Let’s Make 2020 the Year of the Constitution
by Andy Joppa
As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.
When Byron Donalds was running for the House seat from the 19th Florida Congressional District in 2012, I interviewed him in front of a large group at the Naples VFW. I represented The Council for Constitutional Principles. Our intent was to determine Mr. Donalds knowledge of, and fidelity to, The Constitution. I did not know him before this process and had no expectations as to the results.
Before the interview I was neutral toward all the candidates and, for over an hour, “hit” Byron with constitutional questions that not one person in 10,000 could have handled as adroitly as did Donalds. I left that process as his strong supporter. His love of the Constitution and nuanced awareness of its purpose was enough to give me confidence in the outstanding potentials that he represented. He, unfortunately, did not win that election. However, over the following years, there has never been a moment when he didn’t fulfill that potential. Not only has he walked the walk and talked the talk…he has acted for its fulfillment.
I will once again, in 2020, proudly support the congressional candidacy of Byron Donalds. Naples could never have a better aspirant for national office than this fine, dedicated, man. While the 19th is fortunate to have many outstanding candidates, Byron remains my choice as derived from his unwavering commitment to our founding charter. Sending Mr. Donalds to Washington would be a giant step forward in restoring The Constitution to its rightful place of preeminence. He is the right man at the right time.
Today, because so many millions of Americans finally realize that something is seriously wrong with the way the government is handling our affairs, and people ask me, “Do you think there is still time to turn it around?” When I ask, “Still time before what?”…they usually reply, “Before total disaster overtakes us!” For those who wonder about such things, the answer is, “Yes, there is still time, but not much.” President Trump has done all that he could in in his first term in office and, god willing, will be reelected. However, America cannot remain so fragile that its very existence depends on a specific person being elected. It needs the permanent stability that can only be offered by The Constitution.
The questions are: “What can we do to have America once again become dominated by the profound wisdom of our founding charter? What can be done to escape from the constant chaos being contrived by the Democrat Left? What can be done to ensure that the election booth will not create an entirely new direction for our nation…one never intended by our founders?
The only answer, “Elect a President and a majority in Congress who still believe in the Constitution and will fight to return America to her original moorings.”
While this doesn’t give me a high level of optimism, it is still the only approach that offers the slightest potential of national recovery. But, how can you tell when a candidate for political office is really a Constitutionalist? How can we tell if we have another Byron Donalds? How could we possibly understand the greatness that would emerge in a president such as Donald Trump?
And…make no mistake about President Trump…he has done everything he could to stay tightly constrained by The Constitution of our country. He has been absurdly attacked as as a “dictator,” when all he was doing was insisting on the fulfillment of his constitutional requirements. When the Left says they want The Constitution to be a living document, what they really want is for this charter to be dead. President Trump has refused to play this dangerous game.
Going forward how can we determine is a person is truly dedicated to the Constitution? If the candidate is already in office, he or she will have a voting record which might show whether they are a Constitutionalist. However, if the candidate is a newcomer to politics you will have to test their knowledge of Constitutional principles by asking a few questions.
What Kind of Questions Might Be Asked?
I will list ten, of the many questions and answers, which might be addressed to a candidate, or any politician or federal official, in order to determine if they stand for those basic principles advocated by the Founding Fathers (I have a hundred). No American should run for public office, or serve, until they have proven their awareness of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers. After all, they have sworn, or will swear to, “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I (they) will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” How can they, “Bear true faith and allegiance,” when they scarcely have any real idea as to its intent or its value?
I would suggest that Leftists like Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler and AOC have but scant awareness of the Constitution’s provisions and see it primarily as a barrier to their nefarious schemes. They invoke The Constitution in name only as they understand that the majority of the American people still revere this document and are always influenced when it is invoked. What the Left has done, however, is to hollow it out, leaving but a shell of its former reality, while filling the vacuum with absurdities having nothing to do with the founder’s intent.
Men such as Barack Obama are described as Constitutional Lawyers. This categorization generally involves only one intent…finding mechanisms where ideologues can use or create case law that enables a political philosophy to bypass the actual purpose of The Constitution. We have witnessed this a countless number of times, as Leftist supreme court decisions have been created by torturing words in this document to have them say what their ideology needed. That is what Constitutional Case Law is about…creating decisions that displace the original document with directions never originally intended.
1. Under the Constitution, who has the sovereign authority to govern?
The founders said it is in the people. No branch or agency of the government should be allowed to operate in violation of the expressed will of the people. Their collective will is set forth in the Constitution and the laws passed, within its authority, by the people’s representative; a mob cannot act to bypass it.
