“A little matter will move a party, but it must be something great that moves a nation.”—Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1792
In my Constitution Classes I teach that we have four tools on our tool belt for taking back America. Those tools were provided by the Founding Fathers through the instruction booklet for taking back this nation, the United States Constitution.
As we enter Constitution crisis after Constitution crisis with this very dangerous Obama administration, it can be easy to lose sight of the truth. I am an optimist, and it is never too late to turn around a system like ours. . . if we are willing to do what it takes to get it back. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick, but it can be done.
Like I tell my students regularly, the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
Education is the key, for how can we use the tools given to us if we don’t even realize they exist? Then, when educated, the populace can work to create what needs to be done to take back this nation. Eventually, it all comes to a tipping point, and the cockroaches in Washington have no choice but to listen, and once again become obedient to the Constitution, and servants to the people and the States.
The four tools, with the one that ties in with the title of this piece at the end, are as follows:
Article VI, Clause 2, of the United States Constitution states that all laws of the United States made in pursuance of the U.S. Constitution, and all treaties made and ratified by the United States Senate, are the supreme law of the land. All other federal laws are not the supreme law of the land. Therefore, any law made by the federal government that is not in line with the authorities granted to the federal government by the States through the Constitution are unconstitutional, and are then not legally binding. The Constitution is a contract between the States and the federal government, and the States DO NOT have to obey unconstitutional laws for they are a breach of that contract. In other words, not all federal laws trump all State laws as we have been taught, only those laws passed by Congress under the authority of the U.S. Constitution are supreme.
We are told that it is up to the Supreme Court to determine what laws are constitutional, but that is hardly in line with the limiting principles offered by the U.S. Constitution. That power the courts claim to have is called Judicial Review, and it is addressed nowhere in the Constitution. In fact, the federal courts seized that power for themselves through an opinion written by Justice John Marshall in the Marbury v. Madison case of 1803.
Yes, that’s right, the courts gave that power to themselves.
By deciding if laws are constitutional, and since the Supreme Court is a part of the federal government, what is happening is that the federal government is deciding for itself what its own Constitutional authorities are. That, my friends, is hardly in line with the original intent of the Founding Fathers.
The final arbiters of the U.S. Constitution are the people through their States. Therefore, if a State believes a federal law to be unconstitutional, that State has the authority to nullify that law by ignoring it, refusing to implement it, passing legislation disallowing that law to exist in the State, or whatever other means they feel necessary to reject that unconstitutional federal law. A fantastic explanation of the power of nullification by the States was penned by Thomas Jefferson in his draft of the Kentucky Resolution.
I am not a big fan of Alexander Hamilton. The guy was a monarchist, statist, mercantilist, and today would fit in well with the far left socialist extremists now in charge of the democrat party. However, despite all of his shortcomings, Hamilton wrote a brilliant essay on the importance of the Article V. Convention in Federalist Paper Number 85. He wished to make the Anti-Federalists realize that despite their fears regarding the creation of a centralized federal government through the U.S. Constitution, they had a fail-safe in place that they could use in case the government began to overstep the powers granted to it by the States.
The only way to change the Constitution is through an amendment process. Usually, we only see amendments proposed by the United States Congress. However, according to Article V. of the U.S. Constitution, the States can propose amendments as well. In fact, the first ten amendments, also known as the Bill of Rights, were all proposed by the States, not Congress.
Originally, during the debates in the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the founders were only going to allow the States to propose amendments. They did not believe that allowing the Congress to propose amendments was a good idea. However, after a number of delegates argued in favor of also allowing the Congress to propose amendments, on the second to the last day of the convention, September 15, 1787, the Founding Fathers decided to allow the Congress to propose amendments as well.
Originally, it was their intent to only allow the States through convention to propose amendments, but the Founding Fathers, at the last moment, decided to give Congress the ability to propose amendments as well.
An Article V. Convention, according to the Constitution, shall be called when two thirds of the States make an application for a convention. At last count 49 of the 50 States have applied, with over 750 applications. The only involvement by the federal government is for Congress to “call” a convention when enough applications have been made. To “call” a convention is to set up the place and time. To date, Congress has unconstitutionally refused to call a convention.
Think about it. The federal government is scared to death of a convention, because the States would be proposing and ratifying amendments without federal control. This means that amendments could be passed to further limit the authorities of the federal government, or clarify constitutional applications the federal government has been misinterpreting, such as the Commerce Clause and the General Welfare Clause.
