Constitution Day, by Andrew Joppa

Constitution Day

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

by Andy Joppa


We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.

Abraham Lincoln


Tomorrow, September 17th is Constitution Day.  It is this date, the day The Constitution was ratified in1787, that represents the actual moment that this great nation came into being.  The Declaration of Independence enabled us, as a sovereign nation, to create the political system of our choosing. What those choices might offer had many different potentials.  It was The Constitution that gave us our form…defined the limited role of government…made the government the servant of the people and, did all that was possible in its design, to enable individual liberty to flourish.


This is the day when Americans should be exalting in their being fortunate enough to live in a country representing mankind’s greatest political/economic achievement. If you believe I’m romanticizing this nation, I’m afraid you’re not aware of what life was like for the average person before our founders changed everything; turning government the master, into government the servant. Let me know how many you see “exalting” tomorrow. I’m afraid there will be very few. The greatness of this nation is all too often lost to the blindness of the “modern” eye.


From September 17, 1787 forward, that document was our guide and, in fact, served as a light for the entire world to emulate. On that date, not only was America born…but it was also the moment that marked the creation of the modern world; a world in which all people became equal under the law… a world in which each person was a “king.”  While not all the world has been willing or able to replicate what America offered, it remains as the gold standard of human political and economic accomplishment.  To the extent we, ourselves, have accepted the wisdom of our Constitution we have thrived.  When we have turned our back on its principles, we have paid a terrible price. Almost all of America’s current problems are derivatives of ignoring the requirements…and constraints… of this founding charter.


I am the last surviving director of the Council for Constitutional Principles.  Many of you may have wondered why that name headlined each of my blogs. I have maintained that heading as I consider myself a “Constitutional Conservative.” To say you’re a “Conservative” means little to me, as it creates no meaningful specificity.  To say you are a “Constitutional Conservative” on the other hand, tells me most of what I’d want to know about a person’s political point of view.


It was this organization that created my entrance into the political world of SW Florida. I’m sure many of you remember some of the other directors, all my friends, that have passed. Each of their deaths left huge vacuums in the activities and spirit of this area. The names Tom Macchia, Barry Willoughby and Donavin Baumgartner are all worthy of the highest level of respect from anyone who loves America and those that have fought to preserve her values. These three gentlemen should be on the top of any list. They were all warriors for our nation.

The mission statement of The Council still seems to offer the positions on our Constitution that, I believe, are timeless…timeless, as long as the America we cherish survives.


Council for Constitutional Principles

Mission Statement


We believe that most of America’s current problems are a derivative of not understanding the Constitution or willfully ignoring its impelling and compelling messages.  We hold that our Constitution is, in fact, our country and that our government must be constrained by this document’s legal positions. 

Our intent is to put the Constitution back in charge of America and not yield to our fears and change or destroy this document that has defined us for well over 200 years.

Our success as a nation has been a factor of functioning within The Constitution’s wisdom.  The Council’s mission is to help ensure that our politicians fulfill their oath of office, ” …to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”  There is no other standard that matters.


It is a simple statement.  To the largest extent, that is all it has to be.  The “rub” comes, not in the accuracy of these ideas, but in their fulfillment.


America is in, what must be considered, the latter stage of a Constitutional crisis. This crisis has reached critical mass under the pressure of our current eccentricities and illegalities. Many claim that the original meaning of The Constitution can’t be clearly known. For those who believe that I offer: There were 55 framers…their debates and notes…over 1600 ratifiers…their debates and notes…the writings of Publius (Hamilton, Madison and Jay) within the Federalist and Brutus (Robert Yates) within the Anti-Federalist. In addition, we have a wealth of writings from members of that founding generation. A limited loss of focus can occur over time …but… 99% of the intent of the framers and ratifiers can be understood with great clarity. We have, all too often, intentionally, willfully and illegally, ignored many of its essential requirements.; requirements that were clearly spelled out.  It is only “gray” if the eyes of the reader are blind to its content.


.Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.

Abraham Lincoln


Our Constitution is our protective “shield.”  Those that currently function outside of it, demonstrate no understanding of the benefits of the Constitution’s constraint on government.  Our government, as created within our Constitution, was not supposed to be reinvented; recreated by the ideological eccentricities of present politicians.  Our Constitution is not a base from which immature leaders should practice their “finger painting” skills.  It is a mature platform that understands human behavior and must constrain our more limited modern thinkers.  The dilemmas of current America are a testament to the failure to understand the “shield.” To the largest extent, Donald Trump, more than any other modern president, has maintained his commitment to function within its constraints.


The Constitution is government’s stop sign. It says, you – the three branches of government – can go so far and no farther.

Michele Bachmann


When the walls of that Constitutional shield erode, or are ignored, we become no different than any nation that has failed to design a political system that served their citizens; rather then the citizens serving the system. They failed since they had no concern for behavioral reality. They failed as they didn’t recognize, nor appreciate, the essential characteristics of a free and prosperous people.

Unless we restore The Constitution to its appropriate hegemony…we will continue to weaken and, ultimately, fail. Today’s whims will never replace the essential guidance of our founding charter. The Constitution is not a living document.  It is a binding contract between the American people and their government. On the other side of our Constitution is chaos.  We are not a dictatorship…we are not a mob… we are a Constitutional Republic.


The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.

Benjamin Franklin

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