The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the presidency of the United States and the Constitution. The title of this blog comes from a document titled Imprimis, which is published by Hillsdale College.
Imprimis is a free monthly publication that is available to the public at this site. The College appreciates donations of any size because it does not rely on any government money. I encourage you to do some research on Hillsdale College and join me in supporting it.
Then Indiana Representative Mike Pence spoke on the above topic at Hillsdale campus on September 20, 2010. The more I hear about this man, the more I like him! I encourage you to go to this site to obtain his entire address, but I will share some powerful quotes from it.
“The presidency is the most visible thread that runs through the tapestry of the American government. More often than not, for good or for ill, it sets the tone for the other branches and spurs the expectations of the people. Its powers are vast and consequential, its requirements impossible for mortals to fulfill without humility and insistent attention to its purpose as set forth in the Constitution of the United States.
“Isn’t it amazing, given the great and momentous nature of the office, that those who seek it seldom pause to consider what they are seeking? Rather, unconstrained by principle or reflection, there is a mad rush toward something that, once its powers are seized, the new president can wield as an instrument with which to transform the nation and the people according to his highest aspirations.
“But, other than in a crisis of the house divided, the presidency is neither fit nor intended to be such an instrument. When it is made that, the country sustains a wound, and cries out justly and indignantly. And what the nation says is the theme of this address. What it says – informed by its long history, impelled by the laws of nature and nature’s God – is that we as a people are not to be ruled and not to be commanded. It says that the president should never forget this; that he has not risen above us, but is merely one of us, chosen by ballot, dismissed after his term, tasked not to transform and work his will upon us, but to bear the weight of decision and to carry out faithfully the design laid down in the Constitution in accordance with the Declaration of Independence….”
A few paragraphs later, Pence says, “Even the simplest among us knows that this is not so. Power is an instrument of fatal consequence. It is confined no more readily than quicksilver, and escapes good intentions as easily as air flows through mesh. Therefore, those who are entrusted with it must educate themselves in self-restraint. A republic is about limitation, and for good reason, because we are mortal and our actions are imperfect…. And that is why you must always be wary of a president who seems to float upon his own greatness….”
Further along Pence restates, “America is not a dog, and does not require a `because-I-said-so” jurisprudence; or legislators who knit laws of such insulting complexity that they are heavier than chains; or a president who acts like, speaks like, and is received as a king….”
Still further, Pence states it again, “… We are not subjects; we are citizens. We fought a war so that we do not have to treat even kings like kings, and – if I may remind you – we won that war. Since then, the principle of royalty has, in this country, been inoperative. Who is better suited or more required to exemplify this conviction, in word and deed, than the President of the United States? ….”
These quotes comprise a small part of Pence’s address. It is well worth reading and should be read by every American. Too bad Barack Obama did not study the address when it was presented in 2010. The United States might have been in a better position today, and Mr. Obama might not have destroyed his credibility with the American people and leave a better legacy.
About the middle of the discourse, Pence gives a solution for the divisions in our nation: “Would it be such a great surprise that a good part of the political strife of our times is because one president after another, rather than keeping faith with it, argues with the document he is supposed to live by? This discontent will only be calmed by returning the presidency to the nation’s first principles. The Constitution and the Declaration should be on the president’s mind all the time, as the prism through which the light of all question of governance passes….”
Pence concludes his address with these words: “Many great generations are gone, but by the character and memory of their existence they forbid us to despair of the republic…. They are our family and our blood, and we cannot desert them. In spirit, all of them come down to all of us, in a connection that, out of love, we cannot betray.
“They are silent now and forever, but from the eternal silence of every patriot grave there is yet an echo that says, `It is not too late; keep faith with us, keep faith with God, and do not, do not ever despair of the republic.”
The American people must have heard the echo from “every patriot grave” because Mr. Obama and his policies were soundly rejected when voters voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. Now we wait and pray to see what kind of a president Mr. Trump will be. I have high hopes for this presidency because Mr. Pence, as Vice President, will be right beside the President in making decisions for this nation!