Does the Constitution Still Matter? | Mickey Edwards
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Does the Constitution Still Matter? | Mickey Edwards


♪♪>>FROM THE MARRIOTT CENTERON THE BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITYCAMPUS IN PROVO, UTAH,WELCOME TO THIS LIVEFORUM BROADCAST.TODAY, FORMER CONGRESSMANMICKEY EDWARDS WILL ADDRESSTHE CAMPUS COMMUNITY.>>♪♪ …AND BLESS HIS WORD ♪♪ THY WORKS OF GRACE, ♪♪ HOW BRIGHT THEY SHINE! ♪♪ HOW DEEP THY COUNSELS, ♪♪ HOW DIVINE! ♪♪ BUT, OH, ♪ ♪ WHAT TRIUMPH SHALL I RAISE ♪ ♪ TO THY DEAR NAME ♪ ♪ THROUGH ENDLESS DAYS, ♪ ♪ WHEN IN THE REALMS ♪ ♪ OF JOY I SEE ♪ ♪ THY FACE IN FULL FELICITY. ♪♪>>GOOD MORNING. I AM PLEASED TO WELCOME YOU HERE THIS MORNING FOR TODAY’S FORUM ASSEMBLY. MY NAME IS BRENT WEBB, AND PRESIDENT WORTHEN HAS ASKED ME TO CONDUCT THIS FORUM TODAY. AS PART OF OUR CONSTITUTION DAY EVENTS, TODAY WE ARE DELIGHTED TO HEAR FROM MICKEY EDWARDS, PROMINENT AUTHOR AND FORMER CONGRESSMAN FROM OKLAHOMA. HIS PRESENTATION TODAY IS ENTITLED “DOES THE CONSTITUTION STILL MATTER?” THE PRELUDE THIS MORNING WAS PROVIDED BY SEAN MICHELSON, A GRADUATE STUDENT IN ORGAN PERFORMANCE FROM DRAPER, UTAH. GIDEON BURROWS, A GRADUATE STUDENT IN CONDUCTING FROM SPRINGVILLE, UTAH LEAD US IN SINGING THE OPENING HYMN. FOLLOWING TODAY’S FORUM ASSEMBLY, WE WILL HOLD A QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION HERE IN THE MARRIOTT CENTER. WE INVITE ANY OF YOU WHO WISH TO PARTICIPATE IN THE Q&A TO COME DOWN TO THE PLAYING FLOOR AFTER THE FORUM. PLEASE JOIN US NEXT WEEK AT THIS SAME TIME AND PLACE FOR UNIVERSITY DEVOTIONAL WHERE WE WILL HEAR FROM DAN CLARK, AUTHOR AND MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER. TODAY’S INVOCATION WILL BE OFFERED BY TARYN FOX, A JUNIOR MAJORING IN SOCIOLOGY FROM BROKEN ARROW, OKLAHOMA. SISTER FOX.>>OUR DEAR HEAVENLY FATHER, WE’RE SO THANKFUL THAT WE COULD BE GATHERED HERE IN THE MARRIOTT CENTER TODAY AND WE’RE THANKFUL THAT MR.EDWARDS COULD MAKE TIME AND TRAVEL SAFELY TO BE WITH US AND PLEASE BLESS US THAT AS HE SPEAKS THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO HAVE THY SPIRIT WITH US. AND WE LOVE THEE VERY MUCH HEAVENLY FATHER, AND WE SAY THESE THINGS IN THE NAME OF THY SON, JESUS CHRIST, AMEN.>>AMEN.>>WE’RE PLEASED TO WELCOME MR. MICKEY EDWARDS HERE TODAY ON CAMPUS. MR. EDWARDS IS VICE PRESIDENT OF THE ASPEN INSTITUTE AND SERVES AS DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE’S RODEL FELLOWSHIPS IN PUBLIC LEADERSHIP. MR. EDWARDS WAS A MEMBER OF CONGRESS FROM OKLAHOMA FOR FIFTEEN YEARS, AFTER WHICH HE TAUGHT AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY’S JOHN F. KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT FOR OVER A DECADE. AT HARVARD, HE WAS THE FIRST JOHN QUINCY ADAMS LECTURER IN LEGISLATIVE PRACTICE. HE WAS ALSO LECTURER AT PRINCETON’S WOODROW WILSON SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS. MR. EDWARDS IS ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS OF THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION, AN INFLUENTIAL CONSERVATIVE RESEARCH ORGANIZATION BASED IN WASHINGTON, DC. EARLY IN HIS CAREER MR. EDWARDS WAS A NEWSPAPER REPORTER AND EDITOR, WORKED IN ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS, AND SERVED AS A MAGAZINE EDITOR. HE IS THE AUTHOR OR CO-AUTHOR OF FOUR BOOKS, INCLUDING HIS LATEST BOOK,THE PARTIES VERSUS THE PEOPLE,PUBLISHED BY YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS. HE HAS ALSO BEEN A REGULAR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR ON NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO’S “ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, ” A WEEKLY POLITICAL COLUMNIST FOR THECHICAGO TRIBUNEANDLOS ANGELES TIMES, AND A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR TO OTHER MAJOR NEWS OUTLETS. MR. EDWARDS IS A FREQUENT PUBLIC SPEAKER AND HAS BEEN A GUEST ON MANY OF THE NATION’S LEADING RADIO AND TELEVISION NEWS AND OPINION BROADCASTS. HE RECEIVED A B.A. IN JOURNALISM FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA AND A J.D. FROM OKLAHOMA CITY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW. AT THE CLOSE OF MR.EDWARD’S ADDRESS TODAY, THE BENEDICTION WILL BE OFFERED BY JENNIFER POSTENBAUGH, UNIVERSITY LIBRARIAN. WOULD YOU PLEASE JOIN WITH ME IN GIVING A WARM WELCOME TO MICKEY EDWARDS. [APPLAUSE]>>HI. