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Friday, November 14, 2008

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

We shouldn’t really
care who is president

Gee, you think anybody cared who won the presidential election?

From where I sit, it seemed that a pretty fair chunk of America really, really, really cared.

A week later, half the country is buying rifles and ammunition so fast gun store shelves are bare, and the other half of the country is walking around with that “I just saw the Messiah” stare, and asking me if, “I cried” when the TV news talking heads announced Obama had won.

But, stocking up on weapons of mass revolution, and crying when your guy wins (or loses) are not what is wrong. Those are symptoms.

What is wrong is that we care more than a little.

This is what is wrong with our nation, and is why we are on such a self-destructive path.

One day, we are going to elect the regime that pushes the other side too far, and we are going to succeed in splitting this country wide open. Maybe Obama’s rule will be the one. Maybe it will be the next guy. Maybe it will be a Republican, or maybe a Democrat. Only time will fill in the details – but at this rate, it will happen.

On that day, if history is any teacher, we will rediscover the long-forgotten fact that man had other means of solving differences of opinion before he came up with voting.

That will be a shame. I do not think you can love this country and not be saddened by the prospect of civil war.

And it does not have to be that way.

Our founding fathers handed us a set of rules to live by with an eye on avoiding such conflict – the Constitution – and this set of rules explicitly forbids the federal government from legislating, in any way, regarding the really deep down important stuff.

The Constitution relegates such matters to the states. Abortion, firearms, social programs, health care, were all the kinds of issues left up to the individual states.

By clearly delegating almost all maters to states other than those pertaining to national security, the founding fathers created a pressure valve to prevent just the kind of silliness we are now experiencing, or worse.

Under the Constitution, if the people of California wanted to allow 5th-trimester abortions, ban rubber-band guns, outlaw heterosexual marriage and force five-year-old children to attend sex education, they could.

Or, if the people of Texas wanted to require adults to pack heat, outlaw abortions, and teach nothing but “It’s a miracle” in science class, they could.

No, I would not be in complete agreement with either state.

But, there are fifty states. If one state passed laws that I simply could not abide by, I bet I could find one of the other 49 more to my liking.

Or, I could work to change my state’s laws.

Austin may not be close, but it is a lot closer than Washington. An actual person has a chance of affecting the law of a single state.

I can drive to Austin in less than a day. I know where Pete Gallego and Carlos Uresti live.

Washington, D.C.? Not so much.

And lets not forget war.

Our current wars were very much part of this year’s presidential election cycle.

If we were abiding by our Constitution, the wars would be much less important to our choice of president.

Only Congress has the power to make war, not the president. The president is supposed to conduct the war after Congress declares the war.

Of course, back around 9/11 Congress handed its war making power to Bush, and now we are where we are.

The problem being, Congress does not have the authority to give its power to the president.

Doing so was a clear violation of the Constitution, and we the people have not called them on it.

We should have.

But we won’t.

Nor do I have much hope that we will suddenly realize the destructive course we are charting by so totally ignoring the rest of our Constitution.

Today, for the winners, it appears that the Constitution is, “just a damned piece of paper,” and if its destruction means being able to tell everyone else in the country how to live their lives, then so be it.

If we were abiding by our Constitution, it would not make a big difference to us if Obama, McCain or Mickey Mouse sat in the Oval Office.

I am betting that one day we will realize our mistake, and that on that day, it will be too late. Americans will be killing each other issues that should never have been national issues in the first place.

Maybe someone will find a tattered copy of the Constitution in the ruins.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise. He can be emailed at:

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