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Over the last 18 months, the Constitution of the United States has been raped by both the federal and state governments of “We the People” in the name of our assumed “public safety.”
John Adams wrote in a July 1775 letter to his wife, Abigail Adams, that “Cities may be rebuilt, and a people reduced to poverty, may acquire fresh property: But a Constitution of Government once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the people once surrender their share in the Legislature, and their right of defending the limitations upon the government, and of resisting every encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.”
When Thomas Jefferson wrote in the “Declaration of Independence” in 1776 that our rights come from God via our humanity, he and his colleagues set the 13 colonies on a path toward limited government based upon the consent of the governed. The declaration proclaimed that the sole moral function of government is to protect life, liberty and property.
In 1776, the colonial governments here consisted of governors appointed by the British king and popularly elected legislatures chosen by the adult, white, land-owning males who bothered to vote.
I say “bothered to vote” because the colonists knew that their legislatures were largely subject to the governors. The same colonists who supported the idea of secession hated the colonial governors as they more frequently than not bypassed the legislatures and issued edicts that they then enforced as if they were laws.
The practice of issuing gubernatorial edicts became so unpopular that 10 of the 13 colonies amended their own constitutions in 1776 and 1777 so as to define more precisely the principle of the separation of powers.
The history of the revolutionary period reflects two wars: a war of violence against the King’s Soldiers and a war of ideas to persuade reluctant colonists of the value of personal liberty.
The principal instrument of the war of ideas, and the one that James Madison embedded into the Constitution in 1787, was the separation of powers.
The separation of powers, which the late Justice Antonin Scalia called the backbone of the American Constitution, mandates that only the legislature can write laws and only the executive can enforce them and only the judiciary can interpret them.
The immediate purpose of the separation is to enable any one of the branches to be a check on the other two so that by tension and even jealousy no one branch could exceed the powers granted to it by the Constitution.
If the president wrote laws, the courts would invalidate them; if the Congress interpreted laws, the president and the courts would ignore it; if the courts hired folks to enforce laws, the Congress would not fund their salaries.
The ultimate purpose of the separation is to prevent tyranny and thereby preserve liberty.
To assure that the separation of powers worked at the state level, Madison wrote the Guarantee Clause into the Constitution. The Supreme Court has ruled that it guarantees the same separation of powers in the states as is required of the feds.
Over the last 18 months, hundreds of edicts have been issued by mayors and governors, and a few by both presidents Donald Trump and Joseph Biden. None has the force of law, and each is a legal nullity for the simple reason that only legislatures can enact standards of behavior that carry punishments for noncompliance, otherwise known as “laws.”
The Legislature of New York even gave away some of its powers to its governor, and that, too, is unconstitutional, as the Supreme Court has ruled that the branches of government cannot cede away or exchange powers, and when they do so, it is a legal nullity.
I am not surprised when the government thumbs its nose at the Constitution that its agents and officers have sworn to uphold and at the legal theories upon which it is based. After all, the Constitution was written to keep the government off the people’s backs. No wonder our government hates it so much.
I am, however, dumbstruck by the great mass of people who act as sheep, when they reject the values of America’s founding documents and they ignore the history and courage that has undergirded personal liberty in our once free society.
For the last 18 months, the executive branch of the federal government and of nearly all states has told “We the People” how to live, dress, work, travel, attend church, run our businesses, and control our bodies in defiance of our Constitution; and the people — yearning more for a false sense of security than the reality of freedom — bowed down and said: YES.
Does the government work for us, or do we work for the government? Do we still have a functional Constitution? Can freedom so bitterly fought for and arduously won be this easily dissipated?
The answers to these questions are too repugnant for this American who weeps for liberty to articulate.