Constitution Day

This is the week of September 17, Constitution Day. Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia added this special day to an omnibus spending bill in 2004. It is also referred to as Citizenship and Constitution Day.

This amendment requires any school that receives federal funding to have a program on this date commemorating and educating about The Constitution, and every federal agency is to provide educational materials to all federal employees on this date.

Several years ago we read about a Constitution Day program at NIACC that was open to the public. The teacher there spoke of the “flexible clause.” It didn’t take long to decipher it as the “general welfare clause.” As the name implies, it gives a general reason for the existence of The Constitution and so, the federal government.

The focus for this teacher was the overriding idea that anything the federal government can do to benefit its citizens, trumps (sorry) the rules and amendments stated in the rest of The Constitution. It seemed odd that he would then stop the discussion mid-sentence at exactly three o’clock despite the lively discussion and raised hands. But rules are rules, eh?

Why would The Constitution open with a statement allowing the government to do absolutely anything and then go on to list its duties, even stating that the states or the people are the only ones who may do that which is not on that list? When it says “promote the general welfare,” it refers to the purpose of the document then goes on to outline how that is to be done.

The damage done to our republic by an unconstitutional government is so vast and yet we still enjoy a lifestyle unimaginable just a hundred years ago. We have to give credit to the remnants of a free market that proves how powerful freedom is.

It is important to look at the practical side of a strict constitutional government. As a kid, I remember looking up “flags” in the encyclopedia. I gazed at the page with dozens of colorful national flags. Every country has a flag. Only ours has a constitution designed to protect each person from the aggression of another.

Yet, our flag is bordering on being a religious symbol to many, while The Constitution is routinely ignored or scoffed at; even by people who call themselves “constitutional conservatives.”

In practical terms what difference does it make?

A perfect example of the different world created by an unconstitutional government is being played out in the Carolinas right now. Very few people who will lose their homes in Hurricane Florence have flood insurance and almost all of that is federal insurance.

The West Fork of the Cedar River runs through our farm. We know what a flood looks like. We’ve lost cattle in a flood. The farmstead is not in the floodplain. It makes us wonder why all these people build in floodplains.

Although I don’t think there are many who conspire to take advantage of federal disaster aid, the fact that it exists makes it more likely that dream home will be built. On a beautiful day it is hard to imagine filthy floodwater lapping at your windowsill. The wording of The Constitution makes it plain that the federal government was not intended to be an insurance company.

The free market I mentioned is destroyed by federal insurance of any kind. It is more correct to call it welfare or robbery.

There are many more examples of disasters caused by unconstitutional government:

  • If war had been required to be declared by Congress instead of that authority passed to the president, as has been done in every war since World War II, our representatives wouldn’t be able to pass the blame (for the 58,000 lives lost in Vietnam or the 6,000 lost in the Middle East) onto the president. Think of the scientific advancements that may have been discovered by one of those lost lives.
  • If the modern welfare state had never gained traction and private charity had remained as the prime benefactor of those in need, the culture of dependence that has robbed us of a our sense of community and family would not have grown into a major part of our economy.
  • If the system of business incentives and disincentives that has grown to be a major part of all business had never been allowed, we may have found all kinds of different products or processes not connected to powerful lobbies.

Robert Byrd’s pocket Constitution was smaller than a pack of cigarettes. We should stop waving the flag and start waving The Constitution in the faces of our representatives.

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