From time to time, our high-tech society needs a reboot. Heck, even the venerated TV shows and movies are being rebooted faster than a windows '95 PC. Just look at Star Trek.
It's time to reboot America. And the first thing we need to change is how we live according to the Constitution.
There are two words I want everyone to remember when we do this. They are "verbatim" and "literal." In the case of the Constitution, we need to read it with the former and apply it with the latter. The days of interpreting it or translating it or even allowing it to evolve should fade into history.
If you simply read the document from "cover-to-cover" you should notice two distinct sections. The first is the preamble stating the overall, big picture, goals that the Constitution is intended to accomplish. The second section comprises the actual articles and amendments that make up the execution portion. They tell us exactly how to accomplish each item in the preamble.
A verbatim reading will demonstrate that the Constitution is a limit on the federal government's power over the states and the people. The only reference material you need is a dictionary published on or near the same date as the document was written. Online, you can use the 1828 Webster. If anyone knows of an on-line dictionary that uses the definitions in use in the 1780's, throw us a link please.
The second word we need to focus on is "literal." We need to apply the Constitution in a strictly literal manner. This means that anything not literally (explicitly allowed) in the Constitution needs to be discarded, or amended.
Here are just a few things that exist today that are not explicitly authorized by the Constitution:
- The United States Air Force
- The United States Coast Guard
- The Department of Education
- The Department of Energy
- The Department of Health and Human Services
Let's start with a reality check each item. In the 21st century, do we need an Air Force? I hope you agree when I emphatically say YES. A little background is in order right about now. The Air Force is the youngest of our Armed Forces. And, nowhere in the Constitution is it authorized to exist. There are explicit provisions for an Army and a Navy. The Marines are part of the Navy and thus are constitutional. The Air Force was originated as part of the Army. However, in 1947, they split from the Army and became a co-equal force in their own right. At that point, they became unconstitutional.
The solution is obvious. Congress or a convention of the states must write and ratify an amendment allowing the Air Force to exist as a separate entity. In fact, each functional area of our government must be vigorously debated to see if it is truly "need to do," "good to do" or "nice to do."
If it is a "need" function, then add it to the list of things to be amended. I personally would support an amendment to allow the Air Force, NASA, and the Coast Guard to exist.
I would say that those items that fall into the “good” area need more discussion to see if it is truly in the nation's interest to centralize the function. The EPA and Department of Energy come to mind.
Is your pet agency or service in the "nice" column? I'd send it to the states to administer. When it goes back to the states, we then get the benefit of multiple laboratory testing. Hopefully a leaner, more tailored to the local need, process will evolve.
Do you think that this is an absurd or unrealistic way to read and apply our Constitution? If you do, I’d ask that you honestly consider the following. Our Constitution forms the basis of all U.S. law. U.S. law in the courts is read verbatim and applied literally. I have appeared before a judge to contest a speeding ticket. I explained that the limit was made back in the day when cars were less safe and less responsive. I argued that the speed limit was intended to maintain safety and that with modern cars, safety could be maintained at 72 mph. The judge listened with a faint smirk that might remind one of Vice President Biden on debate night.
"The statute states that you shall not exceed the posted speed limit," he said.
At that moment, I knew all was lost. The posted speed limit was 55 mph. Thus, I was in violation. And, since speed limits are constitutional, I had no defense. Pay the clerk on the way out.
Contracts are also read verbatim and applied literally.
Finally, is there anyone who would like to tell me what so-and-so said in Federalist xxx? How about a quip in a letter to the Greek Orthodox Heathen Jews of Kissmybutt New Jersey? I can tell you that it doesn't matter. Not even a little bit. I will tell you that what is written today will not evolve to mean something different in one hundred or one thousand years. I will tell you that every word of every clause was written, argued, edited, rewritten, reargued, and finally agreed upon ... by a committee. So, we cannot read the intent unless you have a Ouija board and a channel to all the framers.
All it takes to begin this reboot is for the apathetic masses to get together and begin voting. We need statesmen who will push for a realistic review and work the process to a logical conclusion. That is where you come in. You are not apathetic or you would not be reading this, and hopefully honing your comments in support of it. You are the person who must share this idea with friends and neighbors. And you must help to put it in front of those who don the mantle of leadership.