Jewish World Review July 3, 2013/ 25 Tamuz, 5773
Who Are Your Heroes?
By Betsy McCaughey
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last Sunday, President Obama told a Cape Town audience that South Africa's heroes — Steve Biko and Albert Luthuli — inspired him to enter politics. He discussed an affection he has not shown publicly toward James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. It was stunning to watch, as we at home in the U.S. were pulling out our flags and preparing to celebrate America's 237th Independence Day.
We the People are disgusted with Washington's shenanigans, but we revere our nation's past. More than three quarters of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing. When asked, "Do you believe the United States would be a better country if we followed the ideas of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution more closely, an amazing 77 percent said yes.(Fox News poll, June 22 to24).
More Democrats than Republicans were included in the poll. This commitment to the values of the founders is broad based. Independence Day isn't a quaint celebration of the past. It's about the ideals that provide a roadmap forward.
Sadly the top dogs in Congress have strayed from these ideals. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rammed through a 1,198-page "comprehensive" (another word for unread) immigration bill over the objections of senators who hadn't had time to scrutinize it. That's a repeat of how Reid rushed the Obama health law through the Senate on Christmas Eve, 2009. He sent it on to then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who amazingly said "we have to pass it so we can find out what's in it." Reid and Pelosi are James Madison's biggest nightmares.
Madison, chief architect of the Constitution, warned in Federalist 62 that it was meaningless to guarantee people "that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws are so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood." Voluminous and incoherent describe the gobbledygook in Obamacare and the Senate immigration bill, both concealing costly provisions slipped in to buy the last minute votes of reluctant lawmakers.
The next president of the United States should pledge not to sign any bill into law if it is over 20 pages or filled with legalese. Twenty pages should be enough. The framers created the entire federal government in the U.S. Constitution's eighteen pages.
Of course, the biggest threat to freedom is not the size of laws but the size of government. Madison cautioned that our personal freedom would be taken away not all at once but by "gradual and silent encroachments." That describes the predatory practices of the IRS, the information gathering activities of the National Security Administration and Obamacare's intrusions into what you confide to your doctor.
In the 2010-midterm elections, tea party activists made fidelity to the Constitution a major issue. At their instigation, the House of Representatives opened its proceedings in January 2011 with a reading of the Constitution, a first in the chamber's history, and adopted a rule that every bill must indicate the specific Constitutional provision that authorizes Congress to pass it.
Sadly, Congress has continued to spend, pushing the nation toward 17 trillion in debt and ignoring the admonitions of Jefferson that no nation should borrow more than the current generation can repay. In the fall of 2012, only 21 percent of Americans approved of the job Congress was doing. Yet when they went to the polls, they supported 90 percent of House members and 91 percent of Senators who sought re-election.
In his 2013 inaugural address, President Obama tried unconvincingly to put the imprimatur of the Constitution on his exorbitant spending for the collectivist good, referring again and again to "We the People."
So here we are, celebrating Independence Day 2013, proud of our heritage but disgusted with a Congress of our own choosing. This is the moment to resolve that "We the People" deserve better, and that the next national election will be different.
The Reagan revolution came about when Americans refused to re-elect the same disappointing people. In 1980, voters returned fewer incumbents to the U.S. Senate than in any other modern election. It can be done again. It must be done. When the authors of the Constitution finished their work, Benjamin Franklin was asked what they had created. "A Republic, if you can keep it," he said. Keeping it is up to us.
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Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York, founder of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and the author of "Beating Obamacare."
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York, founder of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and the author of "Beating Obamacare.".
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06/27/13: Will you be shocked by what's really in immigration reform bill?
© 2013 Creators Syndicate