The Left has finally begun an all-out assault on the Constitution. CNN’s Fareed Zakaria recently claimed the document was out-dated and should be scrapped, like the Articles of Confederation were. He went further and actually stated that electoral college and the Senate are ‘undemocratic.’
“The electoral college, for example, is highly undemocratic, allowing for the possibility that someone could get elected as president even if he or she had a smaller share of the total national vote than his opponent.
The structure of the Senate is even more undemocratic, with Wisconsin’s six million inhabitants getting the same representation in the Senate as California’s 36 million people. That’s not exactly one man, one vote.”
Yesterday, TIME Magazine posted an article in which they question the relevance of the Constitution. The author decided that since the Framers had no way of knowing about the internet or Lady Gaga (an actual reference) the entire document had become an ‘obstacle to the US’s moving into the future.’ Then there’s this:
If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so. Article I, Section 8, the longest section of the longest article of the Constitution, is a drumroll of congressional power. And it ends with the “necessary and proper” clause, which delegates to Congress the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” Limited government indeed.
I have a hard time believing a naturalized citizen could find so much fault in the nation he chose to join. The Framers did NOT created a direct democracy, they created a Republic. The founders opposed direct elections, out of fear that a faction of America could take over the nation and make reckless, permanent changes out of emotion. The only direct elections were for the House of Representatives, who were our direct representation to the federal government. The level of pure ignorance on display here, by both Zakaria and TIME is stunning.
The main reason the Articles of Confederation were scrapped in the first place, was because America couldn’t pay the debt we accrued during the Revolution. (Even then, the country was wrestling with debt.) We couldn’t pay off our loans, or pay the military because each state had their own currencies. There was also no Executive branch, and commerce was being hurt. A small, limited federal system was necessary, and so was created with the Constitution.
I want to address one point before I really get into this: Zakaria notes slavery and the Three-Fifths Clause as a reason the Constitution should be rewritten. He seems to believe – as most people do – that the Three-Fifths Clause was written because the framers believed blacks were ‘less of a person’ than whites. That is simply false. It was written by the anti-slave northern states in an effort to limit the federal influence of the slave-states in the House of Representatives. They did not want the slave-states to be able to legalize slavery.
The federal government also did not start the abolition movement. The states did. The federal government actually passed the Fugitive Slave Act forcing the north to return slaves to their owners. It was the states who resisted this law and drove the abolition of slavery.
The Senate was originally set up to be the representation of each state to the federal government. The people were directly represented by the House of Representatives. This internally-checked representation was crucial to the foundation of our nation as a Republic. The state was supposed to be stronger than the federal government. How far we’ve fallen from that system is clear to even the most casual observer.
Constitutional amendments to abolish or change the Electoral College have been proposed in Congress more than 700 times. That it still exists is clear indication that the system works. The Electoral College – like the Senate – is more democratic than a direct election system. Imagine if candidates only had to campaign in California or New York in order to be elected. Imagine if only the big cities mattered in elections. The Electoral College protects the smaller states from the tyranny of the larger states.
The Electoral College also protects the nation from election nightmares we could only imagine. In 2000, the entire election came down to Florida’s electoral votes. Gore ended up challenging the count, and lost a contested Supreme Court decision. Today we know, that in reality, Bush did in fact win more votes than Gore in Florida. Knowing how difficult the recount and lawsuits were for the nation, imagine the chaos if there were direct elections. Bush and Gore would have both realized that either of them could demand recounts and mount challenges against ballots in every precinct, in every county, in every state of the Union with the real hope of finding enough votes that the election could have been overturned.
TIME claims that the Constitution does not limit the federal government. This is simply false. “Congress shall make no law…” appears no fewer than a dozen times throughout the document. In addition, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments grant the people and the states all freedoms not expressly given to the federal government. Powers are deliberately granted to the government out of need – national defense, taxation, and the regulation of commerce are among them. All other powers are granted to the people or the states. It is spelled out in black and white, and could not be more clear.
Three years ago liberals were screaming that Bush was destroying the Constitution. Now they’re saying that the Constitution really doesn’t exist.
Our founding documents are not the enemy. They secure what freedoms we have left. Zarakia, TIME Magazine, and those who think like them want to remove every barrier to their authority over us. After the Revolution, had Washington wanted to be King, he could have been. What the founders chose not to do is more important than what they chose to do. They waged war against the most powerful nation on the planet, and they argued with each other for six months, not to empower themselves, but to empower us.
Remember that the next time the government tells you what kind of light bulb you have to buy, or how much water your toilet is allowed to use. Ask yourself this: When will the government have enough power over our day-to-day lives? What will it take for you to stand up and vote them out?