on Kings

On July 4, 1776, a group of American colonists signed a letter of rebellion to the King of England. They wanted the freedom to live their lives as they saw fit and were weary of his constant intrusions into their personal business. They just needed their independence and therefore sent him a letter explaining why. Here are some of their grievances:

 “.. The history of the Present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

…He has refused his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

…He has erected a multitude of New Officers, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

…He has kept armies among us, in times of peace, Standing armies without the consent of our legislatures.

… He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

… He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation.

…For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by jury.

…For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

… He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us…”

Last week, President Obama made the unconstitutional appointment of three department heads, without the required advice and consent of the Senate, even while the Senate was in session and the House had not yet granted an official recess (all required under the US Constitution). It was then it hit me – our President is beginning to behave like old King George. At least that appears to be the case if you were to read the excerpt from the Declaration of Independence above. Anyone feeling a little Déjà vu?

At the time the Constitution was written, Congress was part time, as the legislators had other jobs back in their home states. So, when it went into recess, it was usually for months at a time, and therefore an accommodation had to be made for the reality that sometimes vacancies in the executive branch would occur while Congress was in recess. The recess appointment exception to the “advice and consent of the Senate” Constitutional rule was a practical acknowledgement of realty; it was not intended to be a loophole to avoid this intentional Constitutional check on executive power.

Our Constitution has a clearly delineated separation of powers for one reason:  accountability. Does that mean that our democracy is sometimes slow, deliberate, inconvenient, noisy and messy? Absolutely, but our Founders determined that a frustration of separate but equal powers was the best protection of liberty, which by the way, should be the ultimate goal of good government. A President may not like the reasons another branch may have for checking him, but it is designed that way in order to prevent a tyrannical and aristocratic government. What President Obama did was a dangerous unconstitutional precedent that must not be allowed to stand, as neither political party will be immune from its effects in the future. Do we really want to render Congress irrelevant, and be ruled over by this and future Presidents and those unelected judges and bureaucrats they appoint? How long do you think liberty will last under that scenario? The Democrats in Congress may be applauding Mr. Obama’s actions now, but he will not be President forever. One day a Republican will sit in the Oval office, and he will have at his disposal a precedent that a former Democrat President & a spineless Congress allowed to be set. Do we really think that a future President won’t also allow liberty to be sacrificed in the name of expediency, as Obama has done?

Mr. Obama, you are the American President. You took an oath to support and defend the Constitution at all times, not just at times convenient to you. You are the servant of the people. You are not our king, and should not be looking for ways to expand your power. Expediency is merely the first excuse used by tyrants. This is a republic, not a dictatorship. If you don’t like it, I can give you Egypt’s number. I hear they’re hiring.

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