Passing amendments to further limit parts of the federal government is nothing new, either. The 11th Amendment, for example, was proposed and ratified with the express purpose of further limiting the federal courts.
A peaceful revolution can be achieved by the people voting, peaceably assembling (i.e. The TEA Party), and making all kinds of noise in the hopes of bringing the whole situation to a tipping point where Washington has no choice but to listen.
A peaceful revolution is waged when the people refuse to be complacent, become informed and educated, and use their talents to begin the process of taking back this country. These opportunities may include becoming a member of the central committee of your local political party, writing emails or phone calling your representatives, passing out flyers, attending (or teaching, in my case) Constitution Classes, becoming members of local groups like the Republican Assembly, or TEA Party.
A peaceful revolution can have an impact. It is my belief that the landslide win for conservatives in the 2010 mid-term election was directly influenced by the emergence of the TEA Party, and people getting involved.
The American Revolution began in the meeting halls, churches, and pubs of the American Colonies. The intent was not for it all to come to bloodshed. But when you are dealing with tyrannies, sometimes there is no choice.
The first shots of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington Green. The British were on their way to seize our largest stash of firearms and ammunition at Concord, Massachusetts. In other words, hostilities broke out when the British came for our guns, which is an incredible clue as to why the founders included the right to keep and bear arms in the Bill of Rights.
The plan was for the revolution against the British to be peaceful. The object was to negotiate, and use methods available for a non-violent revolution. But when push came to shove, and when the British crossed the line, the American Revolution became a bloody one.
When the Founding Fathers labored over the creation of the Constitution, the most inspirational motivator was the tyranny of the British Empire. Based on their history under the thumb of the monarchy, the founders knew exactly what their new system needed not to be. However, they also realized they were creating a central government, a style of system from which all tyrannies have risen. In fact, Thomas Jefferson believed that the dangers of a central government coupled with the complacency of an uninformed population would mean that a new revolution may be necessary every twenty years.
“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”—Thomas Jefferson, November 13, 1787, letter to William S. Smith, quoted in Padover’s Jefferson On Democracy, ed., 1939
That said, the Constitution was designed to stand the test of time if we, as a people, follow its wisdom, and the government acts within the limitations granted to it. However, should we decide not to follow the law of the land, preferring to seek out instead policies in opposition to the Constitution, our very freedom could become nothing more than a distant whisper, and this nation of liberty will become nothing more than a footnote in history.
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”—John Adams
The current political leaders have discarded their willingness to follow the Constitution, instead depending on case law and interpretations designed to follow their statist aspirations. In other words, they have abandoned the Rule of Law and now pursue the Rule of Man.
“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”—Thomas Jefferson
Those that argue in favor of big government, and unconstitutional programs like the Health Care Law, claim that the good intentions of the policies outweigh the legal authority of the U.S. Constitution.
“It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages that mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”—Daniel Webster
I educate people on the Constitution because I believe that learning how to take back this country is very important. But if we fail in our task, the only way in the end to stop tyranny will be revolution.
“Say…whether peace is best preserved by giving energy to the government, or information to the people. This last is the most certain and the most legitimate engine of government. Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them. And it requires no very high degree of education to convince them of this. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”—Thomas Jefferson
“It is natural for men to aspire to power—it is the nature of mankind to be tyrannical; therefore it is necessary for us to secure our rights and liberties as far as we can. But it is asked why we should suspect men who are to be chosen by ourselves, while it is their interest to act justly, and while men have self-interest at heart. I think the reasons which I have given are sufficient to answer that question. We ought to consider the depravity of human nature, the predominant thirst of power which is in the breast of every one, the temptations our rulers may have, and the unlimited confidence placed in them by this system. These are the foundation of my fears, They would be so long in the general government that they would forget the grievances of the people of the states.”—Source: North Carolina Ratifying Convention
Douglas V. Gibbs of Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary, has been featured on “Hannity” and “Fox and Friends” on Fox News Channel, and other television shows and networks. Doug is a Radio Host on KMET 1490-AM on Saturdays with his Constitution Radio program, as well as a longtime podcaster, conservative political activist, writer and commentator. Doug can be reached at douglasvgibbs [at] yahoo.com or constitutionspeaker [at] yahoo.com.
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