Congressmen take an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. This is their job description: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
When my congressman, Allen West, announced his support and co-sponsorship of the Safe Teen and Novice Uniform Protection, or STANDUP Act, I was appalled, as were other conservative Republicans who have seen the encroachment of the federal government into every area of our lives. No one wants teens driving recklessly, but is it the job of Congress to do something like this about it? Conservative, limited-government citizens say no.
Emphatically. First, obviously, it is the parents’ responsibility. Second, the states and local governments make traffic rules, not Congress. The 10th Amendment clearly states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Of the 41 members of the House who sponsored this latest attempted incursion by the federal government on states’ prerogatives, only four are Republicans; no Republicans in the Senate are sponsors. That is to be expected, as the Democrats from Obama on down have little respect for the Constitution or the cost of anything, as our $17 trillion debt attests. Republican representatives are expected by most of their constituency to keep their oaths in doing the nation’s business as public servants, not as a nanny.
At a March 14 Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee meeting, a committeeman, Steve Ledewitz, stood up and made the point clearly that he could find no authorization in the U.S. Constitution for the federal government to do this. This is another nanny state overreach by politicians who want to be loved, so they use emotion to get publicity that they are helping save lives. West’s defender on this issue was his chief of staff, who answered Ledewitz’s criticism shamelessly, using a child in his arms as a prop.
One of the comments to the BizPac Review article that reported the incident at the REC meeting stated, “Right on Allen West! Who can be against efforts to protect teens from their own inexperience and impetuosity?” The obvious answer is “nobody.” And if, as a parent-citizen, West would have contacted his state representative to encourage adoption of this kind of law, nobody would be against it.
Don’t our elected representatives have more serious matters to attend to that actually are constitutionally relevant – like working on our enormous and unsustainable deficits? They say they are “for the children” – well, what about how they are spending them into an indebted, limited future?
As an early and ardent supporter of West for Congress, it is an understatement to say I am disappointed, not only to see this extra-constitutional ploy but also his votes for the debt-ceiling increase and against across-the-board spending cuts, like the Jordan Amendment that excluded the military. We must keep after our elected representatives, or nothing will change.
I still have the “West for Congress” bumper sticker on my car from 2007. This is not against Allen West personally, as I still very much admire him and Angela and their daughters. It is my obligation to my children and grandchildren. I want them to inherit a free and prosperous country. I specifically helped elect West to reverse the slide to socialism, which is now on a fast track.
It is not unusual in congressional politics for high hopes for our representatives to be dashed as they get into the Washington culture and experience the pressures from leadership and, especially, the pressure to get re-elected. It is often noted that many conservative candidates promise to go up there to drain the swamp, but when they get there, they find it is a hot tub. I’m not saying West is at that point, but there’s a lesson that must be learned: We must be ever vigilant, as the price of liberty is too high.
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