Commentary | After glancing at a recent New York Times opinion page, readers might be seriously tempted to wonder ifthe editors have taken leave of their senses? The year end op-ed by Georgetown University Professor of Constitutional Law, Louis Michael Seidman, titled “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution” has many political commentators openly accusing The Times and Seidman of advocating for tyranny and a dictatorship.
The NY Times may be motivated by their unending frustration over the simple reality that despite the desires of the Old Gray Lady’s notoriously liberal editors and reporters, President Obama is not going to get his way every time he makes a demand. However by giving this drivel a place of prominence on the opinion page, the paper is treading on dangerous ground by sanctioning this nonsense.
The author of the Op-Ed trotted out the usual boring litany of attacks on the Republican Party and the founding fathers as a basis for his arguments. Seidman begins by bashing the Republican Representatives who refused to bow down to the wishes of the President on the debt ceiling. Instead of having the good sense to realize that 16 trillion dollars of debt is destroying our nation, he blames the opposition for all that ails the economy:
“Why should a lame-duck House, 27 members of which were defeated for re-election, have a stranglehold on our economy?”
It seems our all knowing legal wizard would rather the Republican members of the House ignore their sacred constitutional oath to represent the will of the voters and simply obey the President. Perhaps Mr. Seidman thinks doing what your are told is the foundation of a free society but most of use would call it fascism. Someone should tell the professor that blaming the Republicans for everything is getting as tiresome as blaming Bush.
Then its on the those awful, evil old white men who had the nerve to give us the best and most noble nation on this planet, along with a Constitution that puts all other forms of government to shame. He contemptuously refers to the founders as follows:
“A group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves…”
Instead, we are advised to ignore the lessons of history, abandon our founding principals and take it on trust:
“This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.
We might ask the good Professor what sort of respect Richard Nixon would have shown to the nation were it not for our Constitution? Without a Constitution, how would we have forced an out of control, deeply paranoid and law breaking President to resign?
Seidman’s madness only becomes more astounding as he continues, frantically chewing up one Constitutional concept after another. He wants us to believe we can count on our lawmakers to adhere to the principals of a free society without a Constitution to keep them in check:
“Nor should we have a debate about, for instance, how long the president’s term should last or whether Congress should consist of two houses. Some matters are better left settled, even if not in exactly the way we favor. Nor, finally, should we have an all-powerful president free to do whatever he wants. Even without constitutional fealty, the president would still be checked by Congress and by the states. There is even something to be said for an elite body like the Supreme Court with the power to impose its views of political morality on the country.”
The professor claims to have faith in the Supreme Court, but I seriously wonder if he would ask the nine justices to “impose their views of political morality on the country” if they had ruled Obamacare to be unconstitutional. Is his love for the court based on anything more than the likelihood there will be a 5 to 4 liberal tilt before the end of the Obama Presidency?
Americans have witnessed more than enough of the myriad ways that power will corrupt even the best of us to put our nation at risk in the mindlessly irresponsible manner that Professor Seidman is suggesting. Matters are settled because they are written down in plain black and white in our founding legal document, not because we have an endless procession of leaders who believe in freedom. How many more freedom crushing Executive Orders would be written were it not for the existence of our Constitution?
No, Professor, I won’t abandon my nations founding document and trust the President to only serve two terms or act responsibly when he or she is unable to have their way with Congress. No, I won’t trust the Executive Branch to restrain itself from trespassing the reasonable restraints on its power. No, I won’t trust the Legislative Branch to respect the decisions of the Supreme Court without a Constitution in place to clearly define the responsibilities of each branch of government.
Nor will I trust the Federal Government to respect my right to Free Speech or legal consul or any of the freedoms afforded to every American citizen under our Constitution. I know the evil that men and women are capable of doing when they are unrestrained and asking us to abandon the Constitution and have faith in human nature is asking the American people to play Russian Roulette with six live rounds in six chambers of a revolver.
I prefer the Constitution and the process of amendment to bring the original document up to date. I refuse to blame the failures of our government on the founding fathers or the Constitution. Let’s place the blame squarely where it belongs. On the partisan politics of elected officials who chose to deliberately shirk their responsibility to represent the will of their constituents and ignore their oath of office.
Our nation has stopped functioning because many elected officials are more concerned about staying in power than improving the lives of each and every citizen. Washington is littered with individuals who make a conscious choice to become the political elite; a new class of modern American nobility who dine regularly with lobbyists and leave government as wealthy men and women. How many more legal exemptions from the insider trading laws will it take before we realize that our so-called leaders are using their office as a personal piggy bank with total disregard for the founding principals of our nation?
The recent debacle over the so called Fiscal Cliff had nothing to do with the Constitution, my dear Professor Seidman. America and the world watched the Republicans and the Democrats exploit a manufactured crisis in a deliberate attempt to make the other side look bad in the eyes of the voters. We witnessed months of the Legislative and Executive branch acting like playground bullies to enhance their own position when every single one of them knows we need to stop spending money we don’t have and reduce the deficit.
Isn’t it strange the United States manged to survive, struggle and become the most powerful and free nation on earth because we have a Constitution that establishes sensible limits on the role of government in our lives. It was only when government began to expand without restraint, spend more than it took in and impose itself on every aspect of our existence in a manner contrary to the Constitution that our system began to break down.
Frankly, the last thing I would ever do is abandon the Constitution and trust the greedy vultures in Washington with my future and my liberty. I’d sooner play on a freeway in rush hour traffic with a blindfold or listen to another cranky progressive professor who wants to get rid of the Constitution because he is annoyed that the opposition won’t rubber stamp everything the President demands.
Professor Seidman concludes his tirade with this gem, equating the Constitution with slavery:
“But before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.”
Well sir, I must inform you, America is a Constitutional Republic and that suits me fine. As far as giving real freedom a chance, that will come when our leaders stop invading other independent nations without Congressional approval (Libya anyone), allowing a private bank to print our money or granting the President the unrestrained power to kill or imprison Americans without trial or legal representation under the NDAA. I shudder to think what may happen to this great nation, as more “freedom lovers” like the professor try to take a sledge hammer to the Constitution.