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Do We Have to Follow the Constitution? (in progress)

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

Short Answer: Yes, it's the law. Long Answer (short version): It depends on who you ask.

My Answer: It's important in being rigid to remain flexible. We can't be purely mechanical or we will fail. Yet, we cannot be in a free-for-all or we will fail. Our nation's Constitution addresses these concerns beautifully. It is at times mechanically ridged. In other places, it is almost infinitely flexible. Before we ask simply, do we have to follow it, we may want to address the scope and purpose of the section or phrase we are asking about. To any everyday citizen asking if they need to follow it, I might suggest that it simply doesn't apply to you, and there is little to nothing for you to follow or not. Let's keep in mind that it is primarily our government that must follow the Constitution. "We the People" are the ones that wrote the Constitution for the government to follow. The Constitution is here to protect us, from our own government. So if I had to give one answer to any government official who asked if they had to follow the Constitution: Yes, to the very letter!

How can a president faithfully execute the nations laws and support and defend the Constitution that might not be faithfully followed by decades of excessive government growth, war, and spending? Can I just chop 80% of the government to the ground in the first 100 days of my presidency? Well, interesting, I have a tree-pruning rule of thumb. Trim no more than 1/3 of the tree in a given year. I like the tree pruning rule. It allows for rapid reshaping, but with limits. Additionally, there are times and seasons that dictate the time for trimming. Depending on the limbs and branches of government to be trimmed, there may need to be societal structures that are addressed prior to trimming.

What about something that is clearly not in the Constitution but that people have come to expect as a normal part of government? Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the US Department of Education, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Import-Export Bank, Food and Drug Administration, United States Department of Agriculture, Minority Business Development Agency, Middle East Broadcasting Networks, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Manufactured Homes, not to mention HUD itself, or the Transportation Security Administration? We can list another 1,000 Offices, Divisions, Units, Sections, Branches, Directorates, Boards, Authorities, Administrations, Services, Committees, Task Forces, Councils, Groups, Teams, Subcommittees, Panels, Bodies, Consortia, Institutions, Centers, Operations, Agencies, Bureaus, Departments, Commissions, to more fully get the idea of the vastness of the overreach of the US federal administrative bureaucracy. Time and space will not allow us to list it all. What of these things?

Any one of them that are proposed to be cut, elicits cries from some sector of our great people. "Don't cut that," they cry! "That is a good part of government. Cut something else."

I think the only fair way to cut government is to cut things that our Constitution does not empower our government to do. I'm a fair guy, and this is a fair plan.

If our Constitution clearly stated: There shall be a Minority Business Development Agency created by Congress, then I would be the last person to try to cut it. But the Constitution doesn't mention the Commerce Department, much less the MBDA it oversees.

But some people may argue, "Let's not just cut. These are normalized parts of our government. They provide valued to our society. The Constitution was written long before the need for any of these departments, agencies, bureaus, etc. were even conceived."

As we approach an impasse, a crisis, of what our government rigidly should and rigidly shouldn't do, we can all look to the Constitution for a solution. One of the beautiful things it does is offer flexibility on what it's rigid about. We can amend it. With as little as a few sentences, we can change our government do anything we want. We could, for example, outlaw alcohol a second time. Wouldn't that be crazy if we had to relearn that painful lesson?

So here's my plan of fairness: balance justice and mercy. A just resolution is an immediate cessation of anything unconstitutional. A more merciful resolution is to allow people time to make an amendment that permits certain government activities.

I propose the following outline of trimming the government along constitutional lines:

  • If it's not in the Constitution, then it has to go.

  • There are some of these parts of government that some, or many, people will want to keep. For those things, a body must be formed to craft an amendment that, if passed, would grant one or more branches of government to engage in that activity.

If an amendment cannot be written, then it cannot stay. If no one cares enough to write an amendment, then clearly no one cares enough to have the government engage in that activity.

But the amendment process is lengthy and can take years or decades to be ratified. What then? Like I said, I'm fair. If there was continuous, sustained progress on an amendment, and it appeared that it had a chance of passage, then it would be stayed from the cut list. However, if passaged flagged for some period of time, then the situation would change. The people must decide. If the people decided that they didn't want their government to have a certain power, then the government must not exercise that power.

In summary, we have a plan of fairness. But all sides must be genuine in their willingness to shape our government on constitutional lines. When those lines are blurred, then our government cannot be easily governed. When the people want the government to have a power, then the people must agree that it is to be so. If the people cannot agree, then it shall not be so. The plan for the shape of our government is already contained in the Constitution. As president, I will take pruning shears to limbs and leaves remaining outside that shape. I will trim the most cancerous growth first.

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