Friday, May 13, 2016

Catching Up, Hamilton, Stuff

So the thing about being a mom to a kid on the autism spectrum (or, who are we kidding: a mom/parent, generally) is that sometimes you do not have time to do the fun things like blog about the Constitution...

Friday, February 13, 2015

Are You a democrat?

"The spirit of the Parliament Act, and the purpose of that Act, were to secure the intimate, effective and continuous influence of the will of the people upon the conduct and progress of their affairs. That was the purpose—not the will of the governors or the governesses of the people, but the will of the people... 
The right hon. Gentleman spoke about Parliament, about the rights of Parliament, which I shall certainly not fail to defend. But it is not Parliament that should rule; it is the people who should rule through Parliament. That is the mistake he made, an important omission... 
All this idea of a handful of men getting hold of the State machine, having the right to make the people do what suits their party and personal interests or doctrines, is completely contrary to every conception of surviving Western democracy. Some reverence for the laws ourselves have made, Some patient force to change them when we will. We accept in the fullest sense of the word the settled and persistent will of the people. All this idea of a group of super men and super-planners, such as we see before us, 'playing the angel,' as the French call it, and making the masses of the people do what they think is good for them, without any check or correction, is a violation of democracy. Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time; but there is the broad feeling in our country that the people should rule, continuously rule, and that public opinion, expressed by all constitutional means, should shape, guide, and control the actions of Ministers who are their servants and not their masters." - Winston Churchill

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

I Declare War on Not Declaring War

The structure of our constitution is what has made it work so well.  I believe we are due for some structural work on our constitution, but in one area we just need a refresher course on what's in the Constitution and why.  War is one of the areas where the Constitution is doing just fine.  The problem is that we aren't following the Constitution.  

We have evolved from a clear form of conflict: war, as declared by Congress and executed by the President... to an executive-driven, slippery-sloping set of never-ending "police actions," conflicts, and coalition engagements.  The end result has been that our nation views the decision to go to war as an executive decision, and there are many, many reasons why the Framers did not want that to happen.

The Framers were right about giving the power to declare war to Congress.  And Congress needs to take back that power.

One of the frequent arguments in favor of our current, executive-driven form of international action is that the Framers lived in a world in which time was experienced very differently than we experience it today.

The Battle of New Orleans

Example: The battle for which Andrew Jackson is best known - The Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812 - happened 2 weeks after his side had already won the war, but word hadn't gotten to Jackson yet.

And that's the type of time the Constitutional Convention was thinking about when it gave the power to declare war to Congress.

Decisions today can be made with communications links between the situation room and the field, directly.  That speed and alacrity with which a Commander-in-Chief can now respond to outside threats is important, but it's not what a declaration of war is about.  And that's not what the slide towards greater executive authority, particularly in the realm of foreign policy, is about.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Partisanship Is the Problem

Washington, warning against parties in his Farewell Address.

I'm a partisan, and it's an election year so I'm mentally inclined to be uber-partisan this year - but I can still see that partisanship over patriotism is the one of the biggest problems with America today.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2026 Book Club

This post series is here to talk about some of the books I'm reading as I think about the project and study up more on the original framers' ideas, how our government has worked over time, and suggestions people have for changing our government.

Right now, I'm reading:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Who Can Vote?

Voting Good.

I respect the Founding Fathers, and I love the leap they took for humanity when they created America.  But when they wrote things like "All Men Are Created Equal," they weren't talking about me.

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Premise

The Constitution was not the first guiding document for the United States of America.

In 1787, the system was broken.

The shape of the Articles of Confederation (our first attempt at a federal government structure) meant a federal government hobbled and utterly incapable of responding to problems.  (More about this in a later post.)