Thankful for Constitution

Bill Neinast

Thanksgiving is for more than giving thanks for our blessings.  It is also a time for reminiscing over those blessings.

One blessing that should never be forgotten is the genius, or maybe it was just the luck, of our forefathers who crafted the foundation of our great nation.

Think about forming this union without a set of blueprints to follow.  They established a governing body of three independent but equal branches for a fledgling nation. To function, all three branches had to be in agreement.

Those founding fathers also recognized that the government they were creating would be overseeing individual independent states. A wide disparity in populations among the states was already apparent, and those gathered around the table in Philadelphia realized that it would not be fair to states to have a national government controlled solely on population.

In a stroke of genius, they created one branch of government as a bi-cameral legislature.  One branch was to represent the people and selection or else election to that branch would be controlled by, or based on, population.  The other  would be to represent the states and each state would be entitled to two representatives, regardless of population.

Originally, the state representatives, now called senators, were selected or elected by the state legislatures under rules established by each state.  

That was a logical system for choosing the men or women to represent state interests in Washington.

Unfortunately, however, logic does not prevail very long in politics.  So some latter day politicians crafted a revision of the constitution to have the two senators from each state elected by popular vote.

Now senators no longer represent their states but are the employees of voters back home who thought they promised them more freebies from Washington than did their opponents.  The disturbing mess this has caused needs no further illumination.

Now there is another move to tinker with the brain child of the founding fathers.  Those still crying over the Clintons being denied a return to the White House on the road of Texas’ Ma and Pa Fergusons’ “two for the price of one” policy want to abolish the Electoral College.

If that movement succeeds, the residents of that vast area called flyover country will be dominated by the socialists living in the fairly tiny enclaves of New York and California.  This is the very thing that Thomas Jefferson and his colleagues wanted to prevent.

Fortunately, the most important feature of the constitution has been left untouched.  This is the equal but separate clause.

Under this procedure, a proposal cannot become law unless all three branches concur.  Even better, something not anticipated by the founders has made it even harder for one branch to become dominant.

To become law, a proposal has to be approved by both houses of Congress, the President, and the judiciary.  If any part of those three branches, whether the House of Represenatives, the Senate, the President , or a single judge says, “No!” the proposal is dead.

A presidential veto can be overridden by congress and a judge’s ruling can be overruled on appeal, but both of those routes are long and hard.  If a proposal passed both houses of congress, is vetoed by the president, reconfirmed in Congress, and is then challenged in court, it becomes law only if approved by the Supreme Court.

That is the three equal branches of government working in harmony or disharmony just as planned in Philadelphia.

Consider, also, the recent spate of various district judges enjoining some of our President’s orders on immigration.  The legal reasoning in support of those injunctions is questionable and all are headed for the Supreme Court.

Regardless of the outcome of those appeals, their procedure is another beautiful example of our system of checks and balances at work.  Can you imagine a dictatorship taking root and growing in this environment?

So here’s the perspective.

Be thankful again for our system of government.  It will always produce a result or results that some will not like, but there is no way today where one person or group can assume dictatorial rule.

What a blessing!    



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