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. IT’S GREAT TO BE HERE. IT’S GREAT TO BE AT A GREAT UNIVERSITY LIKE THIS THAT PLACES SO MUCH EMPHASIS ON VALUES. I’VE BEEN A GREAT FAN OF BYU FOR A LOT OF YEARS. AND UM, YOU KNOW, I’M DELIGHTED. YOU KNOW, JENNIFER, WHO IS GOING TO BE UP AFTER ME, YOU KNOW, IS FROM OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY, WHICH IS ONE OF THE MINOR COLLEGES IN OKLAHOMA AND FROM BROKEN ARROW, I FEEL LIKE I’M AT HOME AGAIN. ALTHOUGH, I HAVE TO SAY WHEN I WAS LEAVING, WHEN I WAS LEAVING YESTERDAY I HAD MY SUIT BAG, I DON’T WEAR THIS ALL THE TIME. I HAD MY SUIT BAG WITH ME AND ONE OF THE PEOPLE I WORK WITH SAW THAT I WAS LEAVING AGAIN AND HE SAID WHERE ARE YOU GOING? AND I SAID I’M GOING TO QUARTERBACK UNIVERSITY AND HE INSTANTLY KNEW IT WAS BYU. SO, YOU KNOW, IT’S A DELIGHT. I’M OLDER THAN MOST OF YOU HERE SO I’VE HAD A CHANCE TO WATCH JIM MCMAHON AND STEVE YOUNG AND GIFFORD AND DETMER AND YOU KNOW, AND ALSO BECAUSE I TAUGHT AT HARVARD AND LIVED IN MASSACHUSETTS WHILE I WAS UP THERE, BEGAME A BIG FAN OF DANNY ANGE, THE CELTICS, THOSE JAZZ FANS. I’M DELIGHTED TO BE HERE. BEING A POLITICIAN AS I AM, SOMETIMES YOU TALK ABOUT THINGS THAT ARE NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. AND SO I’LL SAY THIS, NONE OF MY BUSINESS, BUT I WATCHED THE GAME AGAINST UVA THE OTHER DAY, AND I DON’T KNOW IF YOU ALL KNOW THIS, BUT THE BIG 12 CONFERENCE WHICH IS A LOT BETTER THAN THE SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE, ONLY HAS 10 TEAMS AND I REALLY SINCERELY HOPE THAT BYU BECOMES THE NEXT ONE. [APPLAUSE] I APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE A FEW OF MY THOUGHTS ABOUT WHERE WE ARE AS A COUNTRY, THE GREAT STRENGTHS THAT MAKE US WHAT WE ARE, AND SOME OF THE CHALLENGES WE FACE IF WE ARE TO REMAIN THAT SPECIAL COUNTRY THAT OUR FOUNDERS BEQUEATHED TO US. I’VE ALWAYS BEEN STRUCK BY THE FAMOUS QUOTE BY BENJAMIN FRANKLIN WHEN HE WAS CONFRONTED AFTER THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION ENDED AND THEY ASKED HIM WHAT HE HAD GIVEN US, AND HE SAID “A REPUBLIC, IF YOU CAN KEEP IT” THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT. MY CONCERN IS WHETHER OR NOT WE CAN KEEP IT. SO LAST WEEK WE CELEBRATED CONSTITUTION DAY, THIS IS NOW CONSTITUTION WEEK. WE’VE LENGTHENED IT NOW. LIKE ALL OF YOU, I LOVE THE FOURTH OF JULY, I LOVE THE CELEBRATIONS AND WHAT IT STANDS FOR AND ALL OF THE ASPIRATIONS THAT THE DECLARATION PUT FORTH AND THE FACT THAT THAT LAID THE GROUNDWORK FOR US TO BECOME TODAY. IT WAS NOT THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE THAT CREATED AMERICA, IT IS THE CONSTITUTION THAT IS WHAT WE ARE, WHO WE ARE, WHY WE ARE THE WAY WE ARE. YOU SEE SO MANY PEOPLE MAKING THEIR PREDICTIONS THAT SOME OTHER COUNTRY, CHINA, INDIA, OR SOMEBODY ELSE IS GOING TO REPLACE US AT THE CENTER OF THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE. THE FACT IS THE UNITED STATES, TODAY AND FOR MANY DAYS AHEAD, IS AND WILL BE THE DOMINANT POLITICAL, CULTURAL, MILITARY, AND ECONOMIC POWER ON THE PLANET. THAT WE ARE THE NATION AT THE TOP OF THE HILL WHETHER WE ARE STILL THAT “SHINING CITY” AT THE TOP OF THE HILL IS NOT QUITE SO CERTAIN. AND THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT. THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION IS STILL A YOUNG DOCUMENT AS WE ARE A YOUNG COUNTRY. THERE ARE PEOPLE