When we read the Constitution, we focus on the parts of government listed. Article One talks about the Legislative Branch, Article Two about the Executive Branch, etc. But the most important branch of the American government is in the very first line of the Preamble: We the people.
The people are the only arm of the government that holds enough power to actually enter into an agreement such as the Constitution. The people, by entering into that Constitutional agreement, exercise their natural rights to decide the form of government that they consent to be governed by. President Obama and his progressive allies in the federal legislature and courts do not see it this way. They feel that their election is a mandate to control those who elect them to office. They don’t see the cognitive dissonance of an electorate being powerful enough to vote them in, yet sheepish enough to be ruled under tyranny.
They do understand the power of the vote, and that is why progressives actively seek to control it. SEIU members servicing voting machines, New Black Panthers in para-military garb acting as poll-watchers, and the never-ending recounts with “forgotten” ballots found in storage closets conveniently in Democratic counties, all attest to the Progressive’s need to control the will of the people.
Unfortunately for them, the red, white, and blue Americans have woken up. The patriots that were lulled into the comfort of what America once was have arisen to find our freedom tied to oppressive regulations, and the institutions that were meant to protect our liberty selling us into the creeping slavery of socialism.
We all wish that Congress would stop being selfish and power hungry, but it is human nature for people to want to accumulate more power, even if it means bending the laws. This is not just the means of Progressivism. This is the reality of human nature. Children do this all the time. They push at the boundaries to see what they can get away with. They bend the truth to protect their own interests (not getting in trouble, getting more play time, etc.). When their parents let them get away with it, the children push a little further next time. This behavior is natural.
Even newly elected Conservatives will find Washington D.C. a very accommodating place for compromising away values for a little extra power. It is exceedingly easy to convince people that if they make concessions to gain a little power, they will be in a stronger position to enforce their values without confrontation later. That is an attractive lure for freshmen in congress. We the people must help all politicians remember that compromise is not a weapon in the arsenal for protecting liberty. Liberty is non-negotiable.
We installed a government to protect ourselves from the possible greed and dishonesty of our neighbors. Yet we think that there is no check on the government. We complain and moan and hope that our representatives will act like better people; and when they don’t, we walk away dejected and disillusioned with our system. This notion is incorrect. First of all, we can, did, and will continue to vote people out of office if they misbehave. Second, this government belongs to the people who created it: the American citizens. It is not theirs to run, it is ours. When any one branch crosses the bounds of its power, it is our job to limit that power, and close that avenue to despotism. The American people have a check on every branch of government, and the founders intended it that way.
The Constitution was set up to strictly limit the powers of the government. It also included the freedom to modify the government should the need arise. The bureaucrats in government view this as a power of theirs. They think that they can make the government bigger to suit their desire for more power. We forget that the opposite is true. We can amend our Constitution to further limit our government when it gets out of control. When the government no longer has the interest of preserving our rights in mind, we must restrain and pull back that government so that it follows its strictly laid out purview.
Yesterday was a great start as American citizens began to take back our proper role in governance. But it was only a start. It is our continuing duty to monitor the government and ensure that our elected candidates hold up their constitutionally mandated responsibility. Conservative candidates must keep their promises to limit the size of government and stop the spending. However, those promises are only a fraction of the real work. Our federal legislature is charged with protecting our rights, not our interests. We are in charge of our own happiness, and the federal government serves to ensure that we are able to freely pursue it.
The question is not how big can the government get before it crosses the line into tyranny. The question is how small can the government get while still maintaining our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
We the people are the most powerful force in the United States Government. It is up to us to govern ourselves first and foremost. If we hold our families and communities accountable for good actions ourselves, there is little need for outside governance. Our further responsibility dictates that we ensure the people representing our rights do just that; they must represent our rights and no more.
Too often people walk away when they feel that their voice doesn’t matter. It is in those moments that the people must stand up and force the government to recognize that the voice of the individual American citizen is more important than the whims of government bureaucrats. We often think that our voice is heard only through the ballot box, and even then, it often feels like a whisper amid a thunderous cacophony. Yet, the ballot box is only the beginning. Monitor the legislature’s votes, the judiciary’s opinions, and the unelected expansion of the executive branch. It is the duty of the American citizen to ensure that his own government functions properly. We cannot expect individual rights and limited government if we expect the three branches of government to do that work for us.
**About the Author: Katherine Goldberg is a Texas native who came back to the great state after 18 years away. She knows her history, and loves to talk politics. Her goal is to help others understand their own citizenship and the history of the United States so that we can all better defend this country from the kind of change that is taking us away from our founding principles. She also writes for Sugar Land Magazine. To read more of her writing, visit www.themindfulcitizen.com.