Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a series of question-and-answer sessions with candidates for the office of president. Today, Alan Keyes says the American ideal of self-government itself is under assault, and depends on the 2008 election to survive.
WND: What are the key issues you are raising in your campaign that other campaigns are not addressing?
Keyes: I think the major issue that faces the country right now is not being addressed by anyone and that is the fact that our system of self-government is under assault and is collapsing on every front, and not only is this not being addressed, I don’t think the others who are in the race understand the nature of this crisis and of course if you don’t see it, you’re not going to be able to address this.
Each one seems to see pieces of it. Some will see the immigration and border security aspect of it; others will see the assault on the moral foundations; still others will profess to understand some elements of the destruction of the economic sovereignty of our people and the constitutional sovereignty. Nobody understands that these are not separate issues, that they are in fact symptoms of the crisis of the American republic, the question of whether government of, by and for the people is going to survive in the 21st Century.
I think that that’s being decided in this election. Unfortunately the choices available on the Republican side are not offering the alternative that is required if we are to meet this test.
WND: What is that answer that you’re proposing?
Keyes: The answer is to restore the sovereignty of the American people, restore their moral sovereignty by addressing the moral issues like the abandonment of the basic principle that we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, therefore to reject the idea that we shall be separated as a country from our appeal to the Creator God, and therefore deprived of the very foundation that gives us the claim to be free. We shall have to restore our constitutional sovereignty against the assault of abusive judges who have arrogantly taken unto themselves the right to make laws, taking that away from our legislatures. And we’ll have to deal with the assault on our physical sovereignty in terms of the border and immigration crisis and the fact we have elites that have betrayed us for the sake of their service to narrow, special interests who are seeking their own profit and have done so in such a way as to surrender the physical integrity of the borders of the United States.
And finally we have to address the economic sovereignty of our people by abolishing the income tax and restoring to the people of this country control over 100 percent of the money that they earn, so that forces in the government no longer dictate to the people of this country how much of their own money they get to keep.
WND: As a candidate you and your campaign have been shut out of many media events. What can you do about that, and how can you carry your message to the voters.
Keyes: You know, No. 1, the real question is why is it happening. Obviously, that is a contravention of the right of the people of this country to make a choice among all the available choices rather than to have a slate of choices dictated by who knows what, which then gives us a system that’s more like the old Soviet Union’s, where the Communist Party by dictating the choices, dictated the choice. And that’s what’s happening now. There are some forces in this country who don’t want the people of the country to have real alternatives, and who are therefore shutting down the voices that speak to the real concerns, the real heart, the real conscience of the grass roots. I think that’s particularly true this time on the Republican side since you have a field of candidates all of whom are claiming to be something they are not, and that is conservative.
What is really to be conserved is the Republic, the right of self-government of the people of the United States. And in one way or another each and every one of them is willing to surrender that basic right, and it’s sad, because every government official in this country swears to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution and that Constitution requires that we preserve the Republican form of government, that is to say government of, by and for the people. The crisis of that form of government therefore is the prime crisis of our time. It manifests itself in all these issues that I’ve talked about. But at the end of the day this is the moment that the American people must decide whether they mean for this Republic to survive.
It’s been going on for some time. You’ll recall that Ronald Reagan’s famous organization was called Citizens for the Republic. He understood the absolute requirement that we save this form of government as the heritage that we are supposed to pass on to our children. So that the election is not about who wins and who loses, it’s about whether the American people retain constitutional self-government and pass it on to their posterity. I think there are forces who don’t want that crisis to be addressed because they benefit from the surrender of the power, sovereign power of the America people. So they’ve been making every effort to shut my voice out. Meanwhile we’re going to the grass roots via the Internet and other means in order directly to communicate our message, because I know it reflects the real heart of the people of this country who do not wish to give up their birthright of liberty.
WND: If elected what would be your priorities in your first 100 days in office?
Keyes: My first priority would be to re-establish within the executive branch respect for and protection of the unalienable rights of the unborn children in the womb, to make sure nothing was done by the executive branch of the United States that violated the Constitution of the United States in this regard. My second priority would be to immediately begin to implement a plan that would restore the security of our borders in this country, including the establishment of a national border force that would be the military counterpart of the Coast Guard and that would perform the vital police and military functions that are needed to make sure that we have security on our borders and that our laws with respect to immigration are enforced according to their terms.
I would also be dealing with the vital international crisis that we face in order to restore the morale of the American people as they confront the crisis of terrorism. I think we have a need right now to understand the nature of the crisis that we’re in in terms of the moral cause that lies at its heart. For the threat of terrorism is not just about this group or that. It is about whether we will surrender the basic principle that says that our rights starting with the unalienable right to life of all innocent human beings come from the hand of Almighty God and that therefore whether you are talking about children in the womb or innocent people in the World Trade Center, the abortionists and the terrorists have no right to target innocent human life. That’s the cause for which we are fighting and it in fact involves the fundamental principle on which our whole way of liberty is based. I think that has been lost sight of in this discussion, and as a result forces of surrender on the part of the Democrats have been clamoring in louder and louder voices in ways that would spell doom for the physical survival of our people.