IN CONGRESS, ON THIS CAMPUS, PERHAPS IN THIS ROOM, WHO HAVE BEEN ALIVE ONE OUT OF EVERY THREE DAYS THERE HAS BEEN A UNITED STATES. THAT’S HOW NEW WE ARE. THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT WE HAVE CREATED IS STILL AN EXPERIMENT. WE DON’T KNOW YET WHETHER IT WILL SURVIVE. THE QUESTION IS NOT WHETHER OUR SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT WILL SURVIVE THE MANY THREATS A GREAT NATION INVARIABLY FACES BUT WHETHER IT’S ALQUADA OR ISIS OR OTHER ECONOMIC THREATS OUR SYSTEM WILL SURVIVE… US. WILL IT SURVIVE US? THIS WILL NOT BE A CHEERLEADING TALK. I WANT TO LOOK AT THE QUESTION AT WHETHER THE GREATEST THREAT TO OUR AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT IS FROM THE OUTSIDE OR FROM US HERE ON THE INSIDE. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM. WE ARE DIFFERENT; WE ARE EXCEPTIONAL. WE ARE NOT TALLER OR STRONGER OR WISER; WE ARE NOT EXEMPT FROM THE RULES THAT APPLY TO OTHER COUNTRIES. WE ARE EXCEPTIONAL NOT BECAUSE OF WHO WE ARE OR THE STRENGTH OF OUR ARMIES BUT BECAUSE WE’RE A DIFFERENT KIND OF A NATION SET UP TO HONOR THE DIGNITY AND RIGHTS OF EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL HUMAN BEING. WE LIVE IN A COMMUNITY, AND HERE AT BYU AND IN UTAH IS A GREAT REPRESENTATIVE OF THIS, IT’S A COMMUNITY OF SHARED RESPONSIBILITIES AND SHARED OBLIGATIONS AND PEOPLE ACTING COLLECTIVELY AND SACRIFICING FOR EACH OTHER. BUT WE’VE ALSO CREATED A SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT THAT LAYS OUT IN PRETTY STARK RELIEF THAT THE AMERICAN VIEW IS NOT A SUBJECT OF GOVERNMENT BUT A CITIZEN. AND THERE’S A BIG DIFFERENCE BECAUSE GOVERNMENTS TELL THEIR SUBJECTS WHAT TO DO, AND CITIZENS TELL THEIR GOVERNMENTS WHAT TO DO. SO WE CREATED THIS SYSTEM THAT HERE, NOBODY WAS GOING TO BE SENT OFF TO WAR WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE PEOPLE THROUGH THEIR REPRESENTATIVES, OR TAXED MORE THAN WE AGREE TO, THROUGH OUR REPRESENTATIVES, OR REGULATED TO A POINT THAT KILLS OUR CREATIVITY. OUR FOUNDERS JUST MORE THAN 200 YEARS AGO CREATED A UNIQUE SYSTEM OF SELF-GOVERNMENT IN WHICH WE OURSELVES SELECT THOSE WHO ARE GOING TO MAKE OUR LAWS AND WE HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE. HOW DOES THAT WORK? HOW IS IT SUPPOSED TO WORK? IT’S SUPPOSED TO WORK BY US DELEGATING AUTHORITY TO LEGISLATORS WHOSE APPOINTMENT WE DECIDE AND BY PROHIBITING THE CONCENTRATION OF POWER IN THE HANDS OF ANY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL OR SMALL GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS AND BY PLACING EVERY SINGLE MAJOR POWER OF GOVERNMENT WHETHER OR NOT TO GO TO WAR, WHAT TO TAX, HOW MUCH TO TAX IT, HOW LONG TO TAX IT, WHAT PROGRAMS TO CREATE, WHAT PROGRAMS TO END, WHAT POLICIES TO CREATE, WHETHER TREATIES WILL BE APPROVED, THE POWER TO APPOINT GENERALS AND JUDGES, EVEN THE POWER TO NAME THE PRESIDENT’S CABINET, BUT TO THE PEOPLE’S REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS. IF YOU WALK DOWN THE STREET IN PROVO OR SALT LAKE AND SAID WHO’S THE HEAD OF GOVERNMENT IN THE UNITED STATES? 9 OUT OF 10 WOULD SAY IT’S BARACK OBAMA. IT’S NOT TRUE. WE DON’T HAVE A HEAD OF GOVERNMENT IN THE UNITED STATES. WE HAVE THREE SEPARATE EQUAL INDEPENDENT BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT. BUT ALL OF THE MAJOR POWERS ARE IN CONGRESS BECAUSE THE CONGRESS IS THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. I WANT TO LOOK AT A FEW OF THE THINGS THAT OUR CONSTITUTION DOES AND DOES NOT DO. I WANT TO GET INTO THE CHALLENGES WE FACE IN THIS REGARD. OUR CONSTITUTION ESTABLISHES AUTHORITY AND WE ARE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE THAT THINK THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD HAVE NO POWER OR ALL POWER. WE HAVE A SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT THAT GIVES POWER AND RESTRICTS THAT POWER, DESPITE