An Open Letter….
Esteemed Voter, 3 March 2012
In our Philadelphia Convention we worked toward creating a system in which the states maintained their independence and yet established a federal system for the good of all. I believed in the need for a federal government. It was and is still necessary for the preservation of the nation.
We originally began with the Articles of Confederation because each and every state believed that they were in some form sovereign, or independent states from one another. This sovereignty is manifested within the borders of the several states and within the people as a whole. It is doubtless to say that the various positions of the states precludes any consistent political, economic, and common defense actions from being uniformly applied. The idea of a president or sovereign with strong enforcement power, or legislative body able to raise taxes was abhorrent to the the several states. The very idea of thirteen individual states, having laws that are superseded, non-binding, unenforceable or even in contravention with the Articles and is a danger to the existence of the thirteen states. Thus the convention was called for in Philadelphia.
There is no doubt some would argue that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was held under false pretenses, that is to say, it was thought that a modification or an amending to the Articles was to take place and not a new form of government. I must say, in all honesty, the Articles were defective, contravened, and imperfect. It was time for a change. In my thinking a Republic and not a democracy was the only proper form of government.
The Constitution is imperfect, it was a process by which two separate forms of government come together to form a single entity. States governments, and a federal government. The states were going to give up some sovereignty for the stability and protection of a federal government. The structure of the federal government would of course define the stricture of both parties and their powers. The structure of the federal government was meant to provide stability, a general government.
To obtain this federal government compromises were essential and so were many heated debates about states’ rights, a bill of rights and of course the power of the federal government. States Rights or the issues of the powers remaining with the states were a concern for many, but most delegates and others understood the need for a general government or federal government having broad but limited powers otherwise we would be no better than when we had the Articles. Inherent and implied powers had to be defined within the constitution especially within Article 1; as that would be the most powerful of all Articles.
Knowing the the concerns of the states, it is I believe essential, they must concur and accept the importance of the “Necessary and Proper and the Commerce Clauses” for they are significant in the creation of the Constitution and the Federal Government. To allow for individual states to take unilateral action against the Constitution is to vacate the premise that we are in this together. It is understood that not all of the states or ratifiers of this document agreed to it in total , but it did provide the best recourse to form ing a nation of common interests. The argument for the right of “nullification” as proposed and in the Kentucky Resolution by Thomas Jefferson is not a viable solution. My own argument is viable only in that force or threat of cessation or force is definitely not an option. Nullification is not a viable proposal by any standard and vacates the purpose of the amending process. So, I say to those states that have such laws they are a waste of jurisprudence and legislative action.
The Bill of Rights which I initially opposed did so because I did not see the need. I felt if the there needed to be laws or rights enumerated than what rights would have to be included or omitted. My basis for my thinking is the English Constitution, for as laws were grown it was understood that man had rights without question. It also must be understood that each state is separate and autonomous and responsible to its citizenry.
In our history and confrontations over the Constitution one constant has remained, the American people agree to disagree over its power and its impact. The Civil War; The War Between the States; was fought over economics, slavery as much as it was fought over the Constitution and the power of the federal government. I must say, I wish we could have ended slavery in 1803 as we had compromised to do. The roles of the states changed and so did the federal government from 1787. It must be understood that the House and Senate defined much of the direction the country was headed. If the states were to define and modify any characteristics of the Constitution then the process of amendment would have been the best choice, it is also understood that amending is a difficult process, however preferable to war.
The strength of our system of government has been the design, whereas the three branches of government must perform a vital role in impeding, delaying, and controlling the power of government. The system of government in place today is a Democratic-Republic influenced by political parties which are no longer reflective of the American public. I must admit I and a few of my contemporaries were not champions of the political party system because in my day the party was about centralized power. Today, the factions, and the lack of representation of the cross sections of the American people have led to the destruction of the of the political party process, that most Americans need and the federal government needs to perform its checks and balances.
As I watch, the current election process, I hear much about what is wrong and no solutions. You live in a new era, it requires serious analysis, synthesis and less rhetoric. The Supreme Court has many precedents and rulings which, at its disposal will shape the laws according to the Constitution. The Legislative branch must review and define the limits of the law. It must use its power reasonably and limit the scope of the undefined power of the President. The Legislative branch today is as it always was the most powerful and most dangerous. It can by design limit freedom, rights, define freedom and rights, and can be influenced by factions within the local constituencies it represents, the money changers, and the powerful in other arenas.
The candidates of today curry favor with factions not the broad base of the party which is essential in todays world. As I have said, I find no favor with political parties but they have been with us for a long time and unless the voters participate and limit the destructive nature of factions, the discussion of religious liberty, the rights of the people will be defined according to the faction in power. The question then becomes does the party with the centralized power want the government to have centralized power? Or does the American people favor centralized power?
The Constitution is the Supreme Law of The Land. The states have a vital role to play, but they must recognize that by ratifying the Constitution they agreed to work within its framework. Today, far too many factions are at work within the several states trying to redefine the Constitution and the role of the states and in the process vacating, violating, and re-defining, the principles of the Constitution and the constitutions of the several states. If by chance the states were to gain the power of “nullification” or another form of annulment then the Federal Government would have a breach in making, enforcing and interpreting law.
Be forever cognizant of the Constitution, its impact on the several states, and most assuredly on the people.