Today, September 17, is Constitution Day in the United States of America. It’s also the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. In case you’ve forgotten about the importance of that day, a distinct possibility when elected officials from both major political parties swear an oath to it and promptly ignore that oath, Tea Party Patriots would like to take a moment to remind you of what it meant, how it has been ignored, and how we can make the Constitution more than just some antique in a museum.
First and foremost, the Constitution was created to limit the size, scope, and power of a centralized federal government in order to maximize individual liberty. This was done through a variety of measures, including but not limited to the powers of states, three co-equal branches of government, and a staggered federal election system.
Today, the Constitution is often looked upon as an antique or a “living document.” The practical implications of these views including ignoring the Constitution’s limits outright – see aspects of the Patriot Act, for example, or the legal structures of many federal bureaucracies – or ascribing values and intentions to the Constitution never envisioned by the Founders. While the Constitution is indeed open to change through the amendment process, any other attempts to change how the Constitution is applied are literally illegal.
What are some of the consequences of these viewpoints and their impact on public policy? Unchecked power of federal bureaucracies, massive debt, and unnecessarily high taxes are a few. The individual health insurance mandate was, as Patriots know, recently declared a tax, and in 2005 the Supreme Court dramatically expanded the eminent domain component of the Constitution, diminishing the critical right to own property.
The way to a restoration of the tremendous and successful principles of the Constitution is simple: hold elected officials responsible for their actions. The vast majority of Representatives in Congress believe they have an easy re-election battle every two or six years. Even 2010, which brought a turnover of over 80 seats in the House – the largest in approximately 60 years – only changed the membership of the House by approximately fifteen percent. Patriots must continue to hold every representative responsible for his or her actions in office, regardless of party or personal preference.
This election Americans will decide on the direction the nation will head: Do we begin the process of clawing back the federal overreaches which have led us to massive debt and a massive, hopelessly complex bureaucracy in Washington? Or do we allow the nation to inexorably head towards the coming fiscal cliff? If we want to restore the Constitution, grassroots activists across the country must support the candidates who support a balanced budget, free markets, and a definitively, constitutionally-limited federal government.
So on this, the birthday of the U.S. Constitution, please think long and hard about how you can best help restore it to its former place of respect in our federal political class. You already do so much; thank you for continuing all of your critical efforts.