We need to return to the Constitution as our guide

by John D'Aloia, Jr.
Trackside 2/17/04

Readers of TRACKSIDE know that during the past few years, my cynicism as to the direction the nation is headed has grown. Elected officials increasingly stray from the Constitution. Republican officials stray from the partyís "I believe" principles. All too many appear to be more interested in the powers and privileges that come from holding the reins of government than they are in advocating freedom. They forget the counsel of Lord Acton: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." They appear to be in lockstep with the statists who are marching us down the road to socialism, to a nation in which government provides all for all, and where the only recognized gods are Gaia, diversity, and multiculturalism.

Our elected officials are co-conspirators in making people addicted to an ever increasing web of dependency-creating programs. Why have state and federal elected Republicans rejected their partyís principle that reads "I believe the proper role of government is to provide for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by individuals or private organizations and that the best government is that which governs least?"

We are surrounded by examples. One that stands out was the enactment of the so-called campaign finance reform law, for it gave a leg up to those who would change our political system and make our Constitution nothing but an interesting, irrelevant historical document. The idea that the Constitution is but a malleable document in the hands of whomever is in power should be an anathema for elected representatives, but it was not. The congressmen who passed it rejected the Constitution and their oath of office. The President who signed it rejected the Constitution and his oath of office. The Supreme Court justices who upheld its provisions rejected the Constitution and their oath of office. And thus we the people have lost a freedom that was guaranteed by the Constitution, the right to freedom of speech, to freely have a say in the political process, to freely point out the errors of entrenched politicians, to freely work in the public square to correct our countryís path. If the First Amendment can be abrogated by a majority vote, what right will fall next?

Justice Scalia, in his dissent wrote: the decision "cuts to the heart of what the First Amendment is meant to protect: the right to criticize the government...this is a sad day for freedom of speech." Justice Thomas, extending the decisionís logic, wrote: "The chilling end point of the Courtís reasoning is not difficult to see: the outright regulation of the press." Fisher Ames, the Father of the First Amendment, forecast in 1807 what happens without free speech and a free press: "We are, heart and soul, friends to the freedom of the press...It is a precious pest, and a necessary mischief, and there would be no liberty without it." Thomas Jefferson put it bit more bluntly: "Newspapers ...serve as chimneys to carry off noxious vapors and smoke." Bob Barr characterized the courtís decision as inflicting "permanent damage to the representative democracy so painstakingly crafted by our founding fathers." He reported that his peers in the House voted for it, knowing it was unconstitutional, saying "Donít worry, the Supreme Court will never uphold this law even if we pass it." For a fleeting headline, these elected officials would dishonor their oath of office and sell us out.

What can be done? I still have faith that the answer lies in the American people gathering together at the local level, bound by The Founderís vision. The electorate is still the foundation of our political system. We can still work the system bottom up based on the Constitution and The Foundersí principles. We do not need gobs of money and tiered organizations to get the word out to friends and neighbors concerning the issues of the day and our solutions to those issues, solutions that confirm freedom, not create greater dependency on The Guardians and The Clerks. We do not need gobs of money and fancy offices to convince freedom-loving local candidates to run for political office at the precinct, local, and state level or to educate our friends and neighbors in freedom-based, constitutional-based solutions and get them then to the polls to vote. We have a belief that the Constitution, as written and implemented by The Founders, remains the foundation of our freedom, remains the only way that President Reaganís shining city will endure. We can elect people who understand what made this country what it is. And if we do not? Lord have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on our children..

See you Trackside.



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