a government, it is the vision of free minds enhanced by the fresh clarity of having just come out from under the yolk of tyranny. It was penned by people mindful of the horrible price that would be paid to bring it to life. The writers knew it had to be worthy of that price and they delivered.
Part of the reason the Constitution has survived all these years is that we as a people have believed in it. We have understood and appreciated not only the words but the spirit of the document. That is all changing now. Today the Constitution is seen as an obstacle to federal power, and lacking congressional approval to alter it, this administration has it under assault. By default, they also have the freedoms inherent within it under assault.
It is impossible to imagine any of the founding fathers agreeing with the massive increases in spying, ceaseless attacks on the second amendment, socialization of healthcare, explosive growth in regulation, near total erosion of border protection, shear noncompliance with budgeting, the religious persecution and the political targeting we have experienced. It is also likely they would be most disturbed to learn that all of this was being done by a self-proclaimed Constitutional expert.
For nearly two hundred thirty eight years the spirit of the Constitution has on occasion been tested and tweaked, but rarely patently ignored. Even less frequently has it been so out-rightly subverted. Most Constitutional questions have been carefully crafted and debated with the great respect a document such as the Constitution commands. Now, debate on Constitutional relevance is being stifled, congressional members sworn to uphold it are doing nothing to defend it and actions of questionable Constitutionality are taking place regularly and willfully.
Just this past week congress finally stuck a toe of opposition into the water but nothing appears to have come of it. During hearings on these questionable constitutional activities, Rep. Bob Goodlatte asked Constitutional scholar, Johnathon Turley about the relevance of separated powers and whether or not what we are witnessing today in terms of mounting concentration of power under the Obama administration was dangerous? Mr. Turley’s response was, “The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid. That is the concentration of power in every single branch.”
Mr. Turley went on to add, “This Newtonian orbit that the three branches exist in is a delicate one but it is designed to prevent this type of concentration. There is two trends going on which should be of equal concern to all members of Congress. One is that we have had the radical expansion of presidential powers under both President Bush and President Obama. We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. And with that trend we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch. We have agencies that are quite large that issue regulations. The Supreme Court said recently that agencies could actually define their own or interpret their own jurisdiction.”
(House hearing, December 3, 2013)
Mr. Obama made it clear when he campaigned for his first term in office that he intended to “fundamentally change America”. While many embraced the notion of change it was assumed that such change would be molded within the powers of the presidency and that Mr. Obama’s arguments supporting the changes would be convincing enough to win congressional approval. Now there is mounting evidence that neither of these two assumptions is valid and that Mr. Obama views himself as having outgrown his sworn obligation to operate within the scope of those enumerated powers. Instead he wishes to govern by decree, more along the lines of a monarch.
Given that absolute power corrupts absolutely, it isn’t a big shock to see how Mr. Obama has sought to subvert the system. He isn’t the first. What is a shock however, is that he is doing so with near immunity. Congress, which is equally obligated to uphold the Constitution if for no other reason than to maintain its own hold on power, appears quite content to acquiesce. In fact, they are showing a greater and greater tendency to afford for themselves, the same privilege, as evidenced in their recent decision to exempt themselves from ObamaCare. Never mind the question of why they would want to be exempted from something they sell to the rest of us as “wonderful”, how about explaining the shear Constitutionality of the act.
We have not seen this blatant an assault on the Constitution in the past because we have never seen this degree of contempt and disregard for it. Nor have we seen nor ever expected to see, this flagrant a power grab.
The Constitution was first and foremost, intended to provide a guarantee that real power perpetually resided with the people. That said, perhaps the most sorrowful component to this aggression is the relative ease with which the people have allowed this power to be transferred.
Some say we have already crossed the line; we have already lost the ability to save ourselves. If that is so, two things may be true; one is that we will have done so at the expense of our individual freedom, perhaps forever. The other is that it will not have been the failure of our founding fathers or the Constitution, but ours. Within us they placed great responsibility – and we have eventually proven ourselves unworthy.