on a literal odyssey
A political storm has been brewing for the past few years and I believe that this painting is the first clear lightning bolt.
Why is Obama Stepping on the Constitution?
Well, is such an image unwarranted? As Jon clearly states, this painting of Barack Obama stepping on the Constitution is representative of not only Obama’s actions, but of the actions of past Presidents.
Some people will reject this painting, claiming that a President would never blatantly disregard the Constitution in such a way. You’re right. No President would ever want something like that on his record. So when it comes down to it, it’s really death by a thousand cuts.
Death by a thousand cuts? How is that?
Well, let’s get one thing clear: the Constitution is a document which spells out a government of limited, enumerated powers. America’s Founding Fathers knew, first hand, just how dangerous excessive power could become and they labored to ensure that no one person would get too much, unchecked power.
But for decades now, the Constitution has been slowly chipped away by power-hungry politicians. In the last decade alone we’ve witnessed the Federal Government grow as quickly as its own appetite: Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, entitlement programs, trillion-dollar deficits, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federal bailouts, GM, stimulus packages, health-care overhauls, the takeover of auto industries, economic regulations, and deficit spending…just to name a few.
With the Federal Government expanding its power and dipping its hands and arms into the economy (creating the now infamous statement “too big to fail”) they have created a political, social and economic climate wherein we find “forgotten” men and women. The Founding Fathers strove, to the best of their ability, to give rights and power to the people. But as time has gone on, the Federal Government has taken much of that power from the people.
To put it simply, the Federal Government has stepped on the Constitution whenever they step outside of its boundaries.
…and step on the forgotten men and women.
The Constitution’s Cancer
Now for some strange reason, there is a frightening trend growing among some Americans. They want the Federal Government to have more power. Some look to the Federal Government for answers through programs and laws and are actively seeking help through handouts and professed humanitarian legislation. I have deep misgivings about looking to the Federal Government as an example of “charity.” Why is that? Well, ask the Native Americans about promises broken. Ask the Japanese immigrants during World War II about protection of rights. Ask the African-Americans about equality under the law. The United States Government has a sinister history of legislating and working against the least popular crowd. Today’s least popular? Capitalists, small business owners and proponents of a limited government (isn’t that ironic?).
Of all these things, however, one of the most threatening ideas that is currently being entertained is the idea of “redistribution of wealth,” of “leveling the economic playing field.” In one word: Socialism. Socialism is, by very definition, the exact opposite of a government of limited powers. It is literally not compatible with the Constitution—it’s the Constitution’s cancer.
Nevertheless, Barack Obama is a major advocate of redistributing the wealth:
“If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court…the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society…It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution…generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.”
And to Joe the Plummer he said:
“It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance at success, too… My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody…I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”
“I think…it’s good for everybody.” It isn’t. History is replete with example after example after example of how Socialism simply doesn’t work. It actually causes far more damage.
Remarkably, our Founding Fathers knew this. They knew that it was the role of government to give an equal protection of “rights,” and not involve itself in the equal distribution of “things.” Samuel Adams himself warned against the unconstitutional dangers of what we now call Socialism. He said:
The Utopian schemes of leveling [redistribution of the wealth] and a community of good [central ownership of the means of production and distribution], are as visionary and impractical as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional. (William V. Wells, The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams, 3 vols. [Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1865], 1:154) page 30
Every election cycle, I hear the same petty arguments. Each candidate proposes new programs, new initiatives, new agencies to “help the poor” and “create jobs.” But in the end, it all boils down to one question: That’s fine that you want to do that, but how are you going to do it without taking away rights and property (money) from someone else?
Consider this interesting assessment:
Those on the receiving end of [any Socialist program] may think this is very “just” to take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.” They may say, “This is the way the government provides equal justice for all.” But what happens when the government comes around and starts taking from those who count themselves “poor”? They immediately declare with indignation that they have “right” in the property the government gave them. The government replies, “WE decide who has right in things.”
The power given to the government to take from the rich automatically cancelled out the principle of “guaranteed equal rights.” It opened the floodgate for the government to meddle with everybody’s rights, particularly property rights.
When the Communists seized power in Hungary, the peasants were delighted with the “justice” of having the large farms confiscated from their owners and given to the peasants. Later the Communist leaders seized three-fourths of the peasant land and took it back to set up government communal farms. Immediately the peasants howled in protest about their property “rights.”
Those who protested too loudly or too long soon found that they not only lost their land, but also their liberty. If they continued to protest, they lost their lives. (Cleon Skousen, The 5,000 Year Leap, pgs. 116-117)
But despite the overwhelming historical evidence against the dangers of Socialism, our Federal Government continues to flirt with the idea.
So What Now?
The only redistributive change which I support, is the redistribution of the power which the Federal Government has amassed over the past century and putting it back into the hands of the We The People.
But the Federal Government (and the current administration) has consistently shown contempt for empowering the people and have instead preferred making people and businesses dependent on the government.
We therefore find ourselves in a precarious position. Our government is flirting with and openly advocating Socialist ideals, our Administration appears to be drunk with its own power and is spending without regard, our President refuses to take responsibility for anything and we are now laden with an incomprehensible debt of 14 trillion dollars.
For these reasons, and more, I decided to help Jon promote his painting: The Forgotten Man.
Because I hope that America will not just sit there (like Forgotten Man) but will stand up for (not upon) the Constitution.
“The Constitution…approaches nearer to perfection than any government hitherto instituted among men.” -George Washington
Watch the SEQUEL to “The Forgotten Man”: “Wake Up, America!”