THE CLAIMS OF SOME, WE ARE NOT A THOUSAND INDEPENDENT COMMUNITIES, WE ARE A GREAT NATION. OUR CONSTITUTION EMPOWERS GOVERNMENT, IT GIVES IT AUTHORITY TO ACT IN OUR BEHALF FOR GENERAL WELFARE AND IN OUR DEFENSE. THE CONSTITUTION, DOES NOT GUARANTEE SMALL GOVERNMENT. WHEN YOU HAVE A NATION OF 312 MILLION PEOPLE, WITH OBLIGATIONS FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE AND FOR NATIONWIDE COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS, HIGHWAYS, EVEN IF IT DID NOTHING ELSE, THEN THOSE THINGS, IT COULD NOT REMAIN SMALL. BUT IT DOES MANDATE LIMITED GOVERNMENT. IT SETS SOME THINGS OUTSIDE THE BOUNDARIES OF PERMISSIBLE ACTION AND THAT IS THE SYSTEM THAT SET FREE THE CREATIVE ENERGIES OF THE PEOPLE. THAT ESTABLISH US– AMERICANS– AS THE CHAMPIONS OF ENTERPRISE AND AS A MODEL TO THE WORLD OF RULE BY LAW. AS A NATION APART. AND YET WITH EVERY SINGLE DAY THAT PASSES, WE SEE A GREATER AND GREATER IMPATIENCE WITH THESE SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES OF OUR CONSTITUTIONAL EXCEPTIONALISM. AMONG THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE MOST COMMITTED TO ACTIVIST GOVERNMENT THERE IS IMPATIENCE WITH THE SYSTEM THAT IS DESIGNED TO FORCE DELIBERATION RATHER THAN SPEED. I WAS TALKING TO SOMEBODY RIGHT AFTER THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WAS ENACTED. I DON’T CARE WHETHER YOU THINK IT WAS THE GREATEST THING OR THE WORST, RIGHT AFTER IT WAS ENACTED I WAS TALKING TO SOMEBODY WHO SAID IT WAS TERRIBLE, IT TOOK CONGRESS A FULL YEAR TO PASS THAT LEGISLATION. OUR GOVERNMENT MADE FUNDAMENTAL FAR-REACHING CHANGES TO A SYSTEM THAT AFFECTS EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN AND PEOPLE WERE COMPLAINING THAT IT TOOK SO LONG. SOMETIMES THE BUREAUCRATIC SYSTEM IS SLOW, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO POLICIES, OUR CONVOLUTED MULTI-PART SYSTEM IS DELIBERATELY DESIGNED NOT TO SPEED THINGS UP BUT TO SLOW THINGS DOWN. TO REQUIRE TIME FOR INFORMATION TO BE KNOWN, TESTED, DISSECTED, DEBATED, SO THOSE THINGS THAT WILL AFFECT ALL OF US SO GREATLY WILL NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE PASSIONS OF THE MOMENT. A SYSTEM THAT ACTS DELIBERATELY RATHER THAN RASHLY IS ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL STRENGTHS OF OUR CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK. IT IS NOT A SYSTEM THAT SHOULD BE SPED UP TO SUIT OUR IMPATIENT AGE. THERE’S SO MANY THINGS THAT START TO HAPPEN THAT MAKE YOU WONDER IF PEOPLE UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS SYSTEM IS SUPPOSED TO BE. ONE OF MY FEARS FOR THE FUTURE CAME WHEN A FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, ATTACKED A PRESIDENT OF THE OTHER PARTY FOR BEING “SECULAR.” YOU KNOW, ONE HAS TO WONDER WHERE THAT SPEAKER WAS WHEN THE FIRST AMMENDMENT WAS BEING DISCUSSED IN HIS GOVERNMENT CLASSES. WE ARE A RELIGIOUS PEOPLE BUT WE LIVE UNDER A CONSTITUTIONAL FORM OF GOVERNMENT THAT HONORS ALL RELIGIONS AND ADHERES TO NONE. BECAUSE WE ARE A NATION THAT HONORS DIVERSITY, WE HAVE AT LEAST SOME HOPE OF HOLDING CERTITUDE AT BAY. BUT I WILL COME BACK TO THAT BECAUSE INCREASINGLY TODAY IT IS CERTITUDE, A CLOSED-MINDEDNESS AND RELUCTANCE TO HEAR OTHER VIEWS, A CONVICTION THAT WE KNOW THAT ANYBODY WHO DISAGREES WITH US DOES NOT KNOW THAT MAKES US VULNERABLE TO CHANGES THAT THREATEN TO UNDERMIND OUR CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY. MY GREATEST CONCERN BECAUSE TOO FEW VOICES ARE RAISED IN FEAR ABOUT IT IS THE ACCUMULATION OF POWER IN THE HANDS OF THE CHEIF EXECUTIVE. SO AGAIN, I’M GOING TO NAME PEOPLE FROM BOTH PARTIES. I DON’T CARE, I DISLIKE THEM BOTH EQUALLY. DURING THE PRESIDENCY OF GEORGE W. BUSH, WHEN UNPRECEDENTED CLAIMS OF EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY– THE WIDESPREAD USE OF SIGNING STATEMENTS TO DECLARE THAT A PRESIDENT COULD DECIDE FOR HIMSELF WHETHER