Constitution Day, Sept. 17, 2010
For immediate release (600 words)
I was trying to explain constitutional Rule of Law to a reporter during my first political campaign in 1996 when the fellow raised an eyebrow in a gesture of cynicism and said I’d be another “perennial candidate.” Since that was just the first of many times I’d be so labeled, I didn’t understand the term to be journalistic shorthand for “loser.”
So I replied, “What; like Richard Lugar?”
“You’re no Richard Lugar,” the reporter muttered over his shoulder.
That’s true. I was 38 years old when I first ran for public office. Lugar had already been a politician for six years by that age. He was Indy’s mayor by age 35. He’d been in the U.S. Senate since 1976, and voters will almost surely send him back in 2012.
Eternal politicians like Lugar, free of any contentious ideology or principles so voters can imagine whatever they like about them, are safely ensconced as political idols.
So, I am certainly no Richard Lugar. But then, Richard Lugar is no Richard Lugar. He is us. For elections have nothing to do with candidates. Our politicians, love ‘em or hate ‘em, perfectly represent who “We the People” really are.
For the past 100 years over 95 percent of voters have chosen ever-more politics, more corruption, more war, more spending, more debt. Even now, under an anti-incumbent storm cloud, we still vote almost exclusively for the same central banksters, same legal abominations, and of course the same political parties.
Oh, we may switch from Hatfield to McCoy, then from McCoy back to Hatfield. It is particularly clear now, however, with the “opposition” party, the Republicans, hedging on even their temporary tax cuts, and after having made a real mess of each of their turns at power, that party loyalties belie the real choices we’ve made.
As we sacrifice our legal liberties for “freedom,” give up our wealth for “security,” maintain borders everywhere in the world except here, seize homes to pay for homelessness programs, and wage endless war for “peace,” the political Cassandras among us are ignored while those who’ve never been right keep doing what they’ve already done.
Paracelsus, the renaissance scientist and physician, said that dose makes a remedy — or a poison. We’ve swallowed too much politics so I’d like to offer a carefully measured dose of the antidote, the Constitution of the United States of America.
All federal authority is clearly written in Article I, Section 8; Article II, Sections 2-4; and Article III of the Constitution. There is no other federal authority. All other powers are denied at least by the one short sentence called Amendment 10. You could read it all in just a few minutes.
There. That’s it. Even the entire Constitution with all amendments is shorter and immeasurably simpler than the one section of the so-called Patriot Act that delineates “enhanced surveillance procedures.”
It’s your choice. You could read all of it on your lunch hour. It boils down to a single question: Do you want to govern government so that as long as you don’t harm anybody else or take what’s not yours, you can keep what you earn, and live how you’d like to live — or not?
The words of the Constitution are simple enough to understand, few enough to remember and important enough that you shouldn’t ever walk into a voting booth again until you’ve read them for yourself.
For politicians in this country don’t just promise to obey a flag, they swear an oath to the Constitution. It’s our choice, however, whether that oath means anything — or not. And it’s our choice whether our votes will reflect perennial idols and failure, or the best social contract yet devised.
Andrew Horning, the Libertarian candidate for governor in 2008, was an organizer of the first property-tax protests. He wrote this for the Indiana Policy Review Foundation.