Recently, Vice-President Kamala Harris said that she was “open to abolishing the Electoral College” and “can’t wait to cast the deciding vote to end the filibuster”. She also called into question the Supreme Court, referring to it as a “activist Court”.
Partisan politics aside, those statements are ridiculous on their face, they are also an indicator that Vice-President Harris simply doesn’t understand the structure of the very document she swore to “uphold and defend”, a rather egregious error considering her station politically.
I understand why she made those statements: Democrats are upset about the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion, the fact they can’t get their legislative packages passed due to the filibuster, as well as still smarting about Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 election.
None of what she, or other liberals are proposing follow how this nation was constructed. Further, those comments by her and those who side with liberal policies demonstrate they are willing to cast the Constitution to the wayside without ever considering why that document was constructed in the first place. This is not a partisan attack, simply a statement of fact.
By design, our constitution is supposed to do certain things:
- Create an adversarial condition on Congress, the idea being to force both sides to compromise rather than have one “party’ (a notion the Founders initially hated, but devolved into anyway) dominate via fiat. This notion is made quite clear via many of their writings, especially the Federalist Papers. They insisted on minority say and an adversarial system in order to protect that say.
- While the filibuster is controversial now (for democrats), it reinforces said notion of forcing compromise by requiring, in most cases, 60 of 100 votes in the Senate. The filibuster is not in the Constitution, but rather an outgrowth of long standing Senate procedure, again, to ensure minority voices are heard.
- The Electoral College is a safeguard, ensuring that the populace, a majority, does not impose itself on the minority. Again, this is to reinforce the notion the minority has a say. Further, it is the best combination of federal as well as national rule. Hear the words of James Madison in Federalist #39:In speaking on the Constitution being “wholly national” [popular vote] or “wholly federal” [state vote], Madison is clear that the Constitution is not founded on either of these principles. “In its foundation it is federal, not national; in the sources from which the ordinary powers of the government are drawn, it is partly federal, and partly national; in the operation of these powers, it is national, not federal; in the extent of them again, it is federal, not national; and finally, in the authoritative mode of introducing amendments, it is neither wholly national.”
- The Constitution was designed to be a bulwark against the natural growth of the Federal government. It is the nature of central government to grow, the Founders, being students of history, knowing this. Therefore, the Constitution was designed with inevitable government growth in mind, putting in barriers to that growth so that things affecting one’s daily life were left to the states…direct vote by the people of that state being the determiner.
The semi-recent vote by the population of the state of Kansas is a case in point. Kansas is considered a “red” state, but when it came to the abortion issue, the people of Kansas rejected proposed government restrictions by a margin of 62%—exactly how the Founders intended decisions to be made. Let the states decide. That, by the way, was the thrust of the Supreme Court’s decision a few months ago. Not “activist” as VP Harris said, but rather “strict Constitutionalist”.
This is the very reason for the 9th and 10th Amendments, two amendments largely forgotten. The essence of both amendments is this: powers not specifically given to the federal government are reserved for the people and the states respectively.
It is astonishing to me how many members of our government, 175 of them possessing law degrees, are ignorant of not only the history of the Constitution, but why that document was created in the first place. They may know the history a bit, but when it comes to the reasons why it exists, most are either ignorant or simply don’t care. That ignorance crosses the political aisle and should disturb all Americans.
The idea the general public doesn’t understand the Constitution is not hard to fathom; it’s not taught properly in schools, but more importantly, most don’t care. They blindly rely on their representative to steer the bus. Willful blindness in a populace leads to authoritarianism, history proves this point over and over again.
Lest anyone reading this thinks this is an anti-liberal diatribe, they would be incorrect. Both parties, historically, have subverted the Constitution, the document more than fraying at its edges as the people look to the federal government to solve their problems rather than themselves through their respective states.
It was not that long ago Republicans wanted an end to the filibuster with Democrats insistent on its preservation as stated by Senator Chuck Schumer: “Bottom line is very simple: The ideologues in the Senate want to turn what the Founding Fathers called ‘the cooling saucer of democracy’ into the rubber stamp of dictatorship. We will not let them. They want, because they can’t get their way on every judge, to change the rules in mid-stream, to wash away 200 years of history. They want to make this country into a banana republic, where if you don’t get your way, you change the rules. Are we going to let them? It’ll be a doomsday for democracy if we do.”
The question, then, becomes who is in charge and currently, it is the Democrats, so, they must bear the brunt of the criticism, their own statements proof of their desires.
Even the standard bearer for the progressive left, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in a recent interview when asked if she’d consider running for President displayed a certain ignorance of the Constitution. She and the author of the piece lamented the Senate and the Supreme Court would “thwart her ambitions” with AOC herself stating “There are still plenty of limitations.”
Yes, there are, for anyone in that role just as the Founders intended. That is precisely the role of the Constitution…to force legislators to reach a consensus on all ideas presented, not to ram through whatever the majority wishes.
Some, on both sides of the aisle will be disappointed. Not everyone gets a trophy. Have we forgotten how to accept a loss and rejigger for the next election cycle or are we destined to be a nation engulfed in never-ending protests for every conceivable special interest?
There must be an awakening in this nation, a civic awakening, one in which the Constitution itself is taught honestly, without bias and within the context of those who founded it. It is not antiquated, it is not out of date. It is simply not followed, being eroded each congressional cycle by those who would seek power for themselves or their party.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”
No truer words have been spoken, and we are seeing that play out before our eyes.