As we celebrate our independence on Saturday, we need to stop and consider what has happened to the dream of our forefathers. Where have we come from, and where are we going.
As the men left the constitutional convention in 1787, a lady asked Benjamin Franklin what kind of government they had come up with. He replied, “We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”
We’ve spent nearly 230 years now ignoring that warning. Our history has been a nearly continuous march down the road of not keeping it.
This republic our forefathers gave us was established under a written constitution with specific procedures for amending it. In their genius, these brilliant men established three separate but equal branches to serve as checks and balances one to another. They also enumerated very specific powers that belonged to the federal government.
The tenth amendment to the Constitution states: 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.
Think on that a moment. The federal government is not to exercise any powers not specifically authorized by the Constitution. That’s a period at the end. Ipso facto. Q.E.D. The language is abundantly clear. There’s no gray area in there.
There is nothing in the Constitution authorizing the federal government to involve itself in the field of health insurance, yet a great company such as Hobby Lobby may have to go out of business to keep from being forced to provide health insurance that infringes on the religious freedom of its owners.
There’s nothing in the Constitution authorizing the federal government to redefine marriage, but state and local governments now are being forced to accept a definition of marriage that flies in the face of all of our Judeo-Christian morality.
There’s nothing in the Constitution authorizing the federal government to allow the killing of babies, born or unborn. Yet, since 1973 the law—established by the courts and not Congress or any Constitutional Convention—says it’s perfectly legal to kill them if they have not been delivered yet.
Whether or not it is right for companies to provide health insurance that includes abortions is a matter of opinion. Whether or not it’s right for marriages to take place between people of the same sex is likewise a matter of opinion. Whether a baby’s life begins when it is created or when some doctor delivers it is also a matter of opinion. You and I don’t have to agree on these things. Each of us has the right to his own opinion.
What’s not a matter of opinion is the black and white wording of the Constitution. The legitimate function of our court system is to make sure that laws passed by Congress and various state and local governments conform to the Constitution, not to override and change the meaning of the Constitution, but that’s exactly what our Supreme Court and federal appellate courts have been doing for many decades now.
I’m afraid the reality of Benjamin Franklin’s statement has settled in on us now. We had a republic, but we couldn’t keep it.
Writers may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
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You are right that we’re all entitled to our opinions; however, these days being politically correct has become so emphasized that one feels intimidated expressing his beliefs. As to our Constitution, I think it does contain shades of gray, and its flexibility is what contributes to its strength. Regrettably, in my opinion, the courts seem to wield the greatest power in determining the direction of our country. Nevertheless, we must follow the laws whether we agree or disagree.
I agree with your last statement, Sharon, but I think the courts have been acting far beyond their constitutional authority for a long time now.