Once upon a time, the first Republican president gave us an important quote. In it, a lesson on the word “liberty.” Abraham Lincoln stated:
“The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name, liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names, liberty and tyranny.”
This past week the American people were given a very important lesson about constitutional governance, a vital one for our Republic. There can be no doubt that one of the most dysfunctional legislative bodies in these United States of America is the U.S. Congress. And, if our legislative branch is not operating within the enumerated powers, duties, and responsibilities as set forth in Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution, that has a watershed effect upon the other two branches of our government, executive and judicial.
Just last month, as a final act of the 117th Congress, we once again witnessed an unconstitutional action by the U.S. Congress. Congress is mandated each year to pass a budget, the only mandated responsibility. This is supposed to occur by passing twelve separate appropriations bills related to our discretionary spending. As they continue to fail in this constitutional duty, the Congress reverts to the status quo of waiting until the final days—this time in a lame-duck Congress—and presents a 4,220 page spending gumbo called an omnibus bill. No one reads this bill. It is not properly done through the appropriations process. It is not debated, and within 48-72 hours, $1.7 trillion in new spending is passed.
Then comes a new Congress and some members decide that it is time to restore constitutional governance and order to the dysfunctional U.S. House of Representatives. Over in the U.S. Senate, nothing changed, same old status quo, and no new challenge to failed leadership. Not so in the House of Representatives. Leadership in our Republic should be through elections—not coronations. It should not be regarded as a sense of entitlement. It should be earned.
Twenty Republican-elect members of the 118th Congress decided to not be a part of a coronation. They decided to pursue principles and policies that would restore constitutional governance and eradicate the dysfunction of the legislative body. They were assailed, attacked, and disparaged as enemies of the state, called Taliban Twenty, referred to as terrorists, and denigrated as the “Raucous Caucus.” All of this by political, media, and establishment elites who wanted the continuation of the status quo. When I was in Congress a decade ago the debt of the United States was about $11 trillion, and we were concerned. Today our national debt is at $31 trillion. Our economy is redlining. There have been those who have been in leadership in the House of Representatives during this spending nightmare—why not challenge?
Why do we not have a zero-based budgeting system in the U.S. Congress, instead of the baseline system that has brought us to this fiscal cliff? Why are we not passing the twelve separate appropriations bills and setting budgetary caps–ya know, what we all have to do in our homes? Why can’t we have a legislative process that promotes committees of jurisdiction doing their duty, debate, and open amendment process—not bills crafted in the Speaker’s office hidden from the American people?
There is a need for reform if there is to be a functional federal legislative body. Just like the lesson in liberty given by Lincoln—which is still relevant—the American people needed this open and transparent lesson in civics, which is not being taught anywhere else. America cannot survive with a soundbite, drive-by mentality if we are to preserve our constitutional republic. We should expect and demand adherence to constitutional governance.
In the end, it was all over in 96 hours, 15 ballots, and the 118th Congress was sworn in and a Speaker was selected. How long was the debate and process to write, establish, approve, and ratify our Constitution? Those who were displaying such trepidation and angst were acting like immature little children in the back of the car repeating, “are we there yet?” Who cares about the Democrats, the modern-day Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation, voting lockstep consistently for Rep. Hakeem Jefferies. The progressive socialist leftists are into groupthink, not independent thought. They are mindless lemmings who want to take us all over the cliff in the destruction of our Republic, and they despise our Constitution. They are indeed tyrants.
Be proud that you live in this nation where we can have open debate about constitutional governance by our elected representatives. For doggone sure, that ain’t happening in China, and many other countries. Hence the reason there are so many who wish to come to America.
We just ask those who wish to join in this great endeavor of self-governance to do so by respecting our rule of law, our Constitution. Over the past week, we got to see a vital lesson in constitutional governance, respect for our rule of law. Now we can get to the business of holding those accountable who do not respect and regard our rule of law, our Constitution. Well, that is it for now, class dismissed.
Steadfast and Loyal.
This article first appeared at Townhall.com