Opinion

The year of the Constitution

The United States of America was born of revolution by the people. And from the revolution was created a unique document offering a system of government incorporating expressed balance of power elements to make sure those in power would not trample on the people’s hard-won rights. Said Patrick Henry:

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government, lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”

The 112th Congress was sworn in and called to order this week through the reading of the U.S. Constitution. The new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, supported the reading as a fundamental act of loyalty to the people of the United States. Roughly half of the members of this Congress approved, while the others openly rebuffed, mocked, or at best begrudgingly approved. It may be that the elected D.C. rulers and elites finally get it; the people have had enough, and having sent in new representatives, they demand Congress adheres to the ultimate rule of law, the U.S. Constitution.

A stirring line from the 1776 Declaration of Independence set the tone for the definitive creation of the Constitution. This line, above all others, helped the Founders focus as they produced the document creating a new nation ruled by the consent of the governed. It reads:

“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These were revolutionary ideas, never before practiced in any formal democratic society. In Matthew Spalding’s outstanding book, We Still Hold These Truths, the Heritage Foundation author and researcher offers words from John Adams:

“What do we mean by an American Revolution? The revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people…This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.”

The first oath I took out of high school was to the Constitution. I subsequently took it two more times in my life. Swearing an oath is a powerful elixir affecting the deepest of motivations and beliefs. Any living American who has experienced raising their right arm with a willingness to give their life for it does not easily put it aside. “This radical change” was in the hearts of the people then as it is now, and remains enshrined in a document that over a million Americans have died defending. The people’s loyalty and love for the U.S. Constitution is deeply embedded in their hearts, something the left can hardly understand.

We are between election cycles. A testing of wills ensues. I predict that Americans will some day look back upon 2011 as the year we celebrated the vital substance and meaning of the 223-year-old Constitution.

This, despite irrational liberal arguments that its meaning is archaic and unintelligible. The Washington Post’s youthful blogger Ezra Klein said last week that the Constitution “is confusing to some because it was written more than 100 years ago…” He added that the Constitution “has no binding power on anything.” Mr. Klein neither understands American history nor respects the depth of rights that the Constitution guarantees him.

These anti-constitutionalist sycophants offer the wind behind the sails of the founding document’s present-day defenders. Just as they know it holds the key to people’s liberty in every aspect of life in the American republic — from commerce, to faith, to politically correct speech, charity, property and personal rights, etc., they know it threatens their big-government hopes of total control and citizen management. To win control over the constitutional powers the people defend, the left must either control via disobedience to the Constitution or rule by regulatory and executive powers.

Congress’s constitutional violations over the past two years are brilliantly laid out by Paul Skousen in his Daily Caller piece, The Top Ten Violations of the Constitution by Obama and the 111th Congress.

The people understood their Constitution was being torn to shreds by corrupt D.C. power-mongers. What we witnessed in the 2010 election cycle was not a Republican-led victory but the people’s victory, led by the patriotic Tea Party.

If the GOP continues with what they started, reading the Constitution in the House chambers with the intent to obey it in all matters of legislation, the country has a chance to survive and return to its position as the bright hope to all mankind.

Writes Matthew Spalding in We Still Hold These Truths: “When Benjamin Franklin departed the Constitutional Convention he was asked by an acquaintance if the framers meeting in Philadelphia had created a monarchy or a republic. ‘A republic’ he famously replied, but then added, ‘if you can keep it.’ Our nation’s Founders knew that the perpetuation of liberty would always depend upon spirited citizens and patriotic statesmen actively engaged in the democratic task of governing themselves, holding to the truths of 1776.”

Reading and understanding the Constitution is not as hard as young Mr. Klein of the Washington Post thinks. A free copy of the U.S. Constitution is available at www.heritage.org and at my publishing site: www.powerthink.com. And because millions still love it, trust it, and do understand its value, they will continue to defend it.

With a sentiment of fidelity to their heritage of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, millions of Americans will continue to affirm, as I did at eighteen years old:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

James Michael Pratt is a New York Times bestselling novelist and non-fiction author, CEO of PowerThink Publishing, public speaker, Op Ed writer for The Daily Caller, and Founder of Reagan Revolution 2. His creative work may be reviewed at www.jmpratt.com. Email: james@powerthink.com