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Just How Powerful is Government Supposed to Be?

September 23rd, 2012

The Constitution focused heavily on a government with limited powers.  After all, our forefathers had just risked life and limb to hop in boats and travel across the Atlantic — then fought a war — just to get away from the oppressive government back in England.

The last thing they wanted was a repeat here!

In order to keep the federal government from spiraling out of control, the forefathers created three branches of government — each with its own job to do.  That way, the government had a built-in way to keep itself in check.

So, if the Executive Branch overstepped its boundaries, the Legislative Branch could stop it.  Or, if the Legislative Branch started hogging too much power, the Executive Branch could step in.

In order to make things even more clear, the forefathers created a list of Enumerated Powers that spelled out exactly what Congress was allowed to do.  You can find the entire list in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, but the list includes things like collecting taxes, regulating foreign commerce, coining money, establishing post offices, creating and maintaining a military, and borrowing money on U.S. credit.

To the forefathers, anything that went beyond the list was simply not the role of the federal government.  Remember, they believed that our rights were given to us by God — not the government.  In fact, most of the Bill of Rights is aimed at keeping the government out of the way.

So how do you think today’s government big-wigs are living up to the Constitution?  Are they abiding by the Enumerated Powers?  Are they making the government bigger than it was ever intended to be?

Why is the Second Amendment So Important?

September 23rd, 2012

If you Google the term “repeal Second Amendment”, more than two million results pop up.  You’ll find articles blaming the Second Amendment for the July mass-shooting in a Colorado movie theater, for the Arizona shooting that wounded Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, and even for arming the Mexican drug cartels.

There’s no doubt that guns can do horrible things, but does that mean we should change the Bill of Rights?

The 27 words that make up the Second Amendment are clear:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Back in 1791, there was no National Guard.  Instead, Americans had militias that could be called upon when things got rough.  In fact, Colonists had been relying on these militias ever since they first arrived at Jamestown in 1607.  Without them, America may not have been able to break free of England in the first place.

Back in those days, you weren’t just ALLOWED to have a gun.  You were EXPECTED to have gun.

But Thomas Jefferson took it one step further.

Remember, the Declaration of Independence makes it clear that the government works for the people — not vice versa.  In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson talked about what would happen if the government failed to protect its citizens.  What if the government actually became the enemy of the people?

In that case, Jefferson said, the people were allowed to overthrow the government.

But doing so wouldn’t be possible without weapons.  Therefore, Jefferson reasoned, the federal government could never forbid its citizens from bearing arms.  If it did, the people had no way to prevent the government from running right over the top of them.

Don’t we face the same threat today?

If we repeal the Second Amendment, does it give the government an opportunity to stop working FOR us and start working AGAINST us?

Are We Headed for a Repeat of the French Revolution?

September 23rd, 2012

When you look at the in-fighting, the protesting, and the economic climate of America today, you can’t help but be reminded of what was going on in France just prior to the French Revolution.

Let’s rewind to the late 1700’s…

France’s national debt was out of control.  Unemployment was very high.  People in lower classes hated the upper-class citizens — not just the royal ones, but even professional people, because they felt like the professional citizens were taking advantage of them.  And, despite all of the taxes people were paying, France’s economy was wreck.

Sound familiar?

Eventually, people were so angry that they stormed the Bastille prison.  Just like that, the French Revolution had officially begun.

While Bastille Day is celebrated today, the overturn of the prison led to some long-term negative effects.  Once the French Revolution began, the country was full of civil disobedience.  In order to combat it, French leaders decided to create a stricter government.  Soon, they decided that man’s rights were not God-given.  Instead, any rights people had came directly from the government.

As a result, the government started erasing religious freedom.  Churches were seized, and priests were required to take a special oath to the government.  The ones who didn’t were jailed.

A few years later, Napoleon seized on the chaos and took over.  Unfortunately, he was a dictator who caused even more serious problems for the French people.

What do you think?  Is it possible for America to go through a similar revolution?

What Does “We the People” Mean Anyways?

September 17th, 2012

They’re the first three words of the Preamble to the Constitution, but have you given any serious thought to what “We the People” really means?

Back when it was first written in September 1787, “We the People” referred to everyone who was living in the brand new America as a means to escape from an unfair government back in England.  By starting off the Preamble to the Constitution by talking about the people — instead of talking about the government — it was a clear sign that the government’s power came FROM the people it served.

But has the meaning of “We the People” changed since our forefathers wrote it down all those years ago?

Think about today’s political climate and how it affects “We the People”…

Does it refer to all Americans, regardless of race, marital status, religious views, political views, etc?

Does it refer to anyone who calls this country home — either legally or illegally?

Does it only refer to the “people” in power — like the members of a certain political party?

Does it only refer to people who have the means to get their message heard — like in TV commercials, in giant Facebook marketing campaigns, or in loud protests?

Does it only refer to the people who vote?

Does it only refer to the majority?

Does it only refer to the people who work on Capitol Hill?

 

One important thing to remember — when our forefathers came up with the term “We the People”, they weren’t just giving the American people rights.  The term was also used to describe the “people” responsible for upholding the foundations of the Constitution.

So, what do you think?  Are the “people” doing a good job of that today?

The “Radical” Declaration of Independence

August 29th, 2012

If you were around in 1776 and liked what the Declaration of Independence had to say, lots of people would have labeled you a “radical”.

After all, back then, people believed that the government created all of man’s rights — and, as a result, was allowed to take those rights away whenever it felt like it.  There was no voting; rulers had absolute power.  When a King made a decision, no one was allowed to question it.  Heck, no one would have even dreamed of questioning it!  Instead, commoners agreed that the King was being “nice” by letting them have a couple of liberties.

Then, the “radical” Declaration of Independence changed everything.

It said that men were born with certain rights — and that those rights had nothing to do with whoever happened to be in power at the time.  Instead, it was the people who were being “nice” by letting the government have any power at all.  Our Forefathers believed that the people were allowed to set rules for the government anytime they wanted, not vice versa.  People were encouraged to challenge the government and speak their minds.  That’s because the government existed to serve the people, instead of the other way around.

In some circles, you’re still a “radical” if you agree with them.  If you believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, you’ve got it all wrong.

Wonder what our Forefathers would say if they knew their views were still unpopular to some people all these years later?

 

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