And when it was done, a questioner asked Benjamin Franklin, the first American, “Well, Doctor, what have we got — a Republic or a Monarchy?” To which Franklin replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” In the sweltering record-setting heat (an apt metaphor) of the SCOTUS ruling handed down last week in Washington D.C., Franklin's response still resonates. We know we can keep our Republic, the question looms. . . Will we?
I wrote about us having to take a stand and stop having it both ways some months ago. We are at the inflection point now as never before, thanks to the SCOTUS ruling this week. The hint it was a historic court decision was all the histrionics that followed from both sides. Clearly, the legal victory belonged to the Obama administration. On a 5-4 decision the Affordable Healthcare Act was upheld by the finding that the individual mandate was indeed a tax, it was constitutional and Congress had the full authority to do that. Predictably both sides claimed victory.
The Republicans were delighted on three counts - the Commerce Clause, long abused with its meanings expanded beyond belief for decades was finally curtailed. You cannot mandate activities of the American people for something no one has done yet, the Roberts opinion stated. Medicaid expansion being forced upon the states was also slapped down. And they even found something to like in the Court's definition of the mandate as a tax, not a penalty. They will be able to remind everyone that Obama lied about there being no new taxes here, when in fact (as I stated repeatedly) this represents the largest tax increase to pay for the largest entitlement program in the history of the world.
|Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)|
Here's what Chief Justice Roberts did for the nation last week. He actually said something no one had predicted he would say. Everyone in the nation was poised for the ultimate arbiter, the Supreme Court, to finally settle the argument once and for all, and to tell all the children that "father knew best." Instead, here's what John Roberts said that will enshrine him in the pantheon of American jurisprudence forevermore: “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”
Wow! How refreshing is that? This is a restatement of the plan of salvation: Men are free to choose. Free agency, the power to choose, is a gift of God. We are endowed with it by our Creator. In 2 Nephi we read: "Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself" (2:16). Further, "Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves — to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life" (10:23). And in modern revelation the Lord said, "Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself" (D&C 29:35).
Know this, that ev'ry soul is free
To choose his life and what he'll be;
For this eternal truth is giv'n
That God will force no man to heav'n.
He'll call, persuade, direct aright,
And bless with wisdom, love and light,
In nameless ways be good and kind,
But never force the human mind.
— Hymns #240
We made a political judgment with our freedom of choice in 2008. The pendulum swung in favor of the Democrats. Both houses of Congress and the White House were swept. No one, even the Supreme Court, was available in the end to change those consequences. John Roberts reminded Americans last week it was time to grow up, take off the training wheels from our wobbly attempts to ride the bicycle of freedom of choice and to stop looking for a savior to fix things. The savior did not emerge in Barack Obama, and Roberts wasn't about to insert himself or his court into that role either. Ultimately, Roberts declared, the power for good or evil is in your hands America. Choose well.
|President Barack Obama|
Only the people are empowered to adjudicate the winner of this debate on November 6th.
|Chief Justice John Roberts|
I am setting aside all the punditry and the loud protestations I've heard from both sides in the aftermath, and I will make this bold declaration: I liked what happened and what I've read in the actual opinions of the justices since the ruling was handed down. I like it because it retrieves accountability for our actions as a free people from the Executive Branch and the Courts. Our elected representatives in the Congress should now be right where they belong, in the cross hairs of every freedom-loving person in America with a ballot in their hands.
I like the idea of having a Mulligan, a chance to re-educate Americans with the reality our policy and process should begin and end with us. It starts with an informed vote, and electing representatives more carefully than ever before, people who will actually represent our collective will in Washington D.C., and will resist the few who represent the minority who would destroy us from within.
So now it's "game on" time. I hope we can throw off the idea that government is somehow the benevolent dictator of our future and the dispenser of our freedoms. The people in Washington are there only because we put them there.
Forget that routinely a minority of the electorate show up to vote. That should and must change if we are to preserve the Republic Benjamin Franklin and the others gave us. They must become our willing minions, not the other way around.
I suspect Roberts knew full well what the risks would be in handing down the majority opinion that the Obamacare law was found constitutional. Too many people will see that headline and continue to quietly go about their lives without further adieu. Factor in the complacency of many who have grown to love the idea of government checks flowing into their mailboxes on a regular basis. That is precisely what Obama and the left will bank on.
The spin has already begun. Astoundingly, what do we hear from the White House after the definition of the word "tax" has been rendered? "It's not a tax." Really? No one has done more damage to their loose familiarity with truth, justice and the American way than this administration. Well, they are transparent to anyone with eyes to see.
Between now and November little will change to measurably improve the anemic economic recovery with which we are saddled because of the policies of this White House. The MSM will continue to remind us of the "victory" in this bill being upheld constitutionally, but in the end the court of pubic opinion will prevail.
In their heart of hearts, surely Americans realize there is no free lunch, no "something for nothing" reality. . . don't they?
I'm not one who is going to bash John Roberts into oblivion. I prefer instead to think he just punted the ball deep in his own territory on fourth down with the game clock expiring and said to the American people, "If you want a touchdown, you now have the final possession and go make it happen."
We may be confused as a people with the cacophony of political rhetoric, but in his case Chief Justice Roberts was clear-eyed and deliberate. We, the people, brought the ball to the game and after the final buzzer sounds we still own the ball regardless of how battered and bloodied it may be.
I'm often wrong on political predictions. I certainly could not have envisioned what Justice Roberts just did. But I do know God is still invested in America, and her destiny will not be denied if the people who sustain her and all her ideals are still alert. Who knows, this loathsome burden on the American taxpayer may not even be the law of the land come January. Already governors are rising up in opposition and refusing to implement its provisions in their states.
If you're still reading, I advise taking the long view here. Resist the desperate voices, tune out the pundits, turn off the TV, instead listen to the quiet whisperings of your soul. John Roberts may have just saved the Republic. . .if you can keep it.
I think we can.