I was in Philadelphia last week, Thursday and Friday. I had a little time after the end of the advisory board meeting I attended, so I took a ride down to Independence Hall. I just stood there and reminisced on the history established there enabling me, and millions of others, to live in this exceptional country we call these United States of America.
Today is a special day, but I almost bet 60 percent, maybe more, of America does not have any idea what this day means for our nation. The title of this missive responds to a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin, one of our Founding Fathers. It was some 231 years ago, near where I was standing last Friday, that a woman, a Philadelphia socialite named Mrs. Powell, asked Benjamin Franklin a very important question, “Well, Doctor, what have we got – a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin famously replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
It was today, September 17, 1787 that the final deliberations on the U.S. Constitution ended at our Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia that had begun in May of that year. Of course, it would take another two years, 1789, before that which stands to this day as our rule of law was ratified. The sad reality is that most of America has no idea that today is Constitution Day. The utterly depressing reality is that there are those who could care less. After all, their desire is to fundamentally transform these United States of America.
The failure of our education, rather indoctrination, system is that we are no longer teaching civics. We are no longer enabling future generations of Americans to comprehend the system of governance that was established 231 years ago, there in Philadelphia. Therefore, we can have someone as President, the executive branch, remark at a State of the Union address to Congress, the legislative branch, that he has a pen and a phone, and he will do as he pleases. Astonishingly enough, some members of the legislative branch stood, cheered, and applauded. I guess those sage words of Benjamin Franklin have indeed come home to roost.
This leads me to ask you, the reader, the following: can our constitutional republic survive?
My response is simple, no, not if the current level of ignorance prevails and is accepted. If we do not teach the writings of those whom our Founding Fathers read – John Locke, Montesquieu, and others – to establish this nation, then we have no concept of natural rights theory, unalienable rights from the Creator, three co-equal branches of government, or checks and balances. If there are those who embrace the notion that our rule of law, our Constitution is just a recommendation not to be heeded when confronted by their ideological agenda, then unequivocally no, we will not keep this republic. And mind you, America is the longest running constitutional republic the world has ever known. America is not a democracy, and those saying so are a product of a failing education system.
When we fail to recognize the enumerated powers endowed to our respective branches of the federal government – Article I (Legislative), Article II (Executive), and Article III (Judicial) – our republic is threatened. If we do not read and understand the Bill of Rights, those first ten amendments that had to be included for the Constitution’s ratification, our Republic is in danger – that includes the Second Amendment.
Ponder this: the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was, and still is, an unconstitutional executive action. The enumerated power on matters regarding naturalization and immigration are expressly designated to the legislative branch in Article I of our Constitution, not Article II. As well, it is not the place of the judicial branch, Article III, to issue any decision demanding a subsequent presidential administration to abide by an executive order of a previous one. Furthermore, Article III confers the responsibility on the judicial branch to interpret our laws according to the Constitution. But DACA is not a law. It is an unconstitutional executive action. Perhaps if we brought back civics, more Americans would understand that.
See, our judicial branch does not exist to implement an ideological agenda. Its enumerated power is not to make laws. That is the function of our legislative branch since we have a representative democracy. Legislation is proposed and voted on according to our rule of law, our Constitution. If the bills, legislation, passes both of the houses in our bicameral system of governance – the U.S. House of Representatives (based upon population) and the U.S. Senate (equal representation of all states) – then it goes to the executive branch to be signed into law. And the executive branch is charged with upholding, implementing, executing our laws.
The Judicial branch does not make law. Hence why I find it absurd, unconstitutional, that anyone would abide by the Supreme Court saying that same-sex marriage is the law of the land based upon a 5-4 decision in the Obergfell v. Hodges case. Five unelected jurists do not make law in our constitutional republic. Perhaps that is why the progressive, socialist left is going apoplectic about the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court? And as part of our system of checks and balances, the U.S. Senate’s role in judicial nominations, per the Constitution, is to advise and consent. That does not mean judicial confirmation hearings become a litmus test for an ideological agenda.
Now, I will ask a second question: is the undermining of our Constitution intentional, or just a simple oversight?
My response is, again, simple: it is intentional. There is a reason why many Americans do not know that today is Constitution Day. There is a reason why our Founding Fathers who gave us this blessed constitutional republic are being attacked, assailed, demonized, and disparaged. There is a reason why we no longer teach civics, as it has been replaced by social studies. (What the heck does that even mean?) It means a system of ideological indoctrination is being taught within the halls of our schools. There is a reason why the left in America wants control of academia, our schools, and our courts.
At the end of this day, when your child comes home, ask them a question, “What did you learn in school today?” If they were not taught about the Constitution on Constitution Day, chances are they will never be taught it. And we certainly know that is the case on our college and university campuses.
Benjamin Franklin’s challenge to us 231 years ago is very relevant, as was Mrs. Powell’s question. We are losing our Republic because we are not teaching its merits to subsequent generations. There is a reason why I always carry a pocket Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. Do you?
Let me close with the words of a famous Statesman,
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.” – Marcus Tulius Cicero
We cannot keep this Republic if we allow it to be undermined from within, and that is the essence of Benjamin Franklin’s warning.
Happy Constitution Day, America!
Allen West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Mr. West is a Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center to support its mission to expose and neutralize liberal media bias and is author of the forthcoming book from Brown Books Publishing Group coming this fall, “Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death.”