Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Heart of the Matter

Ok, first of all, I am NO Tea Party activist nor am I a supporter of the infamous Tea Party. But this story struck a nerve with me and I wanted to share it with you and get your take. I do not do political blogs so you will have to forgive me for this feeble attempt.

At a recent town hall meeting the below dialogue took place.  Eighth Term Republican Representative Frank LoBiondo (NJ) was questioned by someone who could be viewed as "Joe Plumber". The gentleman's name is Christopher Weber. What transpires is probably not would you would expect. Please take a minute to view the video:

Weber tells Lobiondo that it is his, Weber's, duty as a citizen to know the Constitution, however it is Lobiondo's JOB, as a member of Congress to know it.  Now, let's be real, no one expects someone to know every article and section of the extensive document. However, I would argue that it would not be so much to ask that our lawmakers, as being charged with upholding the document, know the basics.

It seems to me that politicians seem to forget the significance, importance and magnitude of The Constitution. Yet they are quick to use it when it fits their agenda. For example when Bob Dole was running for President he routinely spoke about the copy of the 10th Amendment that he carried around with him. He vowed to "dust it off" and restore it to its rightful place in our Constitution. Wow. Great rhetoric. The problem? I am willing to bet a vast majority of those he was speaking to had no idea what the 10th Amendment stated.

Now I think Weber had a good point. Our lawmakers, our politicians, they SHOULD have a working knowledge of the principles on which our country was formed. I think if more Americans challenged their politicians in this way and more Americans held their lawmakers responsible, really responsible, for upholding the Constitution then perhaps we would be in a better place today.  We seem to be getting further and further from these basic ideals and being held prisoner by more and more legislation and laws.  

All the way down to county governments we have taken to legislating everything. For example, I am not a smoker and I have small children. I do not like to be around smoke. However, I do not think we need laws legislating smoking. I say the free market should be able to decide. If an establishment is overly smoky then people will stop frequenting that place and it will suffer, but we do not need government instituting more laws. Do we need government making us wear seat belts? I do not think so. Your wearing or not wearing your seat belt does not affect me in the slightest bit.  Is there any real reason I cannot buy beer or wine on Sundays in some counties of my state? I mean really. I could go on and on from here.  These are just some of the examples of ways we lose a little freedom with each law and we get a little further away from some of the ideals of our forefathers.

Basically? I think our lawmakers should remind themselves on a regular basis what they are supposed to be upholding and defending. It is part of their oath of office, however, to so many they seem to simply be words, I am afraid. They need to be held accountable. They need a constant reminder of the significance, the heart of the matter, if you will.  They should force themselves to know and put into practice these founding principles.  Then perhaps we can get on with the business of getting this country back on track.


Darkwulfe said...

I agree in principle with you. I also know that, much like the Bible, interpretation of the Constitution causes a lot of the division. There are fundamental differences in how many clauses in the Constitution are interpreted which is of course why we have the Supreme Court. I do agree that our politicians need to take more time to get aquainted with the most important document in our land and that too many of our "little" freedoms are being tramples on. Excellent blog post.

Kim said...

There's a conservative columnist named Charley Reese who wrote an article called " The 545 people responsible for America's woes".

It's entirely true. What I don't think most American's realize is just how much power the House of Reps and Senate have.

So, if you don't like what you see, you ultimately have the power to change it, by the power of a single vote.

Jay said...

I'm pretty sure that almost none of the members of congress could have answered that guy's question. But, we're the ones who keep putting them back into office. And for all the talk about how much we hate congress, for the most part, it's everybody else's congressman we hate. We like our own.

And it's not just their knowledge of the constitution that we should be focusing on. Take a look at where your congressman or senator gets his/her contributions from. That will tell you who they really represent.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I'm sick of all of it. Every where you look is corruption. It's sad.

Will Shealy said...

Well said! It kind of ties into my blog today!