The 10th Amendment to the Constitution states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
A president when being sworn into office takes an oath of office where he promises "to the best of his ability to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." If a political leader feels that something in the Constitution should be changed, there are legal procedures to accomplish that, but they include input by the people. Unfortunately they rarely take the legal approach. Why bother with the people? There have been many encroachments made illegally on the Constitution. We tend our affairs with confidence in our politicians, while our freedoms are slowly being usurped by activist egomaniacs who see their duty to control the mindless horde.
Nowhere in the Constitution is there anything that gives the federal government the right to set standards for the education of our children. We never had a federal Secretary of Education until sometime in the 1970s. It hasn't improved our education either. Nowhere does the Constitution give the right to the federal government to interfere with how much any employer should pay any employee, or legislate any minimum wage for anyone.
Nowhere in the Constitution does the federal government have a right to say who can or cannot marry whoever. Nowhere does the Constitution give the federal government the right to favor certain works of art over others, with grants from the National Endowment of the Arts. In medieval days kings may have promoted their favorites, but today, in America, that is despicable. Nowhere does the Constitution give the right to the federal government to set the standards and control our health care.
Our founding fathers understood the necessity of keeping a central government out of what we consider our personal affairs. These questions may be dealt with by the various state governments, but not the feds. The shocking fact today is how many of us accept federal control of these matters as though it was the natural thing to do. That's not how we got to be the greatest nation in the world.
The failure to put legal principles above personal prejudices appears to be a common characteristic of some Supreme Court Justices, who often make decisions on what is constitutional by the needs of their personal sense of justice. That's why politicians fight so intensely to get their own people on the Supreme Court.
Slowly we are inch by inch being lowered into a quaqmire under control of the power seekers. Must we accept rule by a legislature that exempts itself from the laws it passes to control the rest of us, sets its own salary, and retirement benefits, which are beyond anything remotely available to any citizen, and as testament to its lush, royal, prestige passes name recognition down from father to son in king-like fashion so that we are slowly developing a ruling class.
It would seem to me that if a politician takes an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution and then approves of laws in violation of that oath, someone ought to consider him for impeachment. Congressmen learn quickly that "One hand washes the other."
We enter this age of "who cares" at our own risk. We are conditioned to truth stretching by commercial enterprises all saying they are the best, promising to make our lives beautiful for a few pennies, offering us a $75 value for only $19.95, and comics poking fun at the efforts of good people.
Why should I care? The sorry truth is: Things do matter. Life in America has been relatively so good that we have grown careless in our behavior, and in the way we allow the media to influence our children. It is true, we can do anything we want, but we cannot escape the consequences of the choices we make. We are fast approaching the fork in the road of no return. I hope we get it right. May God bless America.
Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org