By Jim Beers
Unnoticed and unmentioned in all the hoopla recently about the black Harvard professor that had to break into his own home and the white officer trying to do his duty is a remark made by President Obama several days into the affair. The President said that some people think he should not have said anything about this local police matter but "I disagree". These final two words are very troublesome and dangerous for us all.
Our Constitution had (until recent years) done a pretty good job of keeping the central government specifically limited in scope, meaning in authority and in what matters they are to be responsible for administering. All else was to remain "reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." per the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution. The attitude of the President (and by acquiescence), his appointees, and the Congress to a President that might both "without knowing all the facts" and merely on his own whim declare a (national as in The Presidential or Monarchical sense) position on such a local matter is very, very troubling. Kings of old used to have people killed or imprisoned (in France the King merely had to issue a "Letter de cachet" and the hapless subject was imprisoned or exiled with no recourse to a court of law). The Founding Fathers specifically forbade (they thought) this with the strict role for the national government and all power vested in "States" or "the people".
There are several obvious reasons why the President's attitude is dangerous. There is the precedent when local matters go to local or State or Federal courts that "The President said" or simply the knowledge by Presidential backers or nation-lovers in juries and elsewhere that "The Leader" believes thus and so. There is the created policy potential that local bureaucrats or local or State politicians will "make an example" of the hapless citizens or in this case all police officers identified as having angered "The Leader" and his minions that do things like pass out money and patronage. What I would like to mention is something that, as an old veteran bureaucrat, I believe few are familiar with in this matter.
When the President says something like this about State or local matters publicly and in his capacity as President he sends a strong signal to his appointees, career-hungry bureaucrats, Congress, State politicians, and even State bureaucrats that "a way to get ahead (promotion, bonus, appointment, prestige, grants, favors, etc.) is to discover', expose, and recommend remedies for such instances that suddenly turn up everywhere." The "Secretary" or "Czar" proclaims racist police activity in (fill-in-the-blank). The power-hungry agency head recommends a budget initiative to wipe out racist police activity in State wardens. The Division Officer and the Regional Director ask for "more" for their initiative to document and eliminate racism in (fill-in-the-blank). The young bureaucrat-to-be reports racism in this that and everything. The State delegates and State appointees and State bureaucrats likewise ask for State funding to please The President whose favor they more and more covet. Cooperators and "partners" from certain "Reverends" and lobby groups are found to be all too ready to enable the whole affair in may ways and often undetected until they collect their share of the booty. "But wait (to quote the late great Billy Mays) there is more". The really bad part is yet to come.
As this whole tawdry thing plays out beyond this "beer" business a precedent both real and psychological is enshrined. If The President has a gripe about trapping, or hunting, or pet ownership, or private property rights, or cutting trees, or dams, or animal husbandry etc., etc., ad infinitum: all he need do is mention it a "Voila" the federal government grows into that area and bureaucrats and States and "the people" all bow down like the Scots were doing in that movie Braveheart when the King or his designee could claim new brides for their own instant gratification. The Constitution never envisioned nor could the Founding Fathers have imagined that we would ever become so fat, dumb, and happy that we would let such things take root among us. How many of you horse owners or fishermen or farmers or dog breeders ignored this matter thinking "it doesn't affect me"?
As long as we elect politicians (Federal and State, Democrat and Republican) that let this sort of thing slide, we will reap our own self-contrived whirlwind. When the dust settles the nation will look like Greensburg, Kansas after the tornado only there won't be a bunch of rich greenie outfits willing to put it back together as a model for others. No, our nation will remain in ruins in the eye of a political storm that has no intention of moving on once it has destroyed our nation to make it subject to their own instant gratifications.
Only if the Constitution can be resurrected and made the Supreme Law of the Land once again is there and Hope for any of us, including those that anticipate coming out "on top". The coming elections and Supreme Court rulings will tell the tale. Either we will rule ourselves except for the necessary State government functions and the few (defense and interstate commerce) needs for a central government or we will once again bow down when "The Leader (will he also swim the Yangtze River?) rides through town or face angering a Supreme Authority that grants or withholds "Rights" as suits his purposes. The choice is ours.
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