Keep government limited

July 2, 2018 |

I hope you’re having a great 4th of July week, but amid all the fun and fireworks, let’s take just a moment to reflect on what Independence day really means and how it led to the freedoms and blessings we often take for granted today. 

 

Most historians mark the beginning of America as the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776.  But in truth, there was still a long road to travel before America as we know it came to be.  First, of course, there was the matter of fighting a bloody revolution against Great Britain, one where victory was far from certain.  That was followed by heated battles over what kind of government we would have. 


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Our Forefathers finally agreed to a blueprint, the Constitution, that wasn’t even introduced until 1789 – over 13 years later.  But today, too many Americans take those hard-won freedoms very lightly.  Many seem willing to trade them away for false promises of security.  Some can’t even name the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.  Maybe they’d cherish them more if they knew how close they came to not having them at all.

 



Did you know that the Constitution very nearly got passed without the Bill of Rights?   Even some of the wisest of our forefathers thought a Bill of Rights was a dangerous idea.  Alexander Hamilton argued that it was risky to list the rights the government couldn’t take away because then, politicians might try to grab any power that wasn’t specifically prohibited to them (apparently, the ability to rap wasn’t the only way Hamilton predicted the current century).  He and many others also felt that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary: since nobody was surrendering their rights by agreeing to the Constitution, there was no need to list them, right?  Hamilton wrote, “Why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?” 

 

It’s ironic that Hamilton made that argument.  Later on, as the first Treasury Secretary, he cited powers the Constitution merely implied that the government had in order to take on debt, create a federal bank and impose unpopular taxes.  Over a century later, when the federal income tax was passed, some lawmakers wanted to include a 10% limit, but they were voted down.  Opponents scoffed that it was absurd to think the government would ever take 10% of an American’s hard-earned wages.  Flash forward just 30 years, and they were happily taxing away 94%.  So just imagine how few freedoms we’d have today if they’d listened to Hamilton and decided it wasn’t necessary to limit government power. 

 

Luckily for us all, Thomas Jefferson won the argument, and the Bill of Rights was added.  They even included the 9th amendment, which I’ll bet most people can’t even describe.  Here’s what it says:

 


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“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

 

It means that just because some God-given rights aren’t specifically listed, that doesn’t mean the people cede them to the government. Maybe because so many of the framers were also farmers, they understood that like weeds, government tends to grow and grow, choking out the productive crops -- and like a bull, it will trample you if you don’t corral it. 

 

So if we want to preserve our freedoms, and keep government limited, maybe we should send more farmers to Washington -- and fewer lawyers.  

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Comments 1-14 of 14

  • Audrey Kerry

    07/02/2018 11:36 PM

    Hi Governor. Thank you for the insight. It’s sad to see our country losing its identity. Remember the documentary, The Constitutional Christian? It might be time for the baker to go to the king like Jospeh asked . Aka Tom.

  • Gertrude Rugland

    07/02/2018 11:12 PM

    Read it every night!

  • Lionel G. Glaude

    07/02/2018 09:57 PM

    We should elect farmers to Congress, farmers don't like their rights trampled on so they will uphold ours. Free market is disappearing. Government is taking control of energy, water, education, healthcare etc.

  • Ruth Elma

    07/02/2018 09:55 PM

    Would you consider writing up an article for young people about socialism that they’re finding so attractive now? I don’t think many of them have really thought it through nor did they watch its failures as some of us did...

  • Robert Horn

    07/02/2018 09:07 PM

    I cannot comment until I appoint a committee to thoroughly look into this important matter. We need input from all groups, races, genders (the 7 types) , economic levels. Hearings will be held in 6 languages. Results will be published within 3 years and then we must await response

  • Ron Bishop

    07/02/2018 09:05 PM

    Brenda March is correct in here assessment. We need term limits so the 'lawmakers' have to return home and live with the laws they pass. I may have missed it, sorry if I did, BUT I am attempting to get the name of the individual in the IG report that called Trump supporters 'lazy, uneducated, POS'. I have written my Congressman and Senators, have gotten long winded replies, but not the NAME I asked them to release. I have responded to them that I WILL NOT vote for any current Senator or Congressman until I have the name, even if it means assisting the Left in gaining control. Your thoughts, other than that I should not vote for Leftist. I, as a taxpayer, pay this person's salary and I deserve to know the name.

  • Robert Horn

    07/02/2018 09:03 PM

    I cannot comment until I appoint a committee to thoroughly look into this important matter. We need input from all groups, races, genders (the 7 types) , economic levels. Hearings will be held in 6 languages. Results will be published within 3 years and then we must await response

  • Patricia A. McMahon

    07/02/2018 07:28 PM

    That information was impressive. I "knew" that there was 'discussion' involved in the passing of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It didn't occur to me how much we have now vs what might have been. Extremely enlightening! Thank you, Mike.

  • Bonnie E Reynolds

    07/02/2018 04:43 PM

    We were members of the Grange from the 1970's because we loved the country life. I recently did a little research on its history and found that one of its goals was to keep Congress as a part-time job, not a lifetime career, and keep lawyers from serving in Congress. Seems they failed miserably. Sad!

  • STEPHEN CITRON

    07/02/2018 03:04 PM

    It looks like MS Brenda Marsh has hit the bulls eye with her comment. Yes, I know this is a conservative view point column, but this lady has gone to the heart of the matter over who, and what, we need to strt looking toward for leadership, and common sense !

  • Robert Burtron, Jr, MD

    07/02/2018 12:46 PM

    Hi Mike, Re: In the illegal immigration we are seeing at the southern border, in the majority of the "families" the parents and children are not related. I am hearing that big bucks are being paid to the "escorts" for bringing these kids to the USA. The ICE separation is to ID which are which. That info was "leaked" to me by someone I trust on the inside dealing with the issues (DHS not FBI). Bob

  • Amelia Little

    07/02/2018 11:43 AM

    Thanks for the history lesson. Another thing that wasn't part of the history curriculum even w-a-y back in the day!! The idea of sending more farmers to Washington is a good one. And many other professions. And impose term limits--most people would need to get back to their real lives and earn a living, support their families anyway. Part of the hysteria we are facing today is that a career politician is not President. The left (in Washington and even regular people) and too many conservatives in Washington are so concentrated on their anger that a businessman is leading our country that they aren't going to play ball. Don't think or talk about any successes by the Trump administration (accomplished in spite of some of the spite of many congressmen.) Don't think or talk about the fact that Trump has already fulfilled more campaign promises in less than 2 years than most have in their entire tenure. Campaign promises that people voted for, by the way. They really don't get that it was WE THE PEOPLE who voted for real change, for someone who isn't held down, held back by good ol' boy politics. Too many people, led by msm and some far-left politicians aren't even addressing the fact that even some career politicians and people in power in departments have committed crimes and expect to not have to answer to anyone, let alone be charged and convicted. Crimes that everyday people would be in prison for, for a long time if they committed them.

  • Brenda Marsh

    07/02/2018 11:02 AM

    I've said for years we need more farmers and (excuse my political incorrectness) housewives to Congress because they know how to live within a budget and get things done creatively. Less people who have never had month left over at the end of their money and more people who have worked hard for everything they ever had.

  • suzanne A Gibbs

    07/02/2018 10:01 AM

    Excellent, as usual. Thank you so much for the information you relay to us every day.............If I want the truth, I know where to find it.
    Suzanne