J. Michael Sharman   J. Michael Sharman     
In 1776, an adventurous journey to the political frontier was begun. Never before had a government been formed by the people, of the people, for the people. So unique was it that they felt compelled to state the foundation of their reasoning:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
Due to the courage and the foresight of those men, we now live in a nation which has the ability to be in a constant state of peaceful revolution. We no longer need to wage war to effect change when a form of government becomes destructive to the unalienable rights of the governed: Now we can go to court or we can vote out unresponsive elected officials and put in new officials -- a new government -- in their place.
Thomas Jefferson said, "I own I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive." In 1823 he wrote:
"I believe the States can best govern over home concerns and the General Government over foreign ones. I wish therefore, to see maintained that wholesome distribution of powers established by Constitution for the limitation of both, and never to see all offices transferred to Washington."
The 20th Century transfer of power from the states to the central government has been so complete and so sweeping that Congress has been able to legislate on essentially any exercise of power over local issues without any real restraint until a few judges and governors recently have begun to dust off the Constitution, look at the true limits of congressional authority and say "Enough is enough".
As citizens, we need to strenuously exercise our rights to our freedoms, particularly to those granted to us under the Constitution. That document is what distinguishes us from Bosnia, Haiti, Armenia, Somalia or all the other nations which can accomplish a change in power only through violence and force. We are not a more inherently intelligent, charitable, peaceful or contented people than they are, we have simply inherited the blessings of the checks and balances set in place at the origins of our nation.
The Constitution is a lot like a contract between the shareholders of a corporation and the persons whom the shareholders have chosen to manage the operation of the corporation. The contract between the manager and the shareholders merely tries to clarify the amount of power given up or retained by the shareholders.
Similarly, our Constitution is a document designed to show our managers -- our Government -- the range of power we have allowed them to use. Just like stockholders, we as citizens need to be paying constant attention to the activities of our "managers". However, the problem which seems to be occurring more frequently is that our hired managers have somehow gotten the mistaken idea that they do in fact have the power to regulate our lives beyond the bounds allowed them by the Constitution.     

J. Michael Sharman

More from J. Michael Sharman

July Issue   ·   Archives   ·   Our Writers   ·   Subscriptions   ·   Site Map   ·   Contact Us   ·   Links