So I think we need to restore that moral understanding of the struggle we are in so we can move forward vigorously to prosecute this war against terrorism.
WND: Would you support a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one woman and one man?
WND: Share with us your position on Roe v. Wade and when life begins.
Keyes: This issue isn’t when life begins. The issue is the founding principle of our country. The founding principle of our country is that we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator, not by human choice or will, with our unalienable rights. And that means from the moment of fertilization we are dealing with something that represents the will and the authority of the Creator God and we have no choice but to respect it.
And that was true when you and I first came into the world and it’s true now. Therefore I would support an amendment to the Constitution making this clear so that we don’t have to fight this battle with the courts. But I would move forward on the basis of a right constitutional understanding, since it is already clear in the Constitution that the ultimate aim of our government is to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Our posterity, including of course, the elemental part of posterity that lies in the womb, is placed by the Constitution on an equal level with ourselves in terms of the claims to liberty. So the question is answered right there in the Constitution, and we simply need to respect that answer.
WND: At what point do agreements with other nations begin endangering the sovereignty of the U.S., such as the Security and Prosperity Partnership, NAFTA highways and the like.
Keyes: Any agreement that in any way abrogates or supersedes the Constitution of the United States obviously endangers the sovereignty of the American people. And I think all such agreements including those elements of trade agreements and other things that have established some sort of supranational authority that supersedes the authority constitutionally given to our legislatures and our Congress is an abrogation of the sovereignty of the American people.
I think we need to call a halt to all such maneuvers that push us toward involvement in an illegitimate set of globalist institutions that do not respect the principle that all government must be based on consent and must therefore reflect the kind of constitutional arrangements we have in the Constitution of the United States.
We must look over what we have been doing internationally, including the agreements that have been made under the auspices of the executive branch and we must bring to a halt every aspect of those agreements that in any way abrogates the Constitution of the United States.
WND: What is your belief about the terrorist threat facing Americans on their own soil today. Will there be another 9/11?
Keyes: I don’t think anyone can answer the question whether there will be another attack. Certainly I think you have to take necessary steps and precautions to try to deal as effectively as we can with the threat of terror both at home and abroad. But I think we need to recognize that we cannot effectively deal with terror simply by trying to secure ourselves, by means that destroy our liberties here at home. No. The only way I think you can really deal with the threat of terror is offensively.
You must go after the terrorists through intelligence means, through means of assaulting their resources in the world, through the way in which they are able to fund themselves, by going after those states that facilitate and partner with terrorists as we have been trying to do and by dealing with the threat of terrorists where they live. Right now, that means, that we will have to take them on offensively, in places like the Middle East, where the terrorist threat is being fomented against the United State and indeed against all the decent people of the world.
So I think that we have to understand that if we’re to secure ourselves here we are going to have to draw the line against terror, not only here, but where these terrorists are developing, where they are planning, where their bases and infrastructure exist. Because at the end of the day, once the terrorists have struck, we have already failed.
WND: Give us your perspective on the nation’s economy.
Keyes: Well, I think the most important thing we need to do
for the economy is to restore control of their income to the people of the United States. And the first prerequisite of that which is also needed to restore the fundamental economic constituent of our economic sovereignty as a people is to abolish the income tax. I think the abolishment of the income tax and replacing it with the fair tax system is the first step toward an economic future that would really witness an amazing explosion of growth and creativity on the part of the American people.
For one I think you give the people of this country back control over their money, rather than giving the first use of that money to the government in whatever measure these politicians think will serve their ambitions, I think that that’s been a recipe for disaster, for skyrocketing deficits that burden the future of the country, because more and more we are shoveling money into the maw of political ambition rather than making sure it’s being rightly and properly and responsibly used by the citizens of this country.
So I would say the first that we need to do if we are to really put a sound foundation under our economic future, end the skyrocketing deficit spending and take an approach that respects the need for responsibility and discipline that is required, I think in a conservative understanding of truly limited government, we have to abolish the income tax which will essentially cut off the spigot that is now feeding the wasteful ambition of our political class.
WND: What other issues do you think are important and should be addressed during this campaign.
Keyes: Well I think the issues that we’ve talked about, that I’ve raised are the prime issues. The main issue being the restoration of the sovereignty of the people of this country and therefore the restoration of our constitutional Republic to its strength and integrity. We must address the assault on our moral sovereignty by correcting the abrogation of principle that has resulted from things like the Roe v. Wade decision, the assault on the natural family. That reflects the crisis of constitutional sovereignty. We’ve got to bring these judges back under control and end their abuses in which they have substituted their judicial fiat for the legislative authority that in all our constitutions is supposed to be the source of law in this country. We must restore the economic sovereignty of our people, beginning with the abolition of the income tax, and we must effectively re-establish the physical integrity of our sovereignty as a people by doing what we must in order to gain control of the borders of the United States so that we can in fact effectively enforce the laws that govern immigration into this country.