A Reasonable Man

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of grim-faced, shrill-voiced ideologues of the right and the left rhetorically wagging their fingers in our faces and telling us the sky is falling or will fall if we don’t agree with them. There are more important things in life than President George Bush. Beating up on and defending the president seem to be the only political discussions going on, at least on cable television.

That’s why T.V. Weber’s book on the Constitution and its original intent is such a pleasant surprise. Mr. Weber follows the truth even into politically incorrect territory, but he tells his story and makes his arguments with a light touch and a bit of humor. In short, he sounds like that person in such short supply these days — a reasonable individual.

We should always start our discussions with the proposition that there is no such thing as an insolvable political problem. Bad officeholders can be replaced; bad laws can be repealed or amended; judicial precedents can be ignored; bad judges can be removed. All that any of those things require are an aroused public and an organized effort. If anything can be said to be un-American, it is for an American to give up and buy into the false notion that "you can’t fight city hall." Of course you can. It might not be easy, but it is definitely doable.

Americans successfully revolted against British rule, slavery was abolished, Reconstruction was ended, segregation laws were repealed, women were given the right to vote, and Prohibition was passed and then repealed. All of these were things the fainthearted would have said couldn’t be done.

With that in mind, Mr. Weber’s book, The Crumbling Wall Against Tyranny, A/K/A the United States Constitution, lays out in plain language what the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are all about and how the original meaning has been changed or perverted to the detriment of the American people’s liberty. He writes in plain English, with neither academic nor legal jargon to cloud the meaning.

Southerners in particular will appreciate his book because, following the truth, he recognizes that the South was on the side of the Constitution, which had created a voluntary union of sovereign states. The military defeat of the Southern armies did not negate the original intent of the Founding Fathers. Alexander Stephens, the Confederate vice president, remarked that "At Appomattox, we surrendered our swords, not our principles." The Confederate President Jeff Davis said, "Questions settled by force will inevitably arise again." And so they have.

The original intent was that the states would do 95 percent of the governing while the federal government would do 5 percent, exercising only those powers delegated to it by the states and spelled out in the Constitution. I think people are gradually beginning to realize that when it comes to government, local is better than state, and state is better than federal. We can face our local officials and even our state legislators, but it is much more difficult to have any influence over a federal official.

I’m not suggesting a revolutionary return to the agrarian America of the 19th century, but it is time for American citizens to read and understand their Constitution and begin to insist that public officials obey it. Congress, for example, has no authority whatsoever to legislate on matters that are intrastate. It has no Constitutional authority in such matters as education and welfare. Surely no one at this late date believes that federal involvement in education has been anything but a boondoggle and a disaster.

At any rate, read the book. This country, after all, belongs to the people and not the government. Its job is to protect our liberties, not to run our lives.

Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.