OR NOT HE WAS BOUND BY THE LAWS CONGRESS HAD PASS AND HE HAD SIGNED– CLAIMS OF EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE EXTENDING TO THE ENTIRE WHITE HOUSE STAFF IN THEIR INTERACTIONS WITH EACH OTHER IN WHICH THE PRESIDENT WAS NOT A PARTY; A REDEFINING OF THE UNITARY EXECUTIVE DOCTRINE TO DEFY CONGRESSIONAL ATTEMPTS TO INSTRUCT FEDERAL AGENCIES; EXPANDED CLAIMS OF THE RIGHT TO KEEP SECRET GOVERNMENT ACTIONS; CAVALIER DISREGARD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROHIBITION AGAINST SUSPENSION OF HABEAS CORPUS RIGHTS; ALL OF THESE CLAIMS AND MORE UNDERCUT THE PRETENSE THAT AMERICANS WERE STILL ENTITLED TO PRACTICE SELF-GOVERNMENT THROUGH AN EMPOWERED LEGISLATIVE BRANCH SELECTED BY THE PEOPLE. BUT THIS IS NOT A ONE PARTY ONE PERSON PROBLEM. WHEN THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION SANCTIONED TORTURE, EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION, AND HOLDING PRISONERS INDEFINITELY WITHOUT CHARGES, MANY WARNED THAT IF NOT CHECKED, THESE ACTIONS WOULD ESTABLISH PRECEDENT FOR FUTURE PRESIDENTS AS WELL. BUT ON FUNDAMENTAL CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS- HABEAS, SECRECY, WIDESPREAD GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE OF AMERICAN CITIZENS, WE WERE TOO LATE. PRESIDENTS CHANGED BUT THE THE POLICIES DIDN’T. THE DISREGARD FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE– CONTINUE. FOR TOO MANY, CONCERNED MORE WITH AN IMMEDIATE OUTCOME THAN WITH PRESERVING THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES OF THE AMERICAN SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT, THE LANGUAGE OF THE CONSTITUTION HAS BECOME A THING OF MILD INTEREST BUT NO MORE. AT THE SAME TIME, WE HAVE SEEN A FURTHER EROSION OF THE CONGRESS AS THE PRINCIPAL ARM OF AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT, LARGELY AS A RESULT OF TWO FUNDAMENTAL, OVERLAPPING, AND MUTUALLY REINFORCING PROBLEMS. FIRST, THE CONGRESS’ ABDICATION OF ITS RESPONSIBLITIES AND OBLIGATIONS. NOT AUTHORITY THAT WAS TAKEN FROM THE CONGRESS BUT THAT THE CONGRESS LET SLIP AWAY. ACQUIESCING, FOR EXAMPLE, PRESIDENTS SEND THE PEOPLE TO SHARE INTELLIGENCE. THE CONGRESS IS SUPPOSED TO DECIDE ABOUT WAR AND TREATIES AND THINGS IMPORTANT TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY, THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH SENDS SOME PEOPLE DOWN TO THE HILL TO MEET WITH MEMBERS OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, NOT ALL OF THEM WITH THE GANG OF EIGHT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, WE’RE GOING TO SHARE THIS INFORMATION, HELD BY THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, WE’LL SHARE IT WITH YOU EIGHT MEMBERS AND YOU CANNOT TELL ANYONE. AND THE CONGRESS PUTS UP WITH THAT INSTEAD OF SAYING MR. PRESIDENT, WE’LL TELL YOU HOW THE CONGRESS IS GOING TO OPERATE AND WHO WE’RE GOING TO SHARE INFORMATION WITH AND WE WE HAVE TO DO IN ORDER TO ACT AS THE CONSTITUTION REQUIRES US TO ACT. THE CONGRESS OFTEN WRITES BLANK CHECKS TO THE PRESIDENCY. EVEN ON MATTERS AS FUNDAMENTALLY IMPORTANT TO AS GOING TO WAR, AND AT THE SAME TIME, A MOVE TOWARD AN AMERICAN VERSION OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT, ONE THING THAT DISTINGUISHED AMERICA FROM WHAT HAD GONE BEFORE WAS THE REJECTION OF THE PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM. SOME OF YOU HAVE STUDIED PUBLIC POLICY OR POLITICAL SCIENCE ARE FAMILIAR WITH EDMOND BURKE, THE BRITISH PARLIAMENTARIAN WHO FAMOUSLY SAID, “I OWE IT TO YOU NOT TO BE A “RUBBER STAMP FOR YOUR VIEWS, “TO BE A TRUSTEE FOR THE COUNTRY “TO USE MY KNOWLEDGE, ACT IN THE NATION’S BEHALF.” NOBODY EVER TALKS ABOUT HOW HE STARTED HIS SPEECH. MY GUESS IS HE STARTED THAT SPEECH BY SAYING, “HI BRISTOL, MY NAME IS ED.” BECAUSE UNDER THE BRITISH SYSTEM YOU DID NOT NEED TO BE FROM THE PLACE YOU WERE REPRESENTING. AND OUR