I'm just sayin' - Why should we even bother with the U.S. Constitution?The United States Constitution was designed, written, and put into practice as the means of governing our new country. Our country, by its Constitution, was meant to be a “republic.” Most people have the misconception that we are a democratic government.
By: DuWayne Paul, Columnist, Alexandria Echo Press
The United States Constitution was designed, written, and put into practice as the means of governing our new country. Our country, by its Constitution, was meant to be a “republic.” Most people have the misconception that we are a democratic government. A “democracy” is the method we use to elect officials and grant them the power to rule, using the U.S. Constitution. It is basically the “majority rule.” A “republic” is a government based on rules and laws set down by those who govern using a set of governing principles (U.S. Constitution). If we do not live by being a republic and try to live by being a democracy, then every part of our lives could be ruled by 50.1 percent of the voters. Imagine the chaos of a country that had to live by all rules and regulations voted on, and 49.9 percent of the voters are not in favor of whatever has been legislated. It would soon turn into anarchy and totalitarian rule. Thus, we have the best of both. We elect leaders based on a majority, and they are held to enforcing the Constitution and any laws that have been passed by the Congress and signed by the executive branch.
However, there is a system of circumventing the U.S. Constitution; it is called an “executive order.” An executive order can be issued by any executive in government and was initially intended to be used as a method of easily interpreting or executing laws passed by the federal government. U.S. presidents have used executive orders since 1789. There is no Constitutional reference to “executive order,” and it is loosely tied to references in the Constitution of “executive power” and “taking care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Thus, this loosely interpreted part of the Constitution has led to abuse by presidents ever since 1789. The most noted abuses (ones that were challenged all the way to the Supreme Court) were by FDR and Harry Truman. You can view a complete listing of all executive orders by accessing the Federal Register online and searching for “Executive Orders.” All presidents, whether Republican or Democrat, have used this method, and some have egregiously abused it. When an executive order is used to change or override U.S. law based on a president’s personal likes, dislikes or ideology, this system can become dangerous to the republic and to its citizens.
As noted above, all presidents have come under scrutiny for their executive orders, and it is not particularly tied to one party or another. President Obama has issued two recent executive orders that are directly intended to bypass Congress and laws that have been passed. One is the executive order related to allowing illegal aliens between the ages of 16 and 30 to stay in the country without penalty if they have not broken any laws or are attending school and came here as a child with their parents (illegally). This seems rational but is in direct violation of current immigration laws. Another is the recent order to redefine the “work rules” from the welfare reform legislation passed under the Clinton administration; again in direct violation of current welfare law.
If the president does not like nor believe in the laws of the republic, then he should initiate legislation to change them. However, that might be too much to ask from a Democrat president who can’t even get a budget through the Democrat-controlled Senate. Fortunately, this is a democracy and we can vote to change things.
I’m just sayin’.
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“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
- Thomas Jefferson
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DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.