My apology to those of you who expect to see a new post to this blog weekly or more often as was the case previously.  I’ve not been able to pull the trigger on many posts for a while, not that I haven’t started a few posts (8 drafts in the past three weeks – all even less complete than this).  There is so much going on, particularly in Washington, DC, that I just don’t really know where to start.

Maybe it’s time to get back to the main theme of this blog – Responsibility.

We Americans are a very fortunate people in that we (still) have certain freedoms.  However, with those freedoms come responsibilities.   For example, we believe that we have the right/are free to vote for the candidate of our choice to represent our views in directing our government.  Should we fail to vote, or should we fail to inform ourselves prior to voting, we will not have lived up to our responsibility and could lose this right/freedom.

Our elected leaders have been given power by virtue of being duly elected to office.   And, that power is generally defined by the Constitution such that there are limitations and checks and balances to that power.  With power comes the responsibility to wield the power in a just and legal way for the benefit of those who gave them the power.

Today we have a crisis of power abuse and lack of responsibility.  We have elected leaders to whom we have granted huge powers to effect our lives and many, if not most, of them have failed to live up to the responsibilities that go with the power.  And, many of them have usurped power beyond the limits set by the Constitution.

For illustrative purposes, here are some examples of elected leaders not living up to their responsibilities and/or usurping power not granted under the Constitution.

LBJ taking oath on board Air Force One - courtesy of usliberals.about.com

LBJ taking oath on board Air Force One – courtesy of usliberals.about.com

Take Lyndon Johnson who used an Executive order in 1965 to require contractors to the Federal Government to create programs to hire increased percentages of ‘minority’ workers.  The political climate at the time meant that there was no successful challenge to the constitutionality of this clearly legislative action.  The Constitution states that legislation (creation and modification of laws) is the purview of the Congress.  By creating a ‘law’ that suppliers and contractors must follow, Johnson was acting as a legislator, not an executive.  He was usurping power not granted in the Constitution.  It was the responsibility of the Congress to thwart this power grab with any means at its disposal, including Impeachment.  Congress did not live up to its responsibility.

Mr. Obama has done the same thing as Mr. Johnson did, by changing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  When he ordered the employer mandate (to comply with the law) be moved from 1-1-2014 to 1-1-2015, he modified the law.  He acted as a legislator.  He was usurping power not granted in the Constitution.  “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” – Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution.   Not only was he changing a law (a legislative function, not an Executive one), but, he was also changing taxation of the citizenry, another power clearly reserved for Congress.

Under the Presentment Clause (Article I, Section 7), after a bill has passed both Houses, but “before it becomes a Law,” it must be presented to the President, who “shall sign it” if he approves it, but “return it,” (“veto” it) if he does not. Nothing in this clause authorizes the President to amend or repeal a bill.

Congress, for its part, has not lived up to its responsibility to protect its constitutional duties from the other branches of government.  “The House of Representatives…shall have the sole Power of Impeachment. -Article I, Section 2, Clause 5.   Why has Congress not lived up to its responsibility?

Members of Congress swear an oath,

      “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.”

Sounds to me like our Congress Members are not living up to their Oath.  Same goes for the President.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”  “…he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed,”

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