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Time for a 'Contract with the Constitution'

America has forgotten the two concepts that made her special as a nation – two unique factors that set her apart from the world from the start.

First, the Founding Fathers wrote a Constitution that strictly limited the role of the federal government in the lives of Americans. The idea that Washington had some role in education, redistribution of wealth, setting minimum wage requirements, nationalizing millions of acres of land, taxing income and subsidizing government-approved artists would have been anathema to the men who fought so valiantly for freedom against an over-reaching foreign tyranny.

Secondly, the framers of that Constitution spoke eloquently about the fact that only a moral people – a nation of Godly people with common spiritual and social values – were capable of self-government. They could not have envisioned the depths of depravity, licentiousness and vice to which our society has fallen – yet they warned about it.

Our current debates about social and government policy seem disconnected from these two critical foundations of the American republic. Politicians will never solve the problems facing the country without acknowledging these two essential precepts. In fact, the more government tries to do, the worse things get.

It’s time for a radical new agenda – a second American Revolution, if you will – to move the nation away from the idea that the federal government represents some large feeding trough through which we can all better ourselves materially. The only way Americans can re-establish their freedom, their God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, is to break the hammerlock of statism and the notion that morally relativistic secular humanism holds the answers to controlling men’s passions and behavior.

Have you heard even one proposal coming from Washington that held the promise of moving America in such a bold, new direction? It sure wasn’t the “Contract with America.” It’s time to return to the principles that made America the greatest experiment in self-government in the history of the world. It’s time for a “Contract with the Constitution.”

I am not a politician or a policy wonk. Nor am I a vain enough to suppose I could come up with an entire agenda for redirecting the course of a nation. But someone, somewhere, somehow has to start raising the real issues that must be addressed if America is to survive, let alone prosper, in the 21st century. So here are my suggestions:

Again, this is just a start. And I welcome the contributions and additional ideas of readers of this column. Let’s start thinking of this agenda as a “living document” and stop thinking of our Constitution that way.

Furthermore, let’s remember that these are merely political ideas and wholly inadequate to address the perilous moral and spiritual decline in which America finds itself. Don’t expect politicians – especially the current crop in Washington – to provide any guidance or leadership of this kind. For that we should look to our churches and synagogues. We must insist that our spiritual leaders stand up, speak out and be counted just as we require our politicians to do so. And, most of all, we must pray – pray for the future of America, give thanks to God for the blessings He has bestowed on this great nation in the past and rededicate ourselves to providing our children the opportunity for moral self-government in the coming millennium.