2. What is an inalienable right?
An inalienable right is one which cannot be violated. It is a right that can’t be taken away or even surrendered voluntarily by a citizen. Nothing can be a “right” that requires the actions of others. For example…free speech is an inalienable right since it exists without action being taken and can only be taken away…not given. Health care is not a “right” (albeit important) since it requires the actions of others.
3. Give an example of an inalienable right which is essential to the pursuit of happiness.
The Founders believed, for example, that human happiness requires that each of us enjoy the right to acquire, develop and dispose of property. They believed that without the protection of property rights, all other rights are placed in serious jeopardy. This particular point cannot be overstated.
4. What is the purpose of government?
The Founders said the basic reason for creating a government is to protect the inalienable rights of the people. The government is to provide “liberty under law,” which means that no law should be passed unless it is specifically designed to protect the freedom, liberty. and well-being of the people.
5. Is it a mistake to call the United States a democracy?
Yes. The only part of the American system which is borrowed from “democracy” is the popular election of government officials. Except for this, the Founders strongly emphasized the republican aspects of the American system. A republic places the responsibility for sound government and decision-making on the people’s elected representative, and binding laws, rather than allowing the fluctuating and superficial emotions of the people to override law and order or the rights of minorities or minority viewpoints. The classic example of government functioning on republican principles and prevailing over “pure democracy” would be the case of a sheriff protecting a prisoner against a lynch mob.
6. Why is separation of power safer than concentration of power?
Government is “force,” which Washington compared to “fire” and said government is a “dangerous servant” and a “fearful master.” Power should be dispersed among the people where they can keep it under control. This is one of the essential benefits of the electoral college.
7. Then why do we have such a complicated and expensive government today?
The professional politicians learned that in a war, depression, or a crisis, the people will endure higher taxes and a far greater concentration of authority on the higher levels of government. Certain politicians therefore set out to exploit every emergency (or create them) as an excuse for the acquiring of more power. During most of the twentieth century ambitious politicians trumpeted the message that the government can solve practically all problems better than the people. Today, as a result, Americans are being literally “programmed” to death–and taxes have skyrocketed. The supreme court has been complicit in this expansion as they tendered ridicules rulings in the commerce clause and general welfare clause.
8. Is the consolidation of government functions the trend today?
Yes. Consolidation of power is gravitating toward Washington at a pace which would have greatly alarmed the Founders.
9. What has caused this?
Beginning around 1900 certain wealthy influential groups lost confidence in the original American system and began propagandizing the people into believing that a “redistribution of the wealth” by the government would greatly improve the American lifestyle. This theory of economics with its concentration of political power at the center of government is usually referred to as socialism. Samuel Adams vigorously warned against these principles. He said socialism violates equal protection of rights and completely destroys the concept of limited government. In fact, he said the Founders had done everything possible to make these collectivist policies “unconstitutional.”
10. How is the Supreme Court supposed to interpret the Constitution?
The Founders made it very clear that the Supreme Court would be violating its assignment if it substituted its own opinions for that of the Founders. Until recently it has always been an established principle that the Constitution must be interpreted the way the Founders intended it and not according to the whims or caprice of modern justices. It has distorted the Commerce Clause as the means of shattering the restrictive chains of the Constitution and expanding federal jurisdiction into hundreds of areas never intended by the Founders.
While their can be no guarantees that anyone who can answer these questions (and others like them), will actually act in an appropriate constitutional manner, you can rest assured that if they can’t…they won’t. There are no easy answers to America’s problems; problems that will deepen in 2020. But, if we do whatever we can to ensure that the Constitution is reestablished as the “law the governs the government’ we have, at least established, a strong base from which to operate. If we don’t, then all other actions taken will be futile and will matter little in their ability to prevent our rapid decline into national mediocrity…or worse.
Make 2020…the year of The Constitution. Elect Byron Donalds to the House and reelect Donald Trump as president of the United States of America. He is the only one valiantly fighting the battles that are articulated above. Our president needs the support of elected officials like the solid constitutionalist, Byron Donalds.
To conclude this essay let me offer a statement, from 1826, describing for the schools, the implication of the Constitution of The United States of America…these are words that I totally agree with but have little currency within modern America:
“…. On this great plan, or Constitution, the safety and happiness of the United States does mainly depend: all our laws are made by its direction or authority; whoever goes contrary to it injures and betrays his country, injures you, injures me, betrays us all, and is deserving of the heaviest punishment. Whoever, on the contrary, loves and keeps it sacred, is his country’s friend, secures his own safety, and furthers the happiness of all around him. Without this he can neither be a great or a good citizen….”
In 2020 it is difficult to imagine that this comment would be part of the basic educational curriculum within our school system.