Tangents & Traps: Amendment Fever
Posted on: January 24, 2011
By Don Fotheringham
“Towards the preservation of your government and the permanency of your present happy state … you should resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretext.” — George Washington, September 17, 1796
The wisdom of George Washington applies today more than at any other time. He cautioned future Americans to safeguard their freedom by avoiding constitutional amendments “for light and transient reasons.” Yet year after year hundreds of amendments are proposed. We should feel relieved that most proposed amendments do not make it into the Constitution, because they fail to qualify as constitutional protections. If passed, most of them would reduce individual freedom and increase federal power.
Here are a few examples of recently proposed amendments: Traditional Marriage Amendment, Anti-Flag Burning Amendment, Anti-Abortion Amendment, Equal Rights Amendment, Balanced Budget Amendment, Term Limits Amendment, Bible Reading Amendment, School Prayer Amendment, Campaign Finance Amendment, Victims’ Rights Amendment, Electoral College Amendment, and a Line Item Veto Amendment, among others.
Why not add these to the Constitution? Because the absence of the above matters does not reflect a flaw in the Constitution; the Constitution does not, accordingly, need correction.
Our lack of a balanced federal budget, for example, is not due to the absence of constitutional spending limits, it’s due to the cost of thousands of federal programs for which there is no constitutional authority. Simply adhering to the U.S. Constitution would reduce spending by billions and leave us with an easily balanced budget.
Likewise, allowing members of Congress to remain in office until voted out, is not a flaw, for if the congressman is bad, he can be thrown out any time the voters decide to do so. But if he is “term-limited” by an amendment, then we lose our right to re-elect him. Term limits is a voter copout, an excuse not to study the issues or pay attention to the voting records of our congressmen. It is a serious responsibility of our citizenship to elect good men and women and throw bad ones out.
Most amendment proposals would add redundancy to the Constitution, for they seek to block federal action in areas where the federal government has no authority to act. So why make such matters as marriage, religion (“Congress shall make no law…”), school prayer, abortion and Bible-reading off limits to the feds, when they already are? What we need is more conformance with the Constitution, not more duplication of its declarations.
It’s quite ironic that proposed constitutional amendments create so much excitement when our elected officials ignore most of the Constitution (as it now is) anyway. What good would a new amendment be, if nobody paid attention to it? Our immediate duty is to get the federal government back under the Constitution according to the intent of the 1787 Convention.
Are there any amendments that patriotic citizens ought to support? Yes, amendments to remove the barnacles in earlier amendments. Unfortunately, such proposals put the cart before the horse.
Truly constructive proposals have no chance of being ratified until a large majority of Americans understand the harmful effects of certain clauses in some of the later amendments, beginning with the 14th. This means Americans must first rout the Conspiracy that controls so much of American public opinion. Routing the powers that have almost destroyed this country is the top priority of the Freedom First Society (www.freedomfirstsociety.org).
Once our brain-laundered friends wake up, we would eagerly support repeal of the Fourteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Amendments, just for openers. It takes a repealing amendment to nullify an existing amendment. Therefore, we would need the votes of two-thirds of both houses of Congress, plus ratification by three-fourths of the states.
So you can see, we have much work to do before that is even a dream. It will not happen with the existing Insider control of education, the foundations, the White House, Federal Reserve, news media, Congress, and the federal courts.
There are no easy shortcuts to a free America. At present, we will do well to keep the Constitution intact and out of the hands of those who hate it. We are in a state of emergency, the flag is at half-staff, and the Constitution is in God’s hands. Beware of any amendment proposals, no matter how specious the pretext, for any work to amend the Constitution at this time is a very unwise tangent.