We failed to keep it – Commentary by Frank Gillispie
“What?” she asked. “Do you really think that document has any value in
the modern world? It is old, outdated and insignificant.” She was talking
about the Constitution of the United States of America. And in actual
practice, she was correct.
As the primary factor regulating the
federal government, the Constitution was essentially abandoned in 1861, when
Abraham Lincoln became President. Lincoln used the War for Southern
Independence as an excuse to exercise amazing powers not permitted to him by the
Constitution, and all presidents sense then, to one degree or another,
have followed his example.
Every president, congressman, senator, judge, cabinet member and others
swear an oath upon entering office to preserve and protect the
Then, if they even have one, they slide the Constitution into a
bottom drawer of their desk and never think of it again. The results is the
power grabbing, egotistical fiasco now operating in our nation’s capital.
The right to govern belongs to us, the citizens of this assembly of
states. The only power any government has, local state or federal, is what we
choose to give it. And to keep that right as close to us as possible, we give
the state government only as much as it needs to get the job done. Notice
I said the states. The Constitution never intended the federal structure
to be a governing structure, Its mission was to coordinate and assist the
But Washington is filled with power hungry politicians who are
constantly sucking power from the states, and ourselves. No matter what we think
about it. And then rather than use that power for our benefit, they are
using it to bash each other over the head.
The founders of this federation of states made it clear that when a
government becomes abusive of it citizens, those citizens are justified
in rejecting that government and establishing, or reestablishing a
government that truly meets the needs and wishes of the citizens. I think it is
time to make some changes.
We can start by voting out the current office holders. And while we
are at it, lets find some people who are willing to serve as our legislators
for a short time, then come home and let someone else go. A lifetime term
limit would do the trick. Each person would be allowed to serve in elective
office for a limited number of years, and would have to take a lengthy
break between terms. Next we abolish all retirement plans based on elective
office. That would eliminate anyone wanting to stay in office just
for the retirement.
Next, we should have a rule that every bill passed by Congress must
have a preamble containing the section of the Constitution that authorizes the
action. If they cannot find a clear authority in the Constitution,
the bill must not pass.
When Benjamin Franklin left the hall where the new Constitution had
just been passed and sent on to the states for ratification, someone ask him
what had they given us.
“We gave you a republic, if you can keep it,” he replied.
We failed to keep it. Our republic is no more. It has been replaced
by a combative oligarchy where a few people battle each other for ultimate
power. Benjamin Franklin was right to be concerned.
Copyright © 2007 by Frank Gillispie
email@example.com, Hull, GA