Allow me to begin today’s blog with what may or may not be an obvious fact, i.e., that the readers of this blog all have above average intelligence. But creating interesting posts for bright and perspicacious people can be a challenge. Fortunately, I happened upon a Prager University video that provided me with today’s topic—a primer (short i) about the founding and how the vision of the Founders has been distorted and corrupted by the left. So, let’s begin with a few simple definitions.
~ A republic or a democracy – does it matter? ~
A republic is a representative form of government, that functions according to a charter or a constitution. Meanwhile, a democracy is a government, that functions according to the will of the majority. While both have positive connotations, both also have significant downsides.
People will unthinkingly say they want to live in a democracy, but in reality, two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner is both representative of a democracy and the reason why pure democracies always fail as a form of government. Meanwhile, a republic is a state in which political power rests with the public and their representatives, however, those representatives may or may not be freely elected by the general citizenry, which is arguably the reason two of history’s greatest republics, Greece, and Rome, ultimately collapsed.
And that was the problem confronting the Founders after the American Revolution, i.e., how create a government without the pathologies that had historically blighted societies. The Founders understood this and is the reason they risked their livelihoods, their homes, their families, and even their very lives to create a nation that would stand the test of time.
During the summer of 1787, fifty-five men gathered in Philadelphia to engage in what was arguably the most creative societal achievement in human history, the crafting of the U.S. Constitution. It was there they fashioned a national government divided into three co-equal branches – the executive (the President), the legislative (Congress), and the Judicial (the Courts.)
To be sure, previous republics had also separated powers, the Romans had consuls, the senate, and the assembly while ancient Greece governed with a president, a prime minister, and a parliament. But the difference between those governments and the vision of the Founders, was the degree to which legal limits were imposed on the powers not only of the government as a whole, but equally important on each individual branch of government.
The Founders understood that a division of power was fundamental in preventing any one branch from dominating government, in a concept that’s come to be known as “checks and balances,” where each branch of government would be limited to only those powers specifically delegated to it by the Constitution. This limitation of power is what created the ‘dynamic tension’ between the branches that has served this nation so well for nearly a quarter of a century.
The Founders also believed most of the power of government in this new republic should reside with individual states; a commonsense notion predicated on the belief that public officials nearer to the people would naturally be more responsive & accountable to the citizens they served in a concept known as federalism. But at the same time, the Founders also limited the power of the states by constitutional prohibitions; for example, the power to enter into treaties with other nations is the exclusive domain of the federal government.
And to ensure the longevity of this new republic, after ratifying the Constitution, the Founders attached a Bill of Rights to the document (i.e., the first ten amendments to the Constitution) and enshrined this principle in the Tenth Amendment –“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.” Simply stated, this means whatever the Constitution does not specifically delegate to the federal government belongs to the States and the people.
But even with the exquisite care the Founders took in crafting the Constitution they were also aware their efforts would fail unless one more critical component was present – a citizenry that valued self-government and understood the principles of federalism and the Constitution; but even more importantly, a citizenry willing to do the work necessary for its maintenance.
James Madison, long considered the father of the Constitution had this in mind when he said, “Only a well instructed people could be permanently a free people.” And by a well-instructed people, Madison meant a citizenry that was educated about our constitutional liberties and responsibilities. And this is the primary reason I fear for the future of this nation – I do not believe most Americans recognize nor appreciate what we have, nor what it takes to maintain it.
I consider myself relatively conversant with the Constitution and the vision of the Founders, but I will freely admit that like most of us, I’ve taken much of what the Founders left to us for granted. When one is born and raised in the most affluent nation on earth and given more opportunity that any society has ever known, it’s human nature to take things for granted. But it’s not human nature when teachers’ unions work to ensure there are more copies of Gender Queer in our public-school libraries for our kids to read than there are copies of The Federalist.
Other than the Bible, the United States Constitution is perhaps the most consequential document ever written. But I question just how much most Americans understand about its purpose, its significance, and its sheer magnitude in the pantheon of history. At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, what kind of government he and the others had proposed. The octogenarian replied, “A Republic Madame, if you can keep it.” The oldest signatory of the Constitution had history in mind when he gave that answer. He understood that he and his convention colleagues had supplied only the mechanics of what was needed for the Republic endure – the rest could only be supplied by “we the people.”
~ Collective Ignorance ~
Fast forward to Columbia Missouri when on October 30, 2008, then Senator Barack Obama said, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Think about that statement for a moment – why would anyone want to transform a nation that has done more to benefit the lives of its citizens than any nation in recorded history? Modify, alter, change, tweak, or fine tune, but transform? Even the Thirteenth Amendment that provided, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction,” didn’t transform—it rectified. Obama’s statement was beyond audacious; it was revolutionary, surpassed in its ominous meaning only by the response of those in attendance, who, in their collective and foolhardy ignorance applauded wildly instead of reflecting on his words.
~ A Defining Moment ~
A defining moment is a point in time when we experience something that fundamentally changes us. Not only do these moments define us, but they have a transformative effect on our perceptions and behaviors. And Obama’s declaration was such a moment in American history and beginning of the unraveling of America. Future historians will be hard-pressed to pinpoint much less extol any lasting accomplishments from the Obama years, but that really doesn’t matter because the true Obama legacy occurred not in governance, economics, or foreign policy, but in transforming our culture.
After the election Obama himself admitted that his warm & fuzzy hope & change was little more than a blank slate upon which Americans could project whatever they wanted. A notion that’s been illustrated time and time again when a Supreme Court nominee refuses to answer the question, ‘What is a woman?’ or when a cancel culture that’s obsessed with restricting freedom of expression becomes part of the fabric of society or when DEI mandated policies spread like a cancer eroding military readiness in favor of woke ideology. But perhaps most absurd of all is the left’s anti-scientific denial of a binary humankind. Tell me, is there a z chromosome the democrats haven’t told us about?
The Biden-(Obama)-Harris administration has been a veritable repudiation of the vision of the Founders; and don’t kid yourself, we are in the middle of Obama’s third term. But my fear now is that it’s only going to get worse because the 2024 campaign has already begun and few Americans have a clue as to what the allegedly anti-woke republicans stand for. Seriously, can anyone tell me what the Republican Party’s policy initiatives are? What are their priorities, what’s their message?
Obama campaigned on hope & change, and it put him in the Oval Office; Biden campaigned on anything anti-Trump (with the help of COVID) and that got him elected. But the republicans don’t have that luxury, they have neither a boogeyman like a Hillary Clinton to campaign against, nor a stem-winding speaker such as Obama who can bring a crowd to its feet without saying anything of consequence. Sure, if nominated, Trump will draw millions of republican votes, but the problem is he’ll also bring out as many if not more democrat votes.
I’m going to close this tome with a name I believe will play prominently in 2024 – Susan Rice! She’s an Obama acolyte; she’s orchestrated Biden’s domestic policy since he was elected, and if Biden runs, she’ll be his running mate (the democrats WILL dump Harris) and lastly, if Biden runs and wins, which I believe he will if he runs against Trump, he will not finish his second term leaving Susan Rice, via the 25th Amendment to guarantee Obama a fourth term, thus moving us even further from the Founders’ vision.
Quote of the day: “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”—George Orwell