When will U.S. begin governing by its Constitution?

Tue, 09/23/2008 - 3:31pm
By: Letters to the ...

As we celebrate (if anyone really does), the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, I pause to consider how far we are removed from actually following it.

If the Tenth Amendment really meant anything as it was intended, the U.S. government would not be involved in many of the things in its budget. At least our armed forces still swear to uphold it. I just wish that our congress, president, and courts would do likewise.

If we aren’t going to really follow it, then we need to come up with some common sense understandings. Call it a middle road.

Is there a true middle road? I have been an infantry officer and have served overseas. I have been in manufacturing for a decade. I am a political conservative, but not a neo-conservative. I am not an isolationist, but I am also not an interventionist. I am part of the majority of the country that is right of center, but not extremely so. So why are these things evident to me?

First of all, we have a constitutional government. Let’s have all branches of government honor that constitution. No one branch should be ascendant. We are approaching a tyranny of the judiciary.

We should not nationalize any industries. Nationalizing of different industries always creates inefficiencies and higher operating costs long-term. Capitalistic economies perform better than command economies. Nationalizing of industries is not in the normal interpretation of the constitution.

Is universal health care a real enumerated right in the constitution? Our unconstitutional whims are not sustainable. Look at the other entitlement programs. We are running on borrowed time.

National security: Why don’t we have a public policy that states what we are willing to go to war for and what we are not? This will give us better direction for treaties and obligations.

Are we willing to go to war for Kazakhstan? Rwanda? If not, do add them to our treaty obligations. Whatever happened to avoiding foreign entanglements? We are entangled and the world still hates us.

Why do we allow long-term conflict without a declaration of war? We have lost tens of thousands of soldiers since WWII without our country and Congress formally declaring war. To me they are not doing their job.

If we are waging war, let’s do it constitutionally. Give our wars a legitimacy that they currently lack when examined honestly against the constitution.

Why are we allowing our sovereignty to be frittered away by the open border people? No sane country worldwide has unfettered borders. Mexico has one of the strictest immigration policies in North America. Let’s give them reciprocity. If Nicaraguans cannot come to their country legally, and are vigorously evicted, why must Mexicans be allowed unfettered access to the U.S.? Why don’t we fix the loophole in reasoning that allows children born in the U.S. to non-citizens to be citizens? No European country allows that.

Why do we continue to station many troops in WWII occupation areas? Let’s reinforce our ability to project force and bring an end to combat divisions in Germany, Korea, the Sinai, and Japan. It is time for Europe to defend Europe and bear the costs of that defense. Let’s have a force that can protect our interests and prosecute a vigorous war if necessary. A war with good, clean, sharp goals.

Energy: We should seek electrical energy independence. It should be in the form of clean-burn coal, nuclear, wind, etc. Of course we should drill and mine for our resources, but oil, once it is pulled from the ground, is not a national resource. It belongs to the private company that drilled for it. Oil flows across borders and is sold on the open market.

Tax policy can be crafted to help get us to a non-oil-based, independent electrical national grid. Let innovation drive the transportation sector. Let the best plan determine electrical, oil, or natural gas. Let the markets become mature. Let’s treat it like the war that the rest of the world views it.

Free trade and heavy industry: Why do we do free-trade with countries that subsidize their industries and tax ours or place barriers to market entry? Let’s make our trade truly equal. We are killing our industrial base. Why isn’t our industrial base tied into national security?

If we import our steel and our raw materials, if we shut down heavy industry and become a nation of shopkeepers and services, if we lose the engineering and manufacturing expertise, what will we do when they shut off our trade and close their borders and wage war against us?

We are losing our capacity to economically defend ourselves. Soon we will lose our capacity to militarily sustain ourselves in a long conflict. We are being short-sighted in our economic policies. We need to pay attention to our balance of trade. Money is coming in or money is going out. Money has been going out for a long, long time.

Why are we bailing out people who gambled on risky investments? Would they have shared their wealth if their risks bore fruit? Governmental interventions are always more costly than letting the market force the decision.

We are so outside of the constitutional scope of our country. Everyone seems to be objects of our government’s benevolence. We cannot remain prosperous as a country with that philosophy.

Education: If we make an assumption that some of the population is incapable, by either intellectual capacity or motivation, of graduating from college, why do we insist that it is the be-all, end-all for most jobs outside of manual labor? Why do most businesses use it as a rite of passage, and not instrumental in the ability to do a particular job?

A two-year, focused degree is much more efficient, and most jobs would do well with it. We are wasting resources and allowing college to be a wasteful party time for many.

Why do we not push trades and trade school? Most trades will not/cannot be fully outsourced and some trades out-earn degreed careers. Why do we put up with any cultures that do not value achievement and education? Why do we put up with any culture that marginalizes itself in this way?

Outlook on human nature: Why don’t we view ourselves for what we innately are? We are selfish, violent, and prone to acts of evil. We are also counter-balanced by a selfless side, one prone to generosity and love. We have to be aware that we are constantly swinging from one side to the other. This outlook should give us courage to stand up for ourselves and protect our families and neighbors. We cannot create a utopia on earth that is free. Most attempts at utopia end in dictatorship.

When will we recognize the danger that we are in, and do something to protect ourselves? When are we going to start governing constitutionally? Why are we willing to sell ourselves for handouts?

James J. Bankey, Jr.

Peachtree City, Ga.

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