How to Take Back Your Constitution by Holding Local Politicians Accountable

John R. McAlister
Gahanna City Councilman

We all know that Congress and the President consistently violate their oath to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.” But did you know that every local politician also takes an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and of their state?

As a local official, I decided that I would uphold that oath by voting NO on certain city ordinances funded by unconstitutional federal money.

Before a city can spend money, the Council has to vote on the ordinance authorizing the expenditure. In order to uphold my oath, I have had to vote NO on many such ordinances which were politically difficult. I’ve had to vote NO on buying three police cruisers with “drug money” taken in a drug raid. Why? Because the “war on drugs” is a totally unconstitutional policy.

I’ve even had to vote NO on a “safe sidewalks to schools” grant. Why? Because there is no authority in the enumerated powers of Congress, which grants the federal government the right to give money to cities.

Why are so many local politicians violating their oath? It’s because the average citizen is not calling them on it. If we the people are ever going to have a Constitution that has any teeth, then we will have to give it meaning by confronting local politicians who violate their oath. When the next local election comes up, the Constitution can be made the issue by making it known how many times an incumbent violated his or her oath.

A simple action plan

Just ask your neighbor if he or she thinks it’s right for their local politician to violate their oath to the Constitution. If your neighbor says, “No it’s not right”, you’ve got a chance to make a convert out of him or her and explain the original meaning of Article I, Section 8. So now you’ve got two people monitoring the local votes. Two can become four in the same manner and four can become eight, etc.
This is a movement that requires no national organization or money-raising. It is a movement that could “go viral” with emails, youtubes, blogs, etc.

Article I, section 8

Every American respects the U.S. Constitution, but most have not read Article I, section 8. There are only about 25 powers granted by the Constitution to the federal Congress. This section is known as the “enumerated powers” of Congress and is the “rule book” which limits the powers that Congress is supposed to live by.

The Declaration of Independence says people are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” and “that to secure these rights, governments are instituted.” It’s important for everyone to understand Article I, Section 8 because when Congress violates their enumerated powers, they violate our rights rather than secure them.

The Davy Crockett story

We must all take a stand like one of Davy Crockett’s constituents who confronted Crockett for voting federal monies to help people burned out of their homes.

When Crockett sought re-election, the constituent called Crockett on the carpet for violating the Constitution by saying: “The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.”

When scores of people start confronting their local politicians in the same manner that Crockett was confronted, the U.S. Constitution will once again take its place as a means to limit the Federal Government.

How to monitor your local politicians

Every political body has an agenda that is printed up ahead of the political body’s meeting. The agenda is a public document. Most cities discuss the upcoming ordinances which are open to the public. Many times the ordinances, which are being funded by federal money, are put on the agenda. There’s no discussion and these ordinances are routinely passed. Thus, the council members violate their oath to uphold the Constitution because Article I, section 8 does not authorize Congress to give money to local governments.

Most U.S. Representatives and Senators started out in local politics. If we sent only those people to higher office who upheld the Constitution at the local level, wouldn’t we begin to see the Constitution honored in Washington D.C.?

Alexis de Tocqueville said,

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” These bribes come right down to the local level in the form of “federal spending programs.”

It’s time to stop taking the bribes and start holding local politicians accountable to defend the Constitution of the United States.

Copyright 2009, John R. McAlister.

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