By Henry Lamb
Think of everything this nation needs, and begin listing them in order of importance. Regardless of how long your list may eventually be, or how different it may be from your neighbors,’ whatever you have listed can be rolled into one gift that supersedes all others in importance. The perfect gift will cost the taxpayer nothing, needs not be gift-wrapped, and will bring immediate benefits to every American.
What is this perfect Christmas gift: restoration of America’s unique, original Republic created in the U.S. Constitution.
This gift comes in three parts: repeal of the 17th Amendment; protection of the Electoral College; and a clear definition of the powers of the federal government enumerated in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
Article 1, Section 3 originally said: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State chosen by the Legislature thereof….”
Nearly half the time of the Constitutional Convention was consumed by this question: would the new government’s legislature consist of representatives of the people, as James Madison proposed in his Virginia Plan, or would the legislature consist of representatives of the states, as the small states insisted? Connecticut delegate, Roger Sherman, suggested a “Grand Committee” to work out a compromise. Finally, the “Grand Compromise” was offered: The Senate would be chosen by the state legislatures, and the House of Representatives would be chosen by the people. Each state would have equal representation in the Senate and each state would have as many representatives as their population allowed. The compromise was approved by a vote of five states to four.
This compromise created a competition for power between the new federal government and the collective power of the state governments. This accidental genius (or providence, as some say) established a check and balance between the two powers. This structure prevented either power from becoming domineering. The states’ position in the Senate gave the states real power: the power to approve all legislation, all international treaties, all executive appointments of federal judges and cabinet officials, and final judgment in all matters of impeachment.
States had real power in the federal government for the first century; that power was instantly erased by the 17th Amendment in 1913. Since the 17th Amendment, the federal government has constantly expanded its power over the states, rendering the states little more than administrative units for the federal government.
The 17th Amendment should be repealed, and the voice of state governments returned to their original place of power in the federal government.
The Electoral College is under systematic attack. The Progressive movement was a compromise between the principles of the Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, and the rough-and-tumble of laissez-faire Capitalism. The Progressive movement promoted and won ratification of the 17th Amendment. The same Progressive movement is now working diligently to undermine and destroy the Electoral College.
The sales pitch is similar to the campaign for the 17th Amendment. The rhetoric goes: “It is more democratic for the people to elect the president directly, rather than go through the confusing Electoral College nonsense.” A hundred years ago, the Progressives said that it was more democratic to elect Senators directly by the people, rather than let the state legislatures choose them in corrupt back-room deals.
The founders were far more concerned about creating a new government that would be fair, just, and self-correcting, than about being democratic. The founders knew all too well that Democracy would inevitably evolve into despotism and anarchy. They insisted on creating a Republic, and a unique Republic at that. Every effort to undermine or repeal the Electoral College is an effort to destroy the unique Republic our founders gave us.
The Electoral College should be thoroughly taught in public schools and placed on a pedestal of respect high above all short-sighted efforts to do it harm.
The same Progressive influence that stole from the states their voice in the federal government, and is now trying to destroy the Electoral College, has successfully twisted the meaning of Article 1, Section 8’s enumerated powers clause to mean that the federal government has unlimited power to do whatever it can conceive. In every Congress since 1993, a bill has been proposed that would require the author of proposed legislation to cite precisely which Article and Section of the Constitution authorized the proposed law. So far, this bill has never even been brought to a vote.
The enumerated powers, particularly the “commerce clause” and the “general welfare” clause need to be defined in writing, so as to limit the power of Congress to the limitations originally imposed by the founders. If the power of Congress is not limited, despotism by Progressives already exists. Even a casual review of the last two years reveals just how badly the nation needs this perfect gift.
During the next two years, organizations from around the nation will be coordinating their efforts to bestow this perfect gift upon America. This effort will be opposed vigorously by Progressives, the media, and by sitting Senators. Nevertheless, if America is to survive – the people – not the politicians – must prevail.
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, Henry Lamb, is the author of “The Rise of Global Governance,” Chairman of Sovereignty International , and founder of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) and Freedom21, Inc.