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It's the Constitution, stupid!
Posted By Henry Lamb On 01/15/2011 @ 12:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, New York Times’ Paul Krugman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Rep. Robert Brady and a growing number of progressives are quick to condemn behavior that may be appalling to them, but is a God-given freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Dupnik and Krugman, of course, were quick to blame the Tucson tragedy on free speech offered by non-progressives that they consider to be “hate speech.” Rockefeller says his work would be easier if MSNBC and Fox News were to be shut down. Brady, poor soul, says he does not want to limit free speech – he just wants it to be illegal to use symbols he doesn’t like.
New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy can’t let this crisis go to waste; she’s introducing new gun-control legislation in hopes of capturing support from the emotion surrounding the Tucson event.
The Constitution is not a document of convenience to be ignored at will and displayed at election time.
What is it about the First Amendment that’s so hard to understand? “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech. …” There is no exception for “hate speech” in the Constitution. There is no definition of “hate speech” in the Constitution. “Hate speech” is the construct of progressives who need a way to control the flow of information that exposes the fallacies of their philosophy.
What’s far more dangerous and damaging than anything Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or any other conservative has said is the irresponsible actions of the Department of Homeland Security when they issued a memo to law-enforcement officials that said there may be a “possible” connection between the Tucson shooter and an organization they labeled as “anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti-Semitic.”
“That is complete nonsense. I have absolutely no idea what DHS is talking about. We have never used the term ‘ZOG.’ We have never thought in those terms. If this is the level of research we are getting from DHS, then Heaven help us.”
DHS has backed away from its memo, saying that it has no direct connection or linkage between the Tucson shooter and the group mentioned, but the damage is done. The group’s reputation has been damaged beyond recompense. The DHS should be liable for those damages, but will not be held accountable.
Those who ignore the Constitution and persist in their efforts to control speech and guns refuse to recognize that government control of both could not prevent a recurrence of another Tucson-like tragedy. Deranged people who strike out at others are not deterred by laws. Laws only restrain law-abiders. There were plenty of laws in place last week, which the Tucson shooter completely ignored. Anyone who thinks that another law to prohibit free speech or another law to ban guns would have made a difference is just irrational.
The U.S. Constitution may not be sacred in a scriptural sense, but it comes as close as any document ever drafted by a human. The U.S. Constitution may not be perfect, but it created the best structure for self-governance that man has ever devised. The document recognized and declared two unprecedented principles: 1) legitimate governmental power arises from the consent of the governed; and 2) the structure of government must be self-correcting.
When we elect our representatives, we give our consent to them to act in our behalf. At the point when our elected representatives’ actions are not consistent with our wishes, we have the right and the opportunity to dismiss them, by electing another representative.
The founders worked hard to make the U.S. government self-correcting. Three separate, co-equal branches of government – legislative, executive, judicial – is an important part of the self-correcting structure. Two other unique features are equally important: the Electoral College and the selection of senators by state legislatures.
The founders knew that the only hope of a self-correcting government was a structure in which the essential elements were in constant competition. Just as competition keeps any single provider from becoming the only source of a product in a free market, competition in government keeps any single component from becoming the only source of power. That competition is still alive, if not completely healthy, between the three branches of government. But the essential competition between the states and the federal government was all but abolished by the 17th Amendment in 1913, and is still under attack by people who are working to destroy the Electoral College.
The oath taken by every elected official to uphold and protect the U.S. Constitution are idle words uttered by hypocrites when their next action is to ignore or seek to destroy an essential element of the Constitution. It is the Constitution that created the government that allowed individual people to create a great nation. Deviation from constitutional principles diminishes our government and our nation. Strict adherence to those principles provides the self-correcting mechanisms designed by our founders.
The first lesson every elected official should learn is this: It’s the Constitution, stupid!
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