by Tom Stark
In 1790, in a paper called Of the Study of Law in the United States, a gentleman named James Wilson wrote:
“The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.”
Nothing could be truer in the case of the Constitution, and, with the full support of the Federalist Papers we unquestionably have the true intent and meaning behind the Constitution of the United States well documented. It is, difficult to understand how we got where we are today.
Educating voters is the only answer to what is wrong in this country, AND it is the key to fixing it. We have to wake up those who try to ignore it and get them to the polls after seeing to their education. Time is of the essence. We only have 15 months. I am very concerned that 2016 will be not only the turning point but the point of no return if we cannot begin that 180 degree turn-around.
But here we are today with countless challenges facing us. For me, it is primarily about restoring the principles of the Constitution and honoring one’s oath of office. After all, if our representatives did just that, a lot of useless bureaucracy would disappear. It is also about restoring faith in our elected officials. And yes, I understand that one district does not a Congress make. We can only hope and pray that others in other districts around the country discover candidates that also share the principles needed to restore that faith to the average citizen.
Everywhere I have been I hear the same thing, “Stick to principles. Don’t give in. Hold the line.”
This is laudable in the abstract. It is also going to require a mass shift in mind-set. Citizens have, over the years, come to look to Washington to FIX things. EVERYTHING! And those looking for ways to secure their careers have been only too eager to give in and take charge of things that never should have been Federal responsibilities.
The results add up to at least eight full cabinet departments that have no Constitutional basis for their existence. So how do we fix it? The fix, like the problem, will not appear over night any more than the problem appeared over night. We’ve been on a journey of nearly 100 years or more to get where we are today.
First, we, as conservatives, must have faith in our system of government and restore that faith in the citizens. But what has it COME to mean? Does it mean what it should? The problem I see is one that started with the popular and politically correct concept of the “Big Tent.” But the problem with a big tent is that everyone comes in and before you know it you have to COMPROMISE YOUR PRINCIPLES to get along with such a large group with many different views.
We need to stop trying to be all things to all people. We need to choose our principles and stick to them, articulate them intelligently, and differentiate ourselves from the Democrats in every way we can. Offer a clear, principled choice. If we, as a party are successful in swinging things back where they were a few decades ago and return Congress to standing on principles again, of backing the original intent and meaning of the Constitution, and honoring our oaths of office in that regard, then this season of elections will have been successful beyond our wildest expectations. But that can only happen if the party returns to basic principles FIRST. Perhaps it takes a relative outsider to see what is apparent here.
From the legislative standpoint, what can be done is to START reversing this course through a series of legislative moves that will require strong support from the voters to succeed. The voters will have to shift to a new paradym…one in which the representative is sent to Washington to PROTECT them from the government’s intrusiveness in their lives, ever-increasing tax burdens, and bureaucratic controls through what I call “behavior-modification” laws (think, Cap and Trade, Healthcare Reform, Welfare, etc.)
If voters truly want the right kind of change…an increase in freedom rather than less freedom, they must be educated to expect the States to assume their true responsibilities and freeze and reduce dependence on the Federal level to solve the problems. The side effects of these are several:
- Local control means that people from their own district or state make the decisions for them.
- Fewer people for each representative (at the state level) to answer to making it easier to access your representative.
- More difficulty for special interests to gain nation-wide power over politicians because no one body is making all the decisions.
- Less special interest money flowing into the hand of a small number of very powerful people.
- The constitution is returned to its upright position in the place of honor as the Supreme Law of the Land.
Once educated, and responsible representatives move into Congress, they need to vote NO to any continued funding of un-Constitutional departments of the Federal Government UNLESS and ONLY WHEN there are rock-solid provisions for the phase-out of that department in five years or less. Radical, yes, but necessary to reverse the radical left shift we have taken over the past ten decades with few rest periods in between.
This approach, alone, will not fix everything, but it is a strong start. It will provide the light at the end of the tunnel. Along with these votes, there needs to be downward adjustments to tax rates and a total overhaul of the tax system to a consumption-based system that does not add layer upon layer of hidden taxes to the cost of products and services.
Beyond that, another useful tool would be the repeal of Amendment 17. This amendment was passed as a knee-jerk reaction to state legislatures deadlocking over selection of senators and therefore depriving states of their representation in the Senate. With the addition of a provision whereby the Governor appoints in the case of a 30 day or longer deadlock, that problem goes away.
The other, unintended consequence to this amendment was to remove the strongest protection in the entire constitution for states’ right. Repealing that Amendment could shift the balance back where it was intended to be. We just have to change out a lot of seats in Congress and impose term limits on both houses of that body.
Federal Tort Reform (health care):
- 20% cap on Attorney fees.
- Cap of $1-$1.5M on total recovery dispensed as an annuity over twenty years.
- Lift all restrictions on Interstate Commerce in Insurance (could be considered unconstitutional restraint of interstate trade).
- Bad science to begin with.
- Bills have nothing to do with energy and everything to do with control of our lives.
- Adds 1700+ to cost of energy for average family.
- Costs millions of jobs, many of them in WV
I could go on, but you all have lives to return to and I have rambled too long already. I encourage all of you to start educating people to see what the Constitution really means for this country, if followed, and to scrutinize the candidates for their truly constitution-based conservative credentials. There is nothing wrong with the word conservative. In fact, synonyms include traditionalist, conformist, unadventurous. When we seek tradition and conservation, we preserve, protect, and defend what works. Our constitution works if given a chance to do so.
When comes to government misusing tax revenue, James Madison said it best:
“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents…”
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