"As I look at America today, I am not afraid to say that I am afraid."-- Former Presidential Advisor Bertram Gross
A citizenry can only hold its government accountable if it knows when the government oversteps its bounds.
Unfortunately, the American governmental scheme is sliding ever closer towards a pervasive authoritarianism precisely because Americans are clueless about their rights--because Americans have been brainwashed into believing that their only duty as citizens is to vote--because the citizenry has failed to hold government officials accountable to abiding by the Constitution--and because young people are no longer being taught the fundamentals of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, resulting in citizens who don't even know they have rights.
This steady slide towards tyranny, meted out by militarized local and federal police and legalistic bureaucrats, has been carried forward by each successive president over the past fifty years regardless of their political affiliation.
Big government has grown bigger and the rights of the citizenry have grown smaller.
However, there are certain principles--principles that every American should know--which undergird the American system of government and form the basis for the freedoms our forefathers fought and died for.
The following seven principles are a good starting point for understanding what free government is really all about.
First, the maxim that power corrupts is an absolute truth. Those who drafted the Constitution held one principle sacrosanct: a distrust of all who hold governmental power. As Thomas Jefferson warned, "Let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
The second principle is that governments primarily exist to secure rights, an idea that is central to constitutionalism. The purpose of constitutionalism is to limit governmental power and ensure that the government performs its basic function: to preserve and protect our rights, especially our unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and our civil liberties. Unfortunately, the government today has discarded this principle and now sees itself as our master, not our servant.
The third principle revolves around the belief that no one is above the law, not even those who make the law. This is termed rule of law. If all people possess equal rights, the people who live under the laws must be allowed to participate in making those laws. By that same token, those who make the laws must live under the laws they make.
Fourth, separation of powers ensures that no single authority is entrusted with all the powers of government. It is for this reason that the government is divided into three co-equal branches: legislative, executive and judicial. Placing all three powers in the same branch of government was considered the very definition of tyranny by the Framers.
Fifth, a system of checks and balances, essential if a constitutional government is to succeed, strengthens the separation of powers and prevents legislative despotism. The Framers feared that Congress could abuse its powers and potentially emerge as the tyrannous branch because it had the power to tax. But they did not anticipate the emergence of presidential powers as they have come to dominate modern government or the inordinate influence of corporate powers on governmental decision-making.
Sixth, representation allows the people to have a voice in government by sending elected representatives to do their bidding while avoiding the need of each and every citizen to vote on every issue considered by government. If the people don't agree with how their representatives are conducting themselves, they can and should vote them out.
Finally, federalism is yet another constitutional device to limit the power of government by dividing power and, thus, preventing tyranny. Because local and particular interests differ from place to place, such interests are better handled at a more intimate level by local governments, not a bureaucratic national government. Unfortunately, we are now governed by top-heavy government emanating from Washington DC that has no respect for local institutions or traditions.
These seven vital principles have been largely forgotten in recent years, obscured by the haze of a centralized government, a citizenry that no longer thinks analytically, and schools that don't adequately teach our young people about their history and their rights.
Yet here's the rub: while Americans wander about in their brainwashed states, their "government of the people, by the people and for the people" has largely been taken away from them.
The answer: get un-brainwashed.
Learn your rights.
Stand up for the founding principles.
Make your voice and your vote count for more than just political posturing.
Never cease to vociferously protest the erosion of your freedoms at the local and national level.
Most of all, do these things today.
If we wait until the votes have all been counted or hang our hopes on our particular candidate to win and fix what's wrong with the country, "we the people" will continue to lose.
Whether we ever realize it not, the enemy is not across party lines, as they would have us believe. It has us surrounded on all sides.
Even so, we're not yet defeated.
We could still overcome our oppressors if we cared enough to join forces and launch a militant nonviolent revolution--a people's revolution that starts locally and trickles upwards--but that will take some doing.
It will mean turning our backs on the political jousting contests taking place at all levels of government and rejecting their appointed jesters as false prophets. It will mean not allowing ourselves to be corralled like cattle and branded with political labels that have no meaning anymore. It will mean recognizing that all the evils that surround us today--endless wars, drone strikes, invasive surveillance, militarized police, poverty, asset forfeiture schemes, overcriminalization, etc.--are not of our making but came about as a way to control and profit from us.
It will mean "voting with our feet" through sustained, mass civil disobedience.
As journalist Chris Hedges points out, "There were once radicals in America, people who held fast to moral imperatives. They fought for the oppressed because it was right, not because it was easy or practical. They were willing to accept the state persecution that comes with open defiance. They had the courage of their convictions. They were not afraid."
Ultimately, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it will mean refusing to be divided, one against each other, by politics and instead uniting behind the only distinction that has ever mattered: "we the people" against tyranny.
Follow John W. Whitehead on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rutherford_inst
THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF THE CONSTITUTION
Who Gives the Government Its Power?
