The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution

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By Bill Peach, CP Op-Ed Contributor
March 15, 2013|7:15 am

In a letter from Eric Holder to Rand Paul it seemed clear that we have never used domestic drone attacks in America and have no intention to do so. However he did argue that the President had the authority to use drone strikes on an enemy combatant in national emergencies similar to attacks on Pearl Harbor or the World Trade Center buildings.

I am concerned when the CIA, not the Military, conducts a drone attack in a foreign country. It would seem that the role of the CIA is spying, not killing people. Indiscriminate killing is immoral whether by drone or nuclear device. I also do not see how we justify drone strikes within sovereign countries with which we are not at war, or why we were at war with Iraq, and are still at war with Afghanistan. I think we may use this debate for the right results, though it may have been initiated for partisan political advantage predicated on a false premise. I hope the liberal Democratic community will also oppose the use of any domestic drones as a violation of the search and seizure and due process amendments to the Constitution.

The President's invitation to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to convene a small group of Senators for dinner and serious conversation may be a change in attitude in Washington. The reelection of President Obama has put to rest the effort of the Republican Congress to focus on making him a one-term president. I think he feels less threatened, and is now open to finding a common purpose for governing.

I commend Senator Rand Paul's actual filibuster however ill conceived its intent. The idea of requiring 60 votes to end debate by the Senate has no logic. We should govern by majority rule and if debate becomes only an instrument of obstruction and delay it should self-destruct from its own absurdity. The Senate has the role of advice and consent, but the President has the right to appoint his cabinet and judiciary with the consent of a majority of the Senate.

The gesture on the part of the President and the response from Congress to seek solutions may extend to fiscal policy. The idea of a continuing resolution to keep government open for business should forever put to to rest any thought of some punitive sequestration intended to threaten the military and the poor. The concept of continuing to do what we are doing does not address the deficit or the future of medical costs, but it eliminates the threat of fiscal calamity.

It may be that gun-owners of both political parties will agree on universal background checks and closing loopholes and a trade-off on trying to ban specific weapons and ownership of massive arsenals of ammunition. We are a nation of gun-owners, legal and illegal. While liberals see this as an undifferentiated threat, we honor the Second Amendment and the right to protect your home, your business, your family, and yourself without your responsibility for our safety in public places.

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The one debate that continues is whether we have a constitutional right to overthrow the government. We tend to confuse the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. One is a document of intent to denounce and overthrow a foreign government. The other is a carefully crafted document enumerating the powers of government, and the separation of powers of its three branches. It was amended to guarantee rights reserved to the states and individuals. It does not provide for overthrowing the government. The purpose of the well-regulated militia is to defend our country against enemies foreign and domestic. That does not include acts of violence against a duly elected government.

Bill Peach is a retired business owner who writes on faith and politics. He is the author of Politics, Preaching & Philosophy and lives in historic Franklin, TN.
 

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