By Elizabeth Ames Jones, Texas Railroad Commissioner
According to Former British Prime Minister, Dame Margaret Thatcher, “Europe will never be like America. Europe is a product of history; America is a product of philosophy.” Thatcher was right. She recognized that America’s strength is our philosophy, a word defined by Webster’s as “a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.”
Self-responsibility and decentralized government were among the principles upon which our founding fathers relied, and even today, we should rely upon them to give guidance in the “practical affairs” of the American experiment in representative self-government. The Constitution of the United States and its Bill of Rights are the expression of that very philosophy from which America sprung.
The Constitution is our national compass, drafted by mortal men at risk to their and their families’ lives. It was created, as Henry Clay said in 1850, “not merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity – unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual posterity.”
The world watched in early 2010 as the President and his Democratic-controlled Congress passed laws that are the very antithesis of our founding fathers’ philosophy of self-responsibility and decentralization. Using legislative rule contortions by both Houses of Congress, HR 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, is a complete paradigm shift in how our government should function. The alarming stimulus bill entitled the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” that was passed in 2009 foreshadowed what was to come.
These bills codify a philosophy that flies in the face of limited government. They were simply the enactment of the pent-up wish list of those who have long assumed that the solutions to all their problems could be found in Washington D.C. In reality, such policies perpetuate dependence on bureaucrats at the expense of our individual liberties. The mid-term elections in 2010 were a resounding defeat for the Democratic House of Representatives. Americans pushed back mightily and sent a strong message. They will not be servants to government. The people are not finished expressing themselves.
We must accept that the conditions that brought America to this point didn’t happen overnight. The philosophy that embraces the notion that the federal government knows best – and does things better – has been struggling for dominance since FDR’s New Deal of the 1930’s. Congresses have passed laws with impunity for decades and have trampled on rights clearly reserved for the states and the people, in direct conflict with the 10th Amendment, which says that “The Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
An embarrassingly anemic percentage of registered American voters have elected people to office who are unwilling, unprepared or unequipped to stop the progressing transfer of power from the people to the federal government. Sadly, President Obama continues to advance that transfer of power any which way he can, legislatively or through federal agency rulemaking.
ObamaCare, mandating every American purchase an insurance plan deemed appropriate by Washington, leaves no vestiges of the federal system envisioned by our founding fathers. Yet the passing of it was hailed as a “victory” by the progressive elite. The financial so-called “reform” legislation, authored by Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, does nothing to curb some of the worst offenses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It will drive up compliance costs of community banks and other financial institutions that will be passed on to consumers. It will not make the average American more “financially” secure and may make us less secure. These and a myriad of other enacted policies such as roadblocks to drilling on private and public lands to support an allegedly endangered lizard’s habitat, are claimed as victories for the people by the President and his Democratic leadership. But they are pyrrhic victories! In the words of King Pyrrhus of Epirus after defeating the Romans in 280 BC, but incurring devastating losses among his own army, “One more such victory will be our undoing.”
Our children and grandchildren will be locked into indentured servitude to pay for each of President Obama’s victories. How many more victories like this can the foundations upon which our country was built withstand? They will be our undoing if not stopped.
The culture of our country is at a crossroads. It is not just about the trillions of dollars in debt we are passing on to our children and theirs. It is about the system of government of the United States of America and whether the persons we elect are willing to fight to protect our country.
But, will “we the people” do our part, too?
Thankfully there is a great awakening going on, and it’s about time. We must reclaim that which America’s ally, Margaret Thatcher, recognized; our uniquely American strength that emanates from the philosophy of our founders. Lest we choose to become more like Europe, it’s time to change constructively the course on which our nation is headed by assuming our responsibilities as citizens.
As Calvin Coolidge proclaimed, “To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”
We must reclaim the virtues of limited government and self-determination. On November 6, 2012, and every election day, let us celebrate the greatest political privilege ever accorded the human race by reclaiming the rights and responsibilities of the states and of the people. Vote to live under the Constitution of the United States of America.