The Preamble to the Constitution clearly identifies our country’s sovereign: “We the people.” Thus, our government – in Abraham Lincoln’s famous phrasing – is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
Yet in 2013 is the government “for the people,” or is it actively against us?
Our government shuts down memorials that cost nothing to run for political purposes, turning 85-year-old World War II heroes into political pawns. Our fully politicized IRS targets and weakens the administration’s opponents, tainting the result of the 2012 presidential election. Now, law-abiding Americans live under the threat of an IRS investigation, because of their political views…or because the name of their organization is deemed offensive by the government.
Our National Security Agency routinely spies on innocent people under no suspicion of criminal activity. Our too-powerful politicians call citizens who disagree with them “terrorists,” “anarchists,” and “lunatics,” and compare them to dictators, murderers, and suicide bombers. Our government officials have immeasurable disdain for the American people. They say things like “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it” without fear of repercussion.
How much will we take?
The Founders asked and answered this question over 238 years ago. Consider the historical context: Outside of Boston and other areas of New England, most colonists lived their lives and governed themselves with little interference from the British Empire. But the British decided to change the political equation and put an end to the idea of self-governance. Because of this, we fought a war to answer a simple question: Who decides?
You might remember from elementary school history that a fight over the Stamp Act began the historic struggle. Upon its repeal, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act.
The Declaratory Act proclaimed that Parliament "had hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America ... in all cases whatsoever." This was an assertion by Parliament that they and they alone were sovereign, and not the people of the colonies themselves. It was, in essence, a simple statement: “You shall not govern yourselves.” They had answered the question of who decides, with: “We, Parliament.”
Sound familiar? Don’t our “representatives” in Washington, D.C. act and speak the same way today?
The majority of Americans opposed Obamacare, the most sweeping piece of social legislation in decades, before its passage. Yet Washington passed it in the most partisan vote in 100 years. The voters now oppose it by an even larger margin, and yet even now the politicians refuse the most modest revisions. Efforts to amend, repeal, or defund Obamacare are labeled as “hostage taking,” “terrorism,” and the acts of “anarchists.”
Do Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court all believe Parliament’s Declaratory Act is now the law under which they govern? History is repeating itself. Examples of the federal government defying the will of the people are legion today. Instead of acting at our behest and representing us, they repeatedly defy us, even on issues on which we are not even closely divided.
As an example, the latest Marist/McClatchy poll shows that 83 percent of those polled believe laws requiring voters to "show identification in order to vote" are a "good thing." Only 13 percent see those laws as a "bad thing." A full 72 percent of Democrats see voter ID as a "good thing." In fact, 65 percent of those who see themselves as "very liberal" favor voter ID laws. And yet the Justice Department, under the direction of this administration, continues to work to thwart voter ID laws passed in state after state. The will of the people is not honored – even though the Supreme Court has clearly upheld the constitutionality of voter ID requirements.
How much will we take?
The Obama administration recently ordered the National Park Service to shut Mount Rushmore. As if that were not enough punishment, the federal government is now closing “pull off lanes” so that people can’t even stop to take a picture.
The state government of South Dakota, which has many tourism dollars at stake, offered to pay maintenance costs to keep the park open. But, the National Park Service, at the behest of the president, declined their offer. This same pattern is repeating itself all across the nation, as the administration works to impose pain upon citizens whom they consider more “subjects” than “sovereign.”
On military bases the administration is prohibiting Catholic priests from volunteering to celebrate mass with Catholic soldiers. And the government has terminated the ability of our overseas forces to watch American sporting events on the Armed Services Network.
The administration has even closed the Lincoln Memorial, which, along with the other monuments, remained open during the government shutdown in 1995. This makes it plain that these closures are tactics simply designed to harass.
The closure of the Lincoln Memorial seems to sum it all up. After all, Obama doesn’t want citizens to be able to look at the looming carving of Abraham Lincoln’s face and remember his words: “government of the people, by the people, for the people…”
If we truly remembered, we might not accept a government that’s now simply “against the people.”
How much will we take?