Did you hear last week’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), wherein a senior leader said that the actions of many elected officials in Washington, specifically the President, are increasingly moving the nation to a possible revolution? I’d be surprised if you had. The hearings were buried under several others linked to the ACA, Halgiv v. Sebelius, and other provisions that many news outlets chose to forgo coverage in favor of “friendlier” stories. But here is the summary;
In his statement, Michael Cannon, director of the Cato Institute’s Health Policy Studies, was quoted,
“There is one last thing to which the people can resort to if the government does not respect the restraints that the Constitution places on the government. Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it. That is certainly something that no one wants to contemplate. If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws then they will conclude that neither are they.” (Newby 2013)
Mr. Cannon testified with Jonathan Turley on what the Cato Institute has determined to be, gross and continual Constitutional violations by the President and his cabinet while implementing the ACA and other measures of legislation. Further transcripts of Mr. Cannon and Turly’s narrative can be found at both a Forbes and Christian Science Monitor article documenting their testimony, so I will forgo delving into it. (Cannon 2013) (Richey 2013)
However, Mr. Turley, Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, said in a statement no less foreboding,
“In recent years, I have testified and written about the shift of power within our tripartite government toward a more Imperial Presidential model. Indeed, I last testified before this Committee on the assertion of President Obama that he could use the recess appointment power to circumvent the Senate during a brief intersession recess. While I viewed those appointments to be facially unconstitutional under the language of Article I and II (a view later shared by two federal circuits), I was equally concerned about the overall expansion of unchecked presidential authority and the relative decline of legislative power in the modern American system. The recent non-enforcement policies add a particularly menacing element to this pattern. They effectively reduce the legislative process to a series of options for presidential selection ranging from negation to full enforcement. The Framers warned us of such a system and we accept it – either by acclaim or acquiescence – at our peril”. (Turley 2013)
So here we are. A non-partisan think tank on one side, and a college law professor who admittedly was a supporter of President Obama publicly testifying to Congress that not only is the President violating the Constitution, but also is acting more like King than President by bypassing the democratic process. Mr. Cannon and Turley also came right out to Congress and warned them that if things don’t change, their actions (or lack of) may very well push an increasing element of the United States citizenry towards revolution (although both men fell short of detailing what “type” of revolution they anticipated). Mr. Turley also expounded that this approach of bypassing Congress runs the very real risk of transcending the current Presidency, and could later be used as a weapon by both parties in retaliation for past grievances. In essence, power is rapidly becoming the new standard in Washington and not the electoral process. The people are less represented now more than ever and could explain why, according to a November Gallup Poll, the public approval for Congress is at an all time low (less than 9%). (Newport 2013)
Perhaps this gives voice to the current moves in both domestic politics and internal security? The increasing militarization of police forces, “transitions” in military leadership and policies, domestic surveillance, and the ever-growing dependency by citizens for welfare assistance. Congress is well aware that people in the US are increasingly pissed off on both sides of the aisle. And the less Congress represents the will of the People, the less Congress is involved in the passage and implementation of laws, the more the President will be noted as bypassing the democratic process and appear dictatorial. I can’t help but really wonder that unless things change relatively soon, with external factors like economic pressures, foreign policies, and natural disasters, at what point do the sheep wake up and realize this all can’t continue? That our freedoms and individual liberties have been more reduced than at any other time in American history (thanks in large part to former President Bush’s Patriot Act and the expansion of domestic surveillance by Obama)? Eventually the pendulum has to swing back the other way – be it through peaceful means or something else. I pray for the former and not the latter because when so many are suddenly forced “awake” seldom do they do so calmly.
Cannon, Michael F. Congressional Testimony: The President’s Failure To Execute Faithfully The PPACA. December 3, 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelcannon/2013/12/03/congressional-testimony-the-presidents-failure-to-execute-faithfully-the-ppaca/ (accessed December 9, 2013).
Newby, Joe. Expert to Congress: Obama’s illegal behavior could spark armed revolt. December 4, 2013. http://www.examiner.com/article/expert-to-congress-obama-s-illegal-behavior-could-spark-armed-revolt (accessed December 9, 2013).
Newport, Frank. “Congressional Approval Sinks to Record Low .” Gallup: Politics. November 12, 2013. http://www.gallup.com/poll/165809/congressional-approval-sinks-record-low.aspx (accessed December 9, 2013).
Richey, Warren. Obama ‘crossed the constitutional line,’ House panel is told. December 3, 2013. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2013/1203/Obama-crossed-the-constitutional-line-House-panel-is-told-audio (accessed December 9, 2013).
Turley, Jonathan. “The President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws.” Committee on the Judiciary United States House of Representatives. Jonathan Turley. December 3, 2013. http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/113th/12032013/120313%20Turley%20Testimony.pdf (accessed December 9, 2013).