You have permission to edit this article.

A republic ... if you can keep it

  • 1

Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin, 1787

It is alleged that after the Constitutional Convention approved the Constitution of the United States of America, that Ben Franklin, when confronted by a lady shortly after the vote, asked him “Do we have a monarchy or a republic?” He answered apparently, “A republic if you can keep it”...and so here we are a republic, can we keep it?

Democracy and our republic as designed by our Constitution was not structured to be efficient, it was structured to ensure that the American people had the ultimate say in how they would be governed. They did so this past November in a free and fair election choosing a new President and administration. It is important to note that our Constitution begins in its preamble, “We the people...” and it ends with the 10th Amendment, “...or to the people”.

All governmental power stems from “the people”. The Constitution for all practical purposes is a contract with the American people. In the preamble to the Constitution the document states that the people want: a perfect union, justice, be defended, and to ensure that the blessing of liberty are forever sustained to future generations of Americans. To do that they have given the Federal government certain enumerated powers in Articles One, Two, and Three. They also limit that power related to various liberties in the Bill of Rights in ten amendments.

The last amendment, the Tenth, is in someways the key to how the Republic functions in a democracy, it states that if the powers given to the Federal government are not listed in the Constitution, then that power is reserved to the fifty sovereign states or to the people. At the end of the day the Constitution is about how governmental power is shared with the Federal and State governments and the American people.

To ensure the “blessings of liberty” there is a check and balance to Federal power diffused into three co-equal branches the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The key term is “co-equal”, neither branch has any more power than is enumerated in the Constitution nor over the other branch. They are separate entities designed to govern our Republic. Simply put, the legislature makes all laws “necessary and proper”, the executive “faithfully executes those laws”, and the judiciary interprets those laws vis a vis the Constitution all to ensure that the “blessings of liberty” are protected and secured.

The various States have followed the Federal constitutional model to ensure that most of the governmental power given them under the 10th Amendment ensures that their citizens can be assured of the “blessings of liberty” exist in that State. Both Federal and State Constitutions exist only to ensure that all other power is with the American people, who participate in governing the Republic through voting, advocacy, and in joining either government.

Regardless, those American citizens who choose to be a part of government swear a sacred oath to “support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic”. There is no swearing allegiance to anyone person or entity, that would be despotism and would lead to tyranny, and anathema to the tenets of our Constitution.

This entire concept, this grand experiment of government “by the people, for the people” is based on the rule of law and the presumption that all governmental officials, elected or appointed, will comport their official and personal conduct to the law. Our Founding Fathers never contemplated a criminal President, an elected official who had no respect for the law and no understanding of his oath of office, yet we have have a criminal President who had done just that for four years, ignore, pervert, bend, and encourage violations of the law. Ben Franklin would have been appalled.

What has happened at the end of President Trumps lawless administration is an attempt by him, his administration, and his Republican enablers in the Congress to take away the power from the American people granted in the Constitution and use it for their own personal and political gain. All these are “high crimes and misdemeanors” that subject this outgoing President to removal, as well as those elected and appointed Federal officials who suborned the acts of this criminal President for four years, but most importantly the insurrection led by the President against another co-equal branch of government, ironically the “peoples branch”. This insurrection was an attempt to go against the will of the people who voted in a free and far election to oust him from government and seek their fortune with a new President. We’ve been doing this for well over two centuries, peacefully, with respect and with honor.

President Trump, his enablers, his followers, who took part in what amounts to an attempted coup against the Constitution and the American people should be held accountable under law, openly and fairly...but held accountable for their acts on or around 6 January 2021. This would include Congressman Madison Cawthorn who openly encouraged the rioters that morning and apparently had a concealed weapon unlawfully on the floor of the House of Representatives.

This accountability under law has nothing to do with political power or influence, this has everything to do with “keeping our republic” plain and simple. The choice is clear, tyranny or democracy under law. For those who have sided with President Trump and his enablers in Federal and State governments you are on the wrong side of history and the Constitution.

Again, Benjamin Franklin: "This Constitution…can only end in despotism…when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other."

*An American citizen who proudly took an oath of office twice to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United State, and who was privileged to have served the American people as an officer in the United States Army and as a member of the Senior Executive Service of the United States.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.

Load comments

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to read our premium content. If you have a subscription, please log in or sign up for an account on our website to continue.

Will the 'genie' go back in the bottle?

In this case, the “Genie” is telehealth services and the “bottle” is previous insurance and regulatory restrictions that often prevented its use.

Thanks to, or because of COVID-19 and the pandemic, health care providers have had to adapt ...

Read more

Mountaineer Newsletter