Sunday, September 20, 2009

Defending the Constitution

Talifaitasi W. Satele


Originally, the US Constitution did not include a Bill of Rights. Federalists argued that since the Constitution didn’t give the government power to infringe on our inherent rights, like Free Speech, we didn’t need those 10 amendments explicitly protecting them. It was a naïve assumption to say the least.

Terrance Jeffrey, a reporter for Human Events, asked former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, in an interview a couple years back if she could “point to language in the Constitution that authorized the federal government to have a Department of Education.” Her reply: “I can’t point to it one way or the other. I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I’ll look into it for you, Terry.”

She never got back to Mr. Jeffrey because the Constitution doesn’t authorize a DOE.

Supporters of the Bill of Rights did not buy the Federalists’ argument that government would restrain itself to the limits of its contract with the People. They knew better. They knew that the Constitution had to explicitly restrict government from infringing on our individual rights; otherwise, it eventually would.

But what makes the Bill of Rights so effective is that people go up in arms defending them. We will never see Congress ban Free Speech or the Freedom of Religion or the Right to Bear Arms. They can try, but Americans stand up for themselves, and it would be a cold day in hell before any of that stuff happens!

The point being is that no one pays attention to the Constitution unless someone stands up for it and defends it. Sadly, the ASG makes that point all too clear with its budget appropriations (spend first, ask later).

Luckily, we have a few heroes in the Fono who are working to change that. Hopefully, one day, we will have a Fono and a government we can all be proud of.

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