How many Senators does California have?
How should I know? I live in New York.
OK. How many Senators does New York have?
I dont know. Five? Six?
Name the three branches of government. Republican, Democrat and. . . Independent?
Jay Lenos Jay Walking often pointed out how little people know about our Constitution. Many were college aged; some striving to become educators. Almost all were stumped by simple questions about our Constitution and system of government. However, asked about American Idol or the Kardashians, the answer was usually quick and accurate.
We who grew up in a time when the Constitution and government was considered an important area of study in our educational development, laugh in wonder and concern.
Our system of government, our rights, our greatness as a nation, is a result of a four-page document along with 27 amendments that has successfully governed a country longer than any other in the galaxy.
Radical in design, it told those governing what they could not do. Government was not ruling, as with a king, queen or czar, but governing according to a pre-agreed upon set of standards.
It assured rights for citizens and states. It retained for the federal government limited powers to protect us and our freedoms.
Designed within it was a very slow, deliberative process to make changes. This established the firm foundation and the protected rights needed for people to grow their wealth and live their lives free and independent of the government. And we did!
Slowly, as we grew in wealth and power, more and more of our politicians found they could devise new programs to redistribute wealth and fund their programs through higher taxes.
According to reports, 70 percent of the Presidents 2015 budget would be direct payments to individuals.
Additionally, Congress relinquished its power to the President through the creation of large bureaucracies. These departments, managed by the Executive, have grown exponentially in power and impact on our lives. They have shut down businesses, bankrupt individuals and wasted billions while doing comparatively little good.
The President promised he would use Executive Orders to work around Congress. The Executive Order process is a common practice for Presidents.
What was interesting to me was the motive for issuing orders and that Congress stood and cheered as they were told they were going to be made irrelevant.
My concern is the rate in which the knowledge and application of the Constitution has deteriorated and its impact on us as a nation.
Our debt is up. Jobs are down. The governmental foundation needed to flourish as an economic powerhouse is unstable, often changing in fits and starts with the stroke of a pen. Frequently, we trade what works for what sounds good.
Americans are famous for finding ways around an intrusive and overreaching government, and its no different this time. We dont give up.
However, knowledge and understanding of the Constitution by the populace is key to our survival as a nation.
We need to demand that our leaders rein in the powers of the bureaucracies and our debt, and follow the Constitutional process in creating and executing laws.