Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Values of the Constitution

There are those who feel that a Constitutional convention is not necessary. They say that that they do not trust the politicians of today and that we only need to return to the interpretation of it as it was at one time. This may be true but how do you trust the politicians to do the second if you cannot trust them to do the first?

This economic situation we are going through today is a perfect example of how far we have strayed from the principles espoused in the Constitution. As it once was abided by, this would be a situation that would be left up to the individual states to remedy, not the federal government. This shows just how far we strayed from the meaning of the phrase “common welfare” as used in the Constitution. Show me one state that would be willing to tell the federal government that this was their problem and that they needed no help to solve it?

What value, what purpose are our state governments serving when every problem is left up to the federal government to solve? We were suppose to have a government system that worked from the bottom up not the top down. Local governments were supposed to address all of the problems of community first but that no longer is the case. Now days we look to the federal government first to solve the problems without thought of looking to the local governments. We lay blame on the President before we even look at how the local governments performed their obligations.

Conservatives declare that they’d like a smaller federal government but that would mean the elimination of programs that the government funds. Which programs would they eliminate that they believe the states and the people would accept responsibility for? Which programs would they eliminate that the people believe they are receiving that cost them not a penny? President Bush already tried this when he was talking about Social Security reform and look how far he got.

People were complaining about the money spent on the wars we are involved in. They declare that it would be better spent helping the people here that need help. This is just another indication of how far we have strayed from the principles espoused in the Constitution. The declaring of and the waging of war were two of the primary responsibilities given the federal government by the founding fathers of this nation. It was in this we revealed ourselves to the world in terms of a “united” States.

The federal government was never meant to address the needs of the people. That was supposed to be the responsibility of state governments. For nearly two hundred years, it worked in that fashion.

The funny thing is that economics could be said as the culprit of both constitutions being abused. The first constitution was done in by the failure to fund the central government. The second was abused when government decided that it could do a better job at righting the economy of this nation better than the people could and has been trying to find ways to keep it under control ever since without much greater success.

Any constitution is a good constitution if it spells out the role government is to have in society and abides the principles of that rule. No constitution is a good one when people begin to think that those in government need greater power then the constitution gives it. Political ideology should never determine the interpretation of any constitution. Political ideology should always be subordinate to and conform to the Constitution, any constitution.


BB-Idaho said...

Thomas Jefferson observed that the constitution should be rewritten every 20 years or so, that "the living should not have to follow the rules of the dead". As was noted in previous discussions, the amendment process was designed to do this to some extent. One problem is that there are as many
proposals to rewrite as there are political and personal philosophies. One can only imagine the arguments over church/state separation, what a 'well-armed militia' really is and what
comprises federal intrusion into state rights and responsibilities.
Heck, we can't even agree on a 'stimulus package'....:)

Average American said...

....Political ideology should always be subordinate to and conform to the Constitution, any constitution....

You got that right Griper! If one party does something new, grabs a new power, they better expect the other party to use that same power when it's their turn. This is one reason that the government doesn't look at all like the constitution envisioned.

The Griper said...

you just gave greater reason for a convention, BB. at least there would be an honest debate over those issues at a convention. right now we only have both sides trying to impose their will on each other.

and it would have a side effect that would be beneficial also. it would stir up the people to have a greater interest in what the Constitution is and means to a nation.

as for your thomas jefferson comment, that only shows that even he thought that the Constitution was not a living document and it should be taken as it says, doesn't it? if he thought otherwise, what he said would not make sense.

commoncents said...

Great post!

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Anonymous said...

excellent job on this blog

Anonymous said...

excellent job on this blog

BB-Idaho said...

" Show me one state that would be willing to tell the federal government that this was their problem and that they needed no help to solve it?" Depends on what else the Fed is shoveling in with the $$. recently a number of states refused funding.....

The Griper said...

as my post read, BB, it was meant for the economic conditions now not sex education. but i will give this one to you. my gist would be inclusive.

BB-Idaho said...

Actually, Federal dollars going to states is nothing new , the practice has been growing (see esp fig 5 & 6)..for all kinds of stuff, although welfare does not appear to be a major recipient, medicaid does. Since I am no constitutional scholar, I have no expertise on the relation between federal/state
interdependence. The interesting thing to me is that some states get much more than others; and the reasoning (if any) behind that?

The Griper said...

the reasoning behind it is strictly population. it depends upon the population in relation to the issue that the states receive aid. another factor is the representative and how good he is in getting earmarks. another factor is the industry of the states and how good their lobbyists are.

a state like california or new
york may get more medicaid funds because of the number of persons on the program than, say, Massachusetts or wyoming but in terms of moneys for a wild life cause, wyoming may receive more too. then there is the factor of how much of the state has been confiscated by the central government for causes like national parks etc.

The Griper said...

but those charts reveal one thing BB. it shows just how dependent the states have become on the central government now. this is exactly just the opposite of how the government was set up by the founding fathers and it is contrary to what the Constitution declares that relationship be also.

it was suppose to be the central government that was to be dependent upon the state governments. the tenth amendment was to assure that relationship remained.

when we started out we were suppose to be a nation that look similar to europe, a lot of small nation/states but with a central government to deal with foreign relationships only.

it was set up for the purpose of mutual self defense but it had another effect that europe has never been able to solve among themselves. it prevented wars between the states here with the exception of the civil war.

tweetey30 said...

You know Griper sometimes these posts go right over my head but I read to learn anyway.. I have learned lots on here and over at Gayles place..

The Constitution is real bad of late but not gettinb any better. They dont want to follow what there forbearers have done for them to follow. They want to do there own things...

The Griper said...

i thank you for the compliment, tweety and i'm sure Gayle would too.

as for following the Constitution that is one of the problems with power. certain people cannot be satisfied with the power that the Constitution affords them and they feel they deserve greater power.


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