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February 18, 2016

Thoughts on the Primaries

Like many Americans, I am concerned about the state of this nation and indeed the world. So, naturally, I have followed the political brouhaha unfolding during the selection process this presidential election cycle. While this process, both Republican and Democrat, is certainly entertaining to the political pundits and aficionados, it can only be disturbing to an American concerned about the national direction and future of the United States of America.

The Democrat candidates, one an avowed “Socialist” and the other a “Progressive,” tell us that there must be more federal government spending, more federal taxes and certainly more federal programs. Yet since 2000 federal revenue is up 80%, federal spending is up 119% and the GDP rose 98%. According to any Democrat assessment, we as a nation should be basking in the lap of luxury. Why then has total national debt — federal, state and local — risen 153% since 2000? Why is our debt to GDP ratio now 104%? Why is 14% of our population living in poverty? Why has the nation lost over 7,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000? Why is the annual rate of new home sales less than half today than it was in 2000? If government spending and income-leveling tax policies are the answer to a stagnant economy, as the Democrat candidates seem to suggest, why are we not living in booming times for everyone?

The Republican candidates on the other hand are presenting the American people a political circus built around accusations, recriminations and outright false promises of good fortune for all. There is nothing new about this approach. It has been the mainstay of politics in this nation since its inception. What is new is the defeatist tone of the campaigns. The United States of America is no longer an exceptional example of self-governance in the world but must be made great again, says one candidate. All the candidates say if they are elected prosperity will abound and without them the American people and this grand experiment of self-governance will perish. Some say they will all by themselves, it seems, cut federal spending, cut taxes, eliminate federal programs and rescind all the onerous programs of the Obama administration. Laudable goals, but we the American people are not electing a king or queen. We are electing a chief administrator with powers supposedly limited by the Constitution of the United States. A constitution that whoever is elected as president will take a mandated oath to defend and preserve.

The “elephants in the room” are Congress that in recent years has all but abrogated its power to the president and a Supreme Court bent on writing law rather than interpreting the Constitution. The effect has been a president assuming powers the Constitution never intended to be a part of the presidency. Are any of the candidates worthy of being emperor of the Unites States? Will the new president relinquish that power? I think not.

Lost in the media-driven reality show of the primaries is the Idea that this nation is a Republic instituted by a Constitution that created three coequal branches of government. The newly elected president, whoever he or she is, will not be able to solve the problems of this nation by him or herself. If Congress continues its partisan bickering and ineffectual governance and refuses to take its rightful place in government and the Supreme Court gets even greater power to make law instead of just interpreting the Constitution as required, then our Constitution will become just another meaningless piece of parchment sitting in an archive. At that point “We the People” may very well not only end this great experiment of self-governance but lose our Liberty as well.

Make no mistake, there will be a winner and there will be losers in this campaign cycle. Let’s just hope that the American people are not the losers.

“A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, Can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever.” —John Adams

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