FOUNDERS SAID NO, YOU’RE GOING TO BE REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE WHO ELECTED YOU FROM THEIR CONSTITUENCY. BUT WE ARE MOVING MORE AND MORE TO A SYSTEM IN WHICH DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS FEEL OBLIGATED TO SUPPORT A DEMOCRAT IF HE IS PRESIDENT, AND REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS FEEL OBLIGATED TO SUPPORT A REPUBLICAN IF HE IS PRESIDENT, NOT MEMBERS OF A SEPARATE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT TO BE KEPT IN CHECK AS THE CONSTITUION ENVISIONS, BUT AS THE CAPTAIN OF YOUR TEAM, AS THE LEADER OF YOUR REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRATIC TEAM TO WHOM PARTISANSHIP DEMANDS UNQUESTIONING LOYALTY. THAT WAS TRUE WHEN A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS WENT ALONG WITH GEORGE W. BUSH, IT’S TRUE WHEN A DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS GOES ALONG WITH BARACK OBAMA. IT’S NOT JUST THESE THINGS ABOUT SECURITY, SURVEILLANCE, HABEUS, AND RENDITION. LAST MONTH, PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCED THAT HE WAS GOING TO BYPASS THE SENATE IN CONSIDERATION OF A CLIMATE CHANGE TREATY BY PUSHING INSTEAD FOR A “NONBINDING TREATY” THAT WOULD HAVE THE UNITED STATES PRESSURING COUNTRIES TO MEET VARIOUS SUBMISSIONS REDUCTIONS CONTEST OR FACE REPRISALS. YOU MAY HAVE THOUGHT THAT CLIMATE TREATY THAT CURBED EMISSIONS IS IMPORTANT OR YOU MIGHT THINK IT’S NOT. THE QUESTION IS WHO DECIDES THAT. WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE PRESIDENT SAID TO THE SENATE, “I’M JUST GOING TO GO AROUND YOU.” THE SENATE MAJORITY LEADER DIDN’T OPEN HIS MOUTH, NOT A PEEP. NOT TO DEFEND THE CONGRESS, THE SENATE, THE PROCESS, THE DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES, IF HE WANTED TO GO AROUND CONGRESS BECAUSE THE LEADER LIKED THE OUTCOME, THAT’S WHAT THEY WOULD DO. POLICY MATTERS IN A DEMOCRACY. BUT IN A DEMOCRACY, PROCESS MATTERS. NOT JUST WHAT OUR POLICIES ARE, BUT HOW WE MAKE THEM, WHO MAKES THEM, WHAT THE PROCESS IS THAT WE DECIDE AS A COUNTRY WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO AND WHAT WE ARE NOT GOING TO DO TODAY ALMOST REGARDLESS OF THE ISSUES. SUPREME COURT NOMINATIONS, TAX POLICIES, ALMOST EVERYTHING, REPUBLICANS ARE ALL ON ONE SIDE, DEMOCRATS ARE ALL ON THE THE OTHER SIDE. YOU SEE DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS, YOUNG, OLD, URBAN, RURAL, VOTE ALIKE. REPUBLICANS DO EXACTLY THE SAME THING. WHATEVER THEIR BACKGROUNDS, REPUBLICANS STICK WITH REPUBLICANS AND THAT’S BECAUSE OUR CURRENT ELECTION SYSTEM PUTS TOO MUCH POWER IN THE HANDS OF THE MOST PARTISAN WHO IN MOST STATES CONTROL ACCESS TO THE GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT. AND BECAUSE THEY DO, TOO MANY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS NO LONGER WEIGH SERIOUSLY THE VIEWS OF ALL OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS, THEY LOOK OVER THEIR SHOULDERS IN FEAR OF THE ACTIVISTS AND IDEALOGUES WHO CAN END THEIR CAREERS IF THEY ARE NOT SUFFICIENTLY INTRANSIGENT AND UNCOMPROMISING. THERE ARE RARE INSTANCES IN WHICH BIPARTISANSHIP MAKES A BRIEF RETURN, BUT FOR THE MOST PART, OUR POLITICS TODAY IS TEAM A AGAINST TEAM B ON ALL THINGS. THE FIRST FOUR AMERICAN PRESIDENTS DISAGREED ON A LOT OF THINGS. THEY DIDN’T EVEN LIKE EACH OTHER THAT MUCH. BUT THEY ALL AGREED ON ONE THING, DON’T CREATE POLITICAL PARTIES. THEY HAD POLITICAL PARTIES BUT THEY WERE DIFFERENT. THEY AGREED ON A FEW THINGS, BUT THEY WERE NOT TOGETHER ON EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. NOTHING LIKE THE POLITICAL PARTIES WE HAVE CREATED TODAY DRIVEN BY THIS NEVER-ENDING WAR BETWEEN RIVAL POITICAL CLUBS ALWAYS IN THE SEARCH FOR PARTISAN ADVANTAGE. IN BOTH HOUSES TODAY IN CONGRESS, THE PARTY IN THE MAJORITY, WHOEVER IT IS, DEMOCRATS ONE TIME, REPUBLICANS ANOTHER, THE PARTY IN THE MAJORITY