These are the first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution. Some of these are more relevant than others in the 21st century, but each has its place. There is much debate lately, particularly over the first two of these ten amendments: freedom of speech and the right for each American to bear arms, if desired.
Prefacing the Bill of Rights, though, is a “Preamble” which seems to clarify most things.
WHO? ~ We the people of the United States,
WHY? What is the PURPOSE of this document?
in order to form a more perfect union,(to improve our governing system over the Articles of Confederation)
establish justice,(devise a system of Laws that apply to ALL American citizens equally)
insure domestic tranquility,(establish and maintain internal peace between different faiths, races, cultures)
provide for the common defense,(establish, train, and maintain a military might to protect our borders and American interests)
promote the general welfare,
and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,
(what?)do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
**DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a legal expert, nor do I claim any legal authority other than Common Sense which is not really so common these days.
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Of all of the clauses contained in the Preamble, none have come under more scrutiny lately than the “general welfare” clause. The others are pretty self-explanatory, but the meaning of “general welfare” has changed over the decades, or has it?
Clearly, when our nation was conceived, none of the Founders foresaw the availability of health insurance or food stamps. Neither would they have ever considered Social Security or Medicare. But are these programs contained within the meaning of “general welfare?”
“The power brokers in Congress and Barrack Obama are hell-bent on convincing the American public that they have the right to enact health care and energy mandates based on the General Welfare reference in the U.S.Constitution … The General Welfare reference in the U.S. Constitution was meant only to provide support for the individual States to have national defense and provide a basis for the States to be able to conduct their own affairs.”
I mean, think about it! If the Founders had intended for the government to provide food, housing, and employment for its citizens, wouldn’t that have begun at the beginning? Wouldn’t President Washington have built stockpile warehouses filled with provisions of food and building supplies to pass out to needy citizens? But they didn’t! WHY? Because they were heartless and cruel? Because they are all independently wealthy and it never occurred to them? NO! They didn’t write it that way because they didn’t intend for government to “take care of” its citizens. The provision within the Constitution simply allows for each individual citizen or family unit to do whatever is necessary, within legal means, to meet their needs.
From the beginning of time, there have been “poor” people, and chances are pretty good that we will always have a segment of our society that is “poor.” People are “poor” for a number of reasons. Some are mentally or physically unable to take care of themselves. These individuals become the responsibility, first, of family. Whether the “differently-abled” person is a child, a senior, or someone in between, if there is family, these have the moral responsibility to provide or care for the individual. This is how history records it.
After the family, if and when the family needs help, there is no family, or the family is unable to carry their family member, morally the “faith community” may be contacted for assistance or the local community. We’re all familiar with the concept of the “Good Samaritan.” (Luke 10:25-37) Early in our nation, people actually LIVED this way. If a “neighbor” needed help, needed a cup of sugar, needed help birthing a baby, needed help repairing their home … it was just assumed neighbors would pitch in both time and supplies. People KNEW their neighbors, and even if they weren’t the best of friends, there was still a common bond that implied a moral responsibility to help.
Our nation faces a serious cultural, moral, & humanitarian issue that is bankrupting us. The establishment of the many social programs created under an exaggerated definition of the “general welfare” clause, may seem at first glance to serve a humanitarian need. Medicare, for example, provides tremendous assistance to Seniors who generally experience increasing health concerns with a fixed income. This seems like a good thing, especially the way it was originally designed – more like a “savings account” working adults deposit into through their career, so it is there when they can no longer work.
Unfortunately, past administrations abused their authority and SPENT the money you and I earned. So now, this adminstration’s answer is to raise taxes on Americans – ALL working Americans – to pay for government’s inability (more accurately, their unwillingness) to reign in unnecessary, and in some cases, un-Constitutional spending. Medicare and Social Security were designed to be special “savings accounts” protected by the government for OUR use. OOOOOOPPPS! And now we want government to totally run our healthcare after squandering OUR money on the port along Alaska’s coast with no land access? or the bridge to no where? or any number of idiotic research projects? Yea … or the government that has bankrupted the Post Office? Or the government that sponsors a public education system that is something like 25th in math in the world while spending more money than ever? Do we really think the government knows our needs and how to meet them BETTER then we do?
How do you suppose Ben Franklin (a scientifically minded man) would respond to Obamacare or the backing of foreign governments that seek our harm?
What this debate comes down to is the definition of “promote the general welfare.” It doesn’t say “provide.” It says to “promote.” There is a huge difference between the promotion of something and the provision of it. The CONSTITUTION clearly states the objective is to “promote the general welfare.” It is not the government’s responsibility to be our “brother’s keeper. Its OURS! The government is only called upon to promote volunteerism, to promote community, to promote free trade, to promote intrastate commerce.
Feel free to explain the administration’s justification for these grievous infringements on OUR rights. See, if we sit back and expect the government to do what we, as citizens, are morally and socially obligated to do, not only does the government overstep its boundaries and incur outrageous debt, but it also robs you and me of the blessings, the gratification, and the sense of community that binds us together as a people who cares for one another. Open the competition for health insurance so they can vie for our business. This will improve service and lower prices all the way around. It is government regulation, price fixing, and union interests that distort the free market system.
READ the Preamble again. It is WE-the-PEOPLE who define the purpose of government. WE-the-PEOPLE must choose whether
- to be free to make decisions for ourselves or
- PAY to allow others with zero motivation to really care, make our decisions for us.
It really has become an either/or situation.
Election 2012, whichever side you took, lost! This administration believes we are not intelligent enough to make our own decisions. They believe every American must pay for the abortions of those with no morals or who cannot afford another child rather than expecting American adults to take responsibility for their own behavior. They believe every women is unable to pay for her contraception, so we all must pay for it. They believe every working American must pay for universal health care for those who choose not to work. (No debate over those unable to work!)
I submit we expect far too much from our government. They can’t even come up with a workable budget, let alone manage all we have abdicated to government control. Government is supposed to facilitate not manage.
I submit, we are robbing ourselves, and more importantly, our children and theirs, of the rich rewards of self-reliance.
I submit, WE-the-PEOPLE can still rise to the occasion and make America work again while we restore her freedoms.