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The Constitution Has Become Irrelevant

By Colonel Dan


I once wrote a column asking if the Bill of Rights was irrelevant. I will now change that question into a declarative statement and say that the Constitution, although remaining the political ideal of American freedom, has become realistically irrelevant—made so by unprincipled politicians and apathetic Americans.

"No way colonel!" Read on, then you tell me.

Would it be fair to say that any code of law which is incrementally ignored over the years, eventually becomes irrelevant? If not "irrelevant", what do you call it when the foundation of our country— its fundamental principles of freedom —is increasingly ignored with arrogant impunity by the governing body it was designed to rein in and a growing number of citizens don't realize it or care?

Can you ignore parts of the concept upon which our country was founded and still regard that concept as whole? No, because to ignore part shows a political mind-set of disrespect for constitutional law and inevitably leads to a disregard of the whole document, eventually rendering the entire Constitution irrelevant. If there is no respect for or strict enforcement of all its principles, nor a price to be paid for its violation, the entire concept will ultimately become meaningless. Simply put, removing a brick here and there soon causes the structure to fall.

I'm no Constitutional authority and many lawyers will stringently disagree, but so what. Below is just the simple view of a simple soldier exemplifying what I consider to be a growing and arrogant disregard for our basic principles of freedom.

I "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or the prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,…"

Where is the so-called separation of church and state that our government has forcefully imposed on us, barring God from public life? Who is the restricted party here if not the government? It says, "Congress shall make no law…" thus it's government that is the restricted element not the citizens. Yet government actions have severely restricted the citizenry where the free exercise thereof is concerned. More recently, Congress and Bush blatantly abridged freedom of speech when they jointly passed and signed the Campaign Finance Reform Bill. Politics over sacred oath, honor and principle is the norm these days and for this, I will never forgive Bush or Congress. The First has been ignored.

II "…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

This amendment has been violated over 20,000 times. Laws prohibiting selected weapons, magazine capacities, rates of fire, barrel lengths, permits and regulations that restrict or prohibit our ability to buy, keep and bear arms are infringements—plain and simple. The Second has been ignored.

IV "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures..."

Was Elian secure in his house or the Branch Davidians in theirs? How about the so-called "Patriot Act" that gives the Federal government unprecedented power and license to violate your privacy? The Fourth has been ignored.

V "…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Consider the power of the Environmental Protection Agency or the Endangered Species Act. Have a section of your property declared a wetland or find some animal on it that is listed as an "Endangered Species" and see how private your property really is. Then ask the Klamath Falls farmers about just compensation. The Fifth has been ignored.

X "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

What about the Departments of Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, and the billions given away in foreign aid? Where in the Constitution does it empower or authorize the government to do any of this? Nowhere, yet government has tremendous control over your life in areas never envisioned by the founders or delegated by the Constitution. The Tenth has been ignored.

XIV "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Legalized discrimination, a.k.a. affirmative action, violates the 14th Amendment's "equal protection under the law" clause. The Supreme Court's decision regarding the University of Michigan case stating that race can indeed be used as admission criteria is only a recent example in a long line of government's blatant disregard for our plain speaking Constitution. The Fourteenth has been ignored.

The day we apathetically allowed government to expand its power beyond clearly specified constitutional limits and rationalized it with some feel good excuse for the sake of convenience or perceived security was the day we started down this slippery slope— a slope from which we will never recover until the slope itself is gone.

Today government regularly violates the principles of freedom guaranteed by our Constitution with virtual impunity and arrogance. Those examples cited above are but a very few of the very many.

Politicians are driven by a "whatever you can get away with" philosophy. The only time you will hear them reference the Constitution as a restrictive document is when they need to hide behind its principles to protect themselves or as an excuse for inaction or twisting its meaning to convey that which it strictly and obviously forbids—freedom "from" religion in place of freedom "of" religion for example.

In fact, modern day Americans routinely expect such stepping over the constitutional line or they accuse Congress of being a "do nothing" body. Considering the aftermath of the alternative, I much prefer "do nothing" political representation.

Historically, this slide is the natural progression of government as I've written about before and as Jefferson himself described when he said, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."

How does this natural progression begin? With "common sense" regulation of this or that and then, once having gained a toehold, it incrementally eats away at our freedom with the passage of each bit of new "common sense" legislation. Jefferson was a savvy man who warned us of this long ago.

Our founders knew what they were talking about because they lived through oppression and were divinely inspired to create a Constitution based on the pre-eminence of individual freedom served by small, limited, subordinated government, not dominated by a controlling behemoth.

We've slid a long way into the pit of freedoms lost since our original Constitution was ratified. I'd venture to say that America is so far down the hill that we could no longer recognize the top if we saw it.

Sadly, most Americans these days don't care about the top of the hill, how far down we've come or even the hill itself. If Americans truly cared, they would be up in arms over just the few violations cited above.

The hard fact is, the majority of Americans today don't care who has the power and authority, just so they don't have the responsibility real freedom requires. The personal responsibility that comes with traditional liberty would likely scare the daylights out of most modern Americans.

So now you tell me. Can a credible argument be made that the Constitution has become irrelevant when the government it was designed to rein in routinely ignores its principles with arrogant impunity, pays lip service to following its precepts while an increasing preponderance of the governed, whose rights it was designed to protect, don't realize it or care?

That'd certainly be the view from my saddle…

The Colonel


DON'T TREAD ON ME

The Colonel

Have an opinion about this article tell the Colonel what you think email him at coloneldan_1@yahoo.com.

Colonel Dan's Biography Untitled

When honest people who hold strong opinions come together, it is natural that they state their opinions, and that those opinions occasionally clash. The articles that you see on this website represent the opinion of the writers, and are not the official opinion of this party. To see the official party position on any question, the reader is referred to the Party Platform.


Permission to reprint/republish granted, as long as you include the name of our site, the author,and our URL. www.cptexas.org. All CP Texas reports, and all editorials are property of The Constitution Party of Texas 2002 (unless otherwise noted).



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