BLOCKS CONSIDERATION OF ALTERNATIVES, BLOCKS AMENDMENTS, BLOCKS PROPOSALS. THERE IS MORE ACTUAL SERIOUS DEBATE IN A SOCIAL STUDIES CLASSROOM IN PROVO HIGH SCHOOL THAT ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OR SENATE. [APPLAUSE] THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS IN WHICH WE FAIL TO FOLLOW THE VISION LAID OUT FOR US BY OUR FOUNDERS: AMERICA WAS FOUNDED IN LARGE PART TO ENSURE JUSTICE, U.S. ATTORNEYS, MANY OF WHOM PREFER TO CALL THEMSELVES PROSECUTORS, FOCUS MORE ON PROSECUTION THAN ON JUSTICE AND LIKE THE ZEALOUS INSPECTOR JAVERT IN “LES MISERABLES,” JUDGE THEIR WORTH BY THE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE THEY PUT BEHIND BARS EVEN IF THAT MEANS HIDING EVIDENCE. AS WAS THE CASE WHEN THEY WENT AFTER TED STEVENS, ONLY LATER TO HAVE BEEN FOUND OUT THEY HAD HIDDEN INFORMATION. THIS HAPPENS ALL OVER AS OUR OVER ZEALOUS LAW ENFORCEMENT PUTS RULES OF LAW TO SHAME. THIS IS MORE OF A POLICY QUESTION EVEN THOUGH PURSUING JUSTICE IS A MAJOR PRIORITY OF OURS, THINK ABOUT IT IF YOU’RE POOR AND UNABLE TO AFFORD AN EXPENSIVE LAWYER AND YOU HAVE COURT-APPOINTED ATTORNEYS WHO IN MANY CASES ARE OVERWORKED AND UNABLE AND UNSKILLED IN WHATEVER IT IS YOU ARE ACCUSED OF, SO YOU’RE DENIED MEANINGFUL ACCESS TO THE JUSTICE SYSTEM. WE’RE A NATION THAT HAS A GREAT ASPIRATIONAL VALUE AND WE HAVE SO MANY CHALLENGES THAT WE FAIL TO MEET. BUT I WANT TO END WITH TWO POINTS. WE ARE A DEMOCRACY IN CHOOSING HOW PEOPLE WILL MAKE THOSE LAWS. A DEMOCRACY. NOT IN MY STATE OF OKLAHOMA. NOT IN YOUR STATE OF UTAH. NOT IN MOST OF AMERICA. WHEN BARACK OBAMA BECAME PRESIDENT AND JOE BIDEN BECAME VICE PRESIDENT WE NEEDED AN ELECTION IN DELAWARE AND MIKE CASTLE, CURRENT CONGRESSMAN AND FORMER GOVERNER WAS EXPECTED TO WIN THAT SEAT. ONLY HIS FELLOW REPUBLICANS COULD VOTE AND HE LOST TO A POLITICAL NEWCOMER. PEOPLE SAY WHY DON’T YOU JUST RUN IN THE GENERAL ELECTION AND YOU’D EASILY WIN. HE COULDN’T BECUASE IN DELAWARE THERE’S A “SORE LOSER” LAW AND YOU RAN FOR YOUR PARTIES NOMINATION AND DIDN’T GET IT, THE PARTY ACTIVISTS ARE ABLE TO DENY ACCESS TO THE BALLOT AND HERE’S THE THING, SHE GOT 30,000 VOTES IN A STATE OF A MILLION PEOPLE. THE MILLION PEOPLE WERE NOT ABLE TO VOTE BECAUSE HE WAS DENIED THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE ON THE BALLOT BECUASE OF 30,000 ACTIVISTS BECAUSE OF THE SORE LOSER LAW AND THAT WAS A DEMOCRATIC EXAMPLE. HERE IN UTAH, YOUR SENATOR, AND HERE AGAIN, I DON’T CARE WHETHER YOU WERE FOR SO AND SO, YOUR SENATOR, ROBERT BENNET, WAS DENIED HIS PARTY’S NOMINATION AT A CONVENTION THAT WAS ATTENDED BY FEWER THAN 3500 PEOPLE IN A STATE OF 3 MILLION. WHETHER YOU WOULD HAVE PREFERRED BENNETT OR LEE OR ANYONE ELSE IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS BUT THERE IS SOMETHING UNDEMOCRATIC WHEN A CONVENTION ATTENDED BY 1/10 OF ONE PERCENT OF THE POPULATION KEEPS THE ENCUMBENT SENATOR OFF THE BALLOT. SORE LOSER LAWS ALLOW SMALL GROUPS OF PARTY ACTIVISTS AND IDEALOGUES TO EVEN CONSIDER WHO SHOULD GO TO WASHINGTON TO REPRESENT THEM AND THAT IS THE CASE, TEXAS, MASSACHUSSETTS, THAT SORE LOSER LAW THAT ALLOWS SMALL GROUPS, IN THIS CASE ONE TENTH OF ONE PERCENT OF THE POPULATION, TO KEEP PEOPLE OFF THE BALLOT IS THE LAW IN 46 STATES. OUR CONSTITUTION ENVISIONS PEOPLE CHOOSING WHO MUST BE ACTUAL INHABITANTS OF THE STATE. SO YOU KNOW YOUR CONSTITUENTS AND THEY KNOW YOU. TODAY WE ALLOW WHATEVER PARTY CONTROLS THE STATE LEGISLATURE TO DRAW DISTRICT LINES THAT TELLS PEOPLE WHO CAN VOTE IN THIS ELECTION AND WHO CANNOT. SO WHEN I WAS IN CONGRESS I WAS THE RANKING MEMBER ON THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON FOREIGN OPERATIONS, DECIDING WHO GETS FOREIGN AID. WE BASED THAT ON A LOT OF DIFFERENT FACTORS; ONE OF THEM WAS HOW DEMOCRATIC. IF SOME NATION WHEN I WERE THERE HAD BEEN PROPOSED AS A RECIPIENT OF FOREIGN AID IN WHICH SMALL BANDS