“We the people of the United States . . .establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” These words from the Preamble, or introduction, to the Constitution clearly spell out the source of the government’s power: The People.
The American form of government emphasizes freedom, democracy, and the importance of the individual. The Constitution rests on the idea of popular sovereignty--a government in which the people rule. As the nation changed and grew, popular sovereignty took on new meaning. A broader range of Americans shared in the power to govern themselves.
How Are People’s Views Represented in Government?
The Framers of the Constitution (the people who created the constitution) wanted the people to have a voice in government. Yet the Framers also feared that public opinion might stand in the way of sound decision making. To solve this problem, they looked to republicanism as a model of government. In Republicanism, the people exercise their power by voting for their political representatives.
According to the Framers, these chosen lawmakers played the key role in making a republican government work. An important part of Republicanism is the idea that citizens stay informed about politics and participate in the process by voting.
How Is Power Shared?
The Framers wanted the states and the nation to become partners in governing. To build cooperation, the Framers turned to federalism. Federalism is a system of government in which power is divided between a central government and smaller political units, such as states.
In the early years of the United States, federalism was closely related to dual sovereignty, the idea that the powers of the federal government and the states were clearly defined, and each had exclusive power over their own spheres with little overlap. This view of federalism led to states’ rights conflicts, which were contributing factors in the Civil War. The Framers used federalism to structure the Constitution. The Constitution assigns certain powers to the national government. These are delegated powers. Powers kept by the states are reserved powers. An example of this would be that the national government set the minimum voting age for every state, and the states set the minimum driving age in their own state
How Is Power Divided?
The Framers were concerned that too much power might fall into the hands of a single group. To avoid this problem, they built the idea of separation of powers into the Constitution. This Separation of Powers means the division of basic government roles into branches. No one branch is given all the power. Articles 1, 2, and 3 of the Constitution detail how powers are split among the three branches.
How Is Power Evenly Distributed?
Baron de Montesquieu, an 18th-century French thinker, wrote, “Power should be a check to power.” His comment refers to the principle of checks and balances. In the principle of Checks and Balances each branch of government can exercise checks, or controls, over the other branches. Though the branches of government are separate, they rely on one another to perform the work of government.
The Framers included a system of checks and balances in the Constitution to help make sure that the branches work together fairly. For example, only Congress can pass laws. Yet the president can check this power by refusing to sign a law into action. In turn, the Supreme Court can declare that a law, passed by Congress and signed by the president, violates the Constitution.
How Is Abuse of Power Prevented?
The Framers restricted the power of government. This is known as the principle of Limited Government. Article 1, Section 9, of the Constitution lists the powers denied to the Congress. Article 1, Section 10, forbids the states to take certain actions. The principle of limited government is also closely related to the “rule of law”: In the American government everyone, citizens and powerful leaders alike, must obey the law. Individuals or groups cannot twist or bypass the law to serve their own interests.
How Are Personal Freedoms Protected?
The first ten amendments to the Constitution shield people from an overly powerful government. These amendments are called the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights guarantees certain individual rights, or personal liberties and privileges. For example, government cannot control what people write or say. People also have the right to meet peacefully and to ask the government to correct a problem. Later amendments to the Constitution also advanced the cause of individual rights.
Complete the following for each of the Seven Principles.
1. Describe what each principle means.
2. Give an example of how each principle works.
EQ: Why are the Seven Principles of the U.S. Constitution an effective way to guard against tyranny?
SEVEN PRINCIPLES RAP BY WILL RUPERT - DOWELL
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The 7 Principles keeps the Gov in Check
The 7 Principles all geared to protect
The 7 Principles was the resolution
The 7 Principles of the Constitution
Popular Sovereignty means the People Rule.
It starts from the jump with “We the People“.
You wanna Rock my Vote you better represent
Cause you can only govern with the Peoples consent
Republicanism is how we elect.
Officials carry out our Will, our vote keeps them in Check.
The people pick their Reps whether rich or poor.
It’s all laid out in Article 4 Section 4
Federalism says dividing Power is great
It’s power divided between the Nation and States
It gives the National Gov the power to Govern effectively
While reserving certain Powers to State Supremacy
Separation of Powers divides the power equally.
Between the 3 branches of Government in Articles 1, 2, and 3.
Each branches Power is specifically assigned
To Keep the Leg, Exec, and Judicial all in line
Checks and Balances give each branch the power to Check
On all the other branches so there’s no chance they wreck.
This power to check is laid out specifically
They’re told just how to do it in Articles 1, 2, and 3
Limited Government tells the Gov what it can and can’t do.
It’s designed to protect the rights of me and you.
It limits Gov Authority in the best interest of all
Assures Nobody in America is above the Law
Individual Rights is how we all have a role.
Protects our precious freedoms from Government control.
Freedom of Speech and Religion were worth the fight.
So they laid them out in the Bill of Rights.