Thursday, November 12, 2009

Constitution in Crisis: Retaking Congress Our Only Peaceful Recourse?

Though I’ve covered this subject in previous posts, the issue is sufficiently troubling to warrant further discussion.

Despite Rep. Shadegg’s desperate introduction of HR 450 (Enumerated Powers Act) which, if passed, would require that each law cite specific Constitutional authority prior to passage, Congress continues to cavalierly and dismissively give short shrift to the Constitution. In fact, utterly ignoring the Constitution has become epidemic and, for the most part, institutionalized in Washington.

Illustrating this disturbing truth is the fact that not one healthcare bill being considered by Congress contains a single reference to the Constitution. At least I haven’t found any such cite. In fact, for government healthcare advocates and apologists, not even the “commerce clause” or the signature misguided allusion to “general welfare” to justify such draconian federal overreaching appears in any of the healthcare bills.

Further illustrating the Democrats’ scorn for the Constitution, when a reporter recently had the temerity to ask if the bills were constitutional, the vile “San Fran Nan”, aka the new Queen of Mean, contemptibly shot back “Are you serious? Are you serious?” One might ask if her disdain was directed at the questioner, or at the Constitution itself. To my way of thinking, it was clearly both.

Then there is this infamous quote attributed to Sen. Jay Rockefeller: “I don’t really give a hoot about states’ rights or federal rights. I care about results.” And it is precisely those results about which we should all be fearful. I could go on, but my real point here is that unless politicians on both sides of the aisle fully live up to their oath of office, our country is going down the tubes, and fast.

The “individual mandate”, the centerpiece of the Dems’ healthcare overhaul, immediately jumps out as the fundamental and overarching challenge to the Constitution. Everything in the Senate and House bills flow from the imposition of the “individual mandate”. And any American who fails to participate would be punished with heavy fines and from 1-5 years of imprisonment! This gross Constitutional violation should leave us all breathlessly incredulous and, yes, acutely upset.

Clearly, the polarization, division, tumult and fear the Progressive legislative blitzkrieg in Congress has perpetrated over the past nine months is fast reaching a climax, a breaking point, for the American people. Something has to give, and, in the end, I don’t think it’s going to be the people and the states who will yield to this federal coercion.

To wit, anticipating passage of an unconstitutional healthcare package, already 11 states (AZ, FL, IN, MN, ND, NM, MI, OH, PA,WV, WY) have filed or pre-filed state constitutional amendments which would empower individual choice in matters of healthcare and coverage. Reportedly, the legislation also renders it unconstitutional to penalize anyone who chooses to purchase healthcare or healthcare insurance outside government-run programs. Seven other states (AK, GA, LA, MS, MO, NH, UT) have announced their intention to follow suit.

Also, asserting that the Progressive healthcare legislation violates six Constitutional amendments including free speech and protections against illegal search and seizure, Constitutional attorneys around the country are gearing up to challenge the legislation before the U.S. Supreme Court. Specifically troubling these constitutional attorneys are the following items: 1) compelling senior citizens to discuss end-of-life matters infringes upon the 1st Amendment; 2) allowing the seizure of money and records without due process violates the 4th and 5th Amendments; 3) imposing mandatory health insurance violates the 9th and 10th Amendments; 4) discriminating between residents of different states and against those who are not union members violates the 14th Amendment; and 5) imposing a national insurance plan, a form of social engineering thus not a legitimate revenue-raising purpose of taxation, violates the 16th Amendment. A dizzying number of legitimate Constitutional grounds for challenge.

In stark contrast, the currently moribund GOP counter-proposal abridges no individual freedoms or violates separation of powers or any amendments. Among other helpful provisions in the GOP proposal: 1) medical liability reform by capping non-economic damages at $250,000; 2) aggressive fraud reduction; 3) tax credits to help individuals buy private insurance; 3) allowing families and individuals to purchase insurance across state lines; 4) allowing children thru the age of 25 to remain on their parents’ insurance plan; 5) strengthening health savings and flexible spending accounts; 6) creating a high-risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions; 7) bonuses to states for reducing the number of uninsured; 8) establishment of rules for governing association health plans for businesses; 9) allowing Medicaid eligible persons to use the value of their benefits to purchase private insurance. Without any Constitutional violations, this proposal is clearly a responsible first step to achieving common sense reform which will reduce costs while ensuring accessibility to affordable quality helathcare—without adding to the deficit and at a tenth of the cost being proposed under the Progressive-Socialist plan.

Without question, the Democrats have clearly demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that they cannot be trusted to uphold their oath to defend the Constitution or to protect those liberties enshrined in our Constitution. For them, it’s a no holds barred battle to achieve Obama’s goal of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” as rapidly as possible while they still have their hands on all the levers of power.

So, what recourse do we have to remedy this transformational federal overreaching? As indicated in a previous post, moral suasion (which is clearly not working at all), nullification (which is already underway), widespread civil disobedience (which is now much more than a remote possibility if we are willing to stick together), more “Tea Party” marches on Washington (which, to date, have been essentially ignored), secession (which I hope can be avoided), open rebellion (again, not at all outside the realm of possibility anymore), or Article V constitutional convention (which, on balance, could be a perilously self-defeating course to take with so many Progressives infecting the system), or something less dramatic, like repealing the law after the 2010 elections? And while we're at it, let us, at long last, pass HR 450 as well!

For the repeal solution to be viable, it seems to me that a resurgent GOP more rigidly grounded in conservative and America-First principles—a worthy aspiration which the GOP machine may not yet be up to at this juncture--must handily win both chambers of Congress in November. Then, this new and uncompromisingly American majority, who may actually represent “we the people” for a change, must be philosophically and politically committed to immediately REPEALING in tota the Progressive healthcare behemoth before it is fully implemented in 2013-2014. This new American majority can then pass a more common sense and thoroughly CONSTITUTIONAL reform package which the President, always the calculating community organizer and quintessential politician, might very well be reluctant to veto.

To restore sanity in Washington, we all need to roll up our sleeves and do all we can to replace party-first hacks and socialist elitists with "citizen representatives". And this time, no compromising on principle. "We the People" either take our country back, or by our inaction or silence be complicit in writing the Republic's epitaph.