Thursday, March 17, 2016

We have forgotten...

Those on the Left speak of the Constitution as a "living breathing" document.  Under this definition, they declare that it has not only the right, but in the natural order of things, to evolve to be useful to today's United States of America.

This is utter hogwash.  It is an attempt by those who don't like what the Constitution contains, with special emphasis on its limitations of government authority and huge areas not written of, to try to claim authority for their actions today from the ultimate secular authority...the documents founding this nation's government.

Years ago, I visited our Capitol.  I looked at the original Constitution.  It was paper, ... inert.  It did not have a pulse or a heartbeat.  It decidedly was NOT a "living, breathing" document.  Like a contract written today, it says what it says; the clear meaning of the words are easily discernible simply by reading the document.

What no longer exists today is the public's general knowledge of the Constitution and the attitude of those that created attitude largely ascribed to by the general populace of the time.  For whatever reason, today's educational system doesn't teach American History in anything close to a comprehensive manner; ask a young person or a student about the founding fathers and their points of view regarding government and you get blank stares.  Our educational failings have the potential to destroy the America that the founding fathers attempted to create.

The interpretation of the Constitution is NOT an exercise in creative writing or free association mental gymnastics.  Just as with laws written by Congress, it is a matter of looking at the clear and normal meaning of the written words, and supplementing that with a reading of the contemporaneous writings and utterances of those who created and voted to adopt it.  This approach is absolutely logical and does not require a "rocket scientist."

Those of us who were "educated" before students were given equal rights with educators and parents and allowed to dictate what and how they should be taught know just how much antipathy the founding fathers had for government.  They had suffered from the not-so-tender mercies of the English Government, and realized the danger that granting power to any government posed to individual freedoms.  Jefferson said it best, and is most often referenced, when he said that ultimately all government becomes the enemy of individual freedoms.  So...if they disliked government so much, why did they write the Constitution and create another one for themselves?  Does anyone think that they felt that they could do it better and create a ruling body that would be benign and no threat to the people?

They did not!

There was one over-riding reason for creating a Government of the United States of America: to protect it against another nations attempt to take over and govern the people of the colonies.  In other defend the country's autonomy.

All the rest is an attempt to prevent the Government from encroaching on its citizens.  It took no position about individual action regarding other individuals; the founding fathers were concerned with limiting government action that would effect citizens.  Militias were not the creation of the government; people created their own...and that right, with the effect of making hugely difficult any government desire to control the citizens by disarming them, to possess arms and be able to defend themselves against ANY government, including our own if it became the enemy, is right there in writing.  The right to rise up and overcome any government is made clear in our Declaration of Independence and does not have any exception for our own government; all can develop a threat and require revolt.

Read the comments, letters and other documents left by the Founding Fathers, with particular emphasis on those who signed the Constitution.  Their attitude was never about how to give the national government power or how to make it efficient; while one was needed for defense, in all other things it was perceived as a nascent threat to the freedom that has just been won on the battlefield, and the Founding Fathers fondest hope was that the government would practice the art of benign neglect in all areas of the colonists lives with the singular exception of defense of the nation.

Truly, the fears of the Founding Fathers have come to pass.  But the foolishness of a paper document "living and breathing" is just an exercise in creative writing...with the emphasis on creative!  It was the Founding Fathers who were living and breathing...and they were living and breathing the collective fear of just how dangerous government could become to the citizens over which it might develop power.  Their desire was to limit governmental power of citizens.  Thus, they did what they could to make the government inefficient and put in what they hoped would serve as checks and balances.  Unfortunately, those who gain positions of power adopt and adjust, and also connive, to extend power and avoid answering to the people.

If there is any hope of saving the creation that once was the United States of America, the voting public needs to learn...and in some cases re-learn...the attitudes and intent of the living, breathing Founding Fathers.  Therein is the key to understanding our Constitution.

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