The America I Love
David Alan Black
The Constitution of the United States is an
document. It is intended to be read and followed by all Americans. It is
the basic body of beliefs and principles upon which our government rests.
It is the foundation stone of our society—sturdy,
stable, and rooted deeply in the soil of freedom.
The underlying principles of American government,
which today are being assaulted in unprecedented ways, are the following:
- Governments in the United States were established
to aid and protect the people. It is the people who count, and
government exists only to further their well-being. The national
government was never intended to be all-powerful, as it is today. The
Constitution grants only a few enumerated powers to the national
government while reserving all other powers to the states and to the
people. This ideal differs from the concept of the all-powerful
government in fascist and communist countries, where the individual
exists only to strengthen the power of the state.
- The Constitution also guaranteed to the people
certain rights, acting as limitations upon the exercise of governmental
power. These rights were protected against government interference
through the national Constitution as well as through the various state
Constitutions. The first ten amendments to the federal Constitution,
known as the Bill of Rights, contain the bulk of our God-given rights.
These rights pertain primarily to personal liberty and personal
property. They guarantee freedom of speech, press, religion, and
assembly; the right to indictment by grand jury, trial by jury, and the
right to counsel; dues process of law; and just compensation and uniform
- The Founders were careful to assign certain
authority to specific officers or agencies of the government. Under the
doctrine of the separation of powers, the Congress was given lawmaking
powers, the president was given executive powers, and the judicial
branch was given judicial powers. Within the legislative branch,
bicameralism provided for a legislature with two separate but equal
bodies or houses. Such a separation of powers was considered necessary
in order to safeguard the liberties of the people. Theoretically, one
branch of government may not exercise the powers that have been granted
to another branch.
- The Founders also gave each branch of government
some degree of control over the other branches. Under the principle of
checks and balances, one branch would be prevented from overpowering
another branch. Thus, for example, the president could check the
legislature by vetoing a certain measure, while the legislature could
override the veto by an extraordinary vote.
- Above all, the Founders provided us with the
principle of federalism, which simply means that there is a division of
governmental power between the national government and state
governments. The national government possesses some powers (such as
those pertaining to foreign commerce), while the states possess other
powers (such as those pertaining to marriage and divorce). It was the
clear intent of the Founders to establish within the Constitution a
national government of enumerated and strictly limited powers, a principle reaffirmed by the
addition of the Tenth Amendment, which states: “The powers not delegated
to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the
States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People.”
You will notice that America was never intended to be
a democracy. A true democracy exists when people directly control and
exercise the powers of government. New England towns practiced this type
of democracy long ago. The United States, however, is a representative
democracy, that is, the people choose representatives— presidents,
governors, congressmen, state legislators—and instruct these people to act
for them in the enactment of laws and in policy-making. This is called a
republican form of government.
This is the America I love. This is the nation I long
to see reestablished. That our form of government has departed from its
foundations is readily apparent. I will cite but one example, though many
others could be given. Section 8, Clause 11, of the United States
Constitution states that Congress alone has the power to transform the
United States from a state of peace to a state of war. That is, only
Congress can authorize the United States to go to war. Our Founders
believed that this power should not be given to one person. So they placed
it in the hands of the Congress as representatives of the people. Recent
actions of George W. Bush with respect to hostilities in
Afghanistan and Iraq, where no formal declaration of war was made by
Congress, have raised serious constitutional questions. Although the
president is Commander-in-Chief, he does not possess unlimited control over
the armed forces.
Friends, it is time to return to biblical and constitutional principles in
our nation. This is the heartbeat of Dave Black Online. To that end
we publish articles that are intended to inform and encourage you. These
Christians Must Choose Whether They Will Serve God or the State
The Constitution Party: New Conscience of Conservative America
Finally, a True Conservative Who Will Fight for the Constitution
Why I Keep Fighting for America
Back to the Constitution!
The State Is Not Our Savior!
Mr. President: We Are a Republic, Not a Democracy!
Christians in Politics Must Stop Ignoring the Constitution!
It’s Time to Face Our Insane and Unconstitutional Budget Policies
If Liberty Mattered, We Wouldn’t Even Be Talking About School Vouchers
Isn’t It the Job of Government?
Defenders of the U.S. Constitution—Then and Now
There's a (New)
World (Order) of Difference between Patriotism and Nationalism
Our Magnificent Constitution
The Right to Homeschool Comes from God, Not Government!
The Best Welfare Reform? Abolish It Altogether!
Our Next President
A New Senate for America
As I said, the Constitution of the United States is a
precious document. It is intended to be studied and understood by all
Americans. It is the foundation of our government. But it will not
remain that sturdy rock unless we defend it and—more importantly—live by
April 1, 2004
David Alan Black is the editor of
www.daveblackonline.com. His latest book,
Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon,
will be released this year.
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