OF LOYALISTS COULD BLOCK ACCESS TO THE BALLOT AND SHAPE THE ELECTOR TO LET THE INSIDERS CHOOSE THE VOTERS WHO WOULD BE ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE, THERE IS NO WAY WE WOULD HAVE APPROVED FOREIGN AID TO THAT COUNTRY. THAT COUNTRY IS THE UNITED STATES TODAY. SO MY LATEST BOOK AS YOU’VE HEARD WAS CALLED “THE PARTIES VERSUS THE PEOPLE.” THE SUBTITLE IS “HOW TO TURN REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS INTO AMERICANS.” THEY’RE LOYAL PATRIOTIC GOOD PEOPLE, BUT THEY SIT DOWN TOGETHER AS A PARTY TO WORK OUT WAYS TO BURN DOWN THE OTHER PARTY LIKE SHERMAN MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA. IF YOU ALL IN THIS ROOM WITH YOUR LOVE FOR BYU DECIDED THAT YOU WERE GOING TO BUILD A NEW BUILDING HERE, GOD KNOWS YOU’VE GOT ENOUGH BUILDINGS RIGHT? WHAT A PLAY! WHAT A MAGNIFICENT UNIVERSITY THIS IS! BUT IF YOU GOT TOGETHER, AND YOU SAID, “WE’RE GOING TO BUILD A NEW BUILDING HERE.” WHAT WOULD YOU DO? YOU’D ALL GATHER TOGETHER AND DECIDE WHAT RESOURCES, NOT ONE PERSON IN THIS WHOLE PLACE WOULD SAY REPUBLICANS SIT OVER THERE AND DEMOCRATS SIT OVER THERE. WE DON’T DO THAT WITH ANYTHING IN OUR LIFE EXCEPT HOW WE RUN OUR GOVERNMENT. LET ME CONCLUDE BY SAYING THIS. JAMES MADISON AND THE REST OF THE FOUNDERS GAVE US A BLESSING, A GOVERNMENT IN WHICH CITIZENS WOULD BE SUBJECT AND HOLD ULTIMATE POWER. THAT IS DISAPPEARING AND I WANT TO LEAVE A CHALLENGE HERE TO YOU ALL. WE HAVE CREATED A PUBLIC THAT DOESN’T UNDERSTAND THE CONSTITUTION, THAT DOESN’T UNDERSTAND CIVICS, MOST OF OUR UNIVERSITIES I WILL ASSUME THAT BYU IS DIFFERENT, MOST OF OUR UNIVERSITIES DON’T TEACH CIVICS, CRITICAL THINKING, THEY DON’T ADEQUATELY FUND THE HUMANITIES, MOST HAVE BECOME VOTECH SCHOOLS. TEACHING YOU HOW TO MAKE A LIVING AND HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN BEING A PART OF THE ECONOMIC MACHINE TO COMPETE WITH CHINA, AND TOO FEW SCHOOLS FOCUS ON THE HUMANITIES, THE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU A CITIZEN, ART, MUSIC, POETRY, LITERATURE, PHILOSOPHY. WE CANNOT SAVE THIS CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC OF OURS UNLESS WE CREATE AT THE SAME TIME A PEOPLE COMMITTED TO THIS FORM OF GOVERNMENT AND WILLING TO STAND UP TO SAVE IT. THE FOUNDERS CREATED IT. SAVING IS UP TO US. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]>>OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, WE ARE GRATEFUL TO COME BEFORE THEE AT THIS TIME. WE ARE THANKFUL THAT WE’VE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO GATHER HERE IN THE MARRIOTT CENTER TODAY AND TO HEAR MICKEY EDWARDS. WE’RE THANKFUL FOR HIS PREPARATION FOR THE IMPORTANT ISSUES THAT HE’S RAISED. WE’RE GRATEFUL FOR OUR CONSTITUTION FOR THE GENIUS OF THOSE WHO CREATED IT. AND WE ASK THAT THOU WOULD HELP US TO RENEW OUR COMMITMENT TO KNOW IT AND TO HOLD OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE TO THOSE IMPORTANT TRUTHS THAT ARE CONTAINED IN IT. WILT THOU BLESS US THAT WE MIGHT BE ENGAGED AND THAT WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO TAKE THOSE TRUTHS AND PRINCIPLES THAT WE HOLD DEAR AND TO ELECT THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO UPHOLD THOSE THINGS. HEAVENLY FATHER, WE ASK AS WE GO FROM THIS PLACE THAT THY SPIRIT WOULD CONTINUE TO ABIDE WITH US. AND AGAIN WE GIVE THEE THANKS AND SAY THESE THINGS IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, AMEN.>>AMEN.♪♪>>TODAY’S FORUM WITH FORMERCONGRESSMAN MICKEY EDWARDSWILL BE REBROADCASTON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26TH.TO WATCH THE TALK ONLINE OR TOSEE OUR COMPLETE DEVOTIONAL ANDFORUM BROADCAST SCHEDULE,VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT:DON’T MISS OUR NEXTLIVE BROADCAST,AUTHOR DAN CLARK WILL PRESENT ADEVOTIONAL MESSAGE NEXT TUESDAYAT 1:00 P.M. EASTERN TIME.

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