What the Government Doesn't Want You to
know about the U.S. Constitution - Part I
by Rick Stanley - June 4, 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 4, 2002
EDITORIAL OPINION PIECE
Stanley for U.S. Senate Campaign
What the Government Doesnt Want You to Know
Fifty-two words. Fiftty-two beautiful words.
The words are familiar. Perhaps you had to memorize them in school. Maybe they have been etched into your brain because you have re-read them so many times. They are the Preamble to the Constitution; the introductory clause that opens the supreme Law of the Land.
Everybody knows what the Preamble says. Sadly, far too few of us ever take the time to give due consideration to what it actually means. Let's spend a few moments reflecting on it together, to deepen our understanding.
Stripped of its internal baggage, this sentence reads "We the People ... do ordain and establish this Constitution." What could possibly be clearer? The people of America -- you, and I, and everyone else who inhabits our great nation -- have established the Constitution. And what, precisely, is a constitution?
My dictionary defines a constitution as "the system or body of fundamental rules and principles of a nation ... that determines the powers and duties of the government and guarantees certain rights to the people."
When I reflect on this definition, and on the words in the Preamble, three great essential truths stare back at me.
-- Since We, the People, have established the Constitution, we are the ones who have written the fundamental rules and principles for America. When deep questions about the relationship between the government and ourselves arise, the government's agents cannot answer them. We must answer them.
-- Since We, the People, have ordained the Constitution, we have determined the powers and duties of our government. When questions about the proper extent of those powers and duties arise, the governments agents cannot supply the answers. We must supply the answers.
-- The Constitution is not the source of our rights, and neither is the government. The Constitution we have written simply guarantees our rights. The government cannot decide what our individual rights are. It must, instead, protect and defend the rights we already had before we established the Constitution.
Now when I look around me to learn what the conventional wisdom is, I see that a great popular misconception has been spread across the land. How and why this misconception arose need not concern us here. The men who have spread this falsehood have been at it for decades. I could write a book.
Here's an example of this pernicious lie, lifted from the pages of the Rocky Mountain News. In an editorial column about me published on May 8, 2002, the editors at the News opined: "Since 1803, however, when the Supreme Court decided Marbury vs. Madison, the state of the nation has been that laws are unconstitutional when the court says they are."
By the plain language of the Constitution itself the News is flatly wrong. And students of history can tell you that many of the founding fathers never accepted the dictum of Marbury vs. Madison. Here's an example. Writing in 1820, Thomas Jefferson had this to say about that infamous decision: "To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions (is) a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy."
Which is it to be, America? Do you want to live under the despotism of an oligarchy? Will you accept the government's opinion, which says you will be ruled by judicial fiat? Or are you willing to take your own Constitution at face value?
Do you want to live in a free country? Then you must help me dispel this pernicious lie. Help me put the Constitution over the government once again, where it ought to be. Help me put an end to the creeping judicial despotism that Thomas Jefferson feared so much.
It's your country. The future is up to you.
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