A Schoolhouse Rock Remix: “I’m Just an Executive Order.”

“I’m Just an Executive Order”

President Obama gave his State of the Union address last night while millions watched and tweeted. There were many things in his speech that caught my attention, but one of the most troubling statements was in regard to climate change. President Obama encouraged the congress to work together in a bipartisan way to “combat climate change” “for the sake of our children and our future.”[1] Then, the one who opposes bulling and unilateral action said the most dangerous phrase of the entire speech in my opinion: “But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions…”[2]

Executive actions, a.k.a executive orders, is a recurrent them in the Obama administration. A quick count of said orders listed on the National Archives web site puts the number around 160 to date.[3] It just seems ironic to me that in one breath he pleads for bipartisan work on global warming (climate change as they prefer) and then declares that he will act in a partisan way if he doesn’t get what he wants when he wants it. Moreover, the president seems be saying let’s work within the frame work of our constitution to get laws passed on this, but if I have to I will shred the constitution to get what I want. This kind of sentiment is coming from a man who just 24 day swore to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The Founders scribed the tenants of the Constitution to prevent this kind of power grab by any one individual and the Constitution was ratified by the states. To my knowledge the verbiage detailing the structure and powers of each branch of government have not been changed or amended in the Constitution. There is no such unilateral law making power given to the executive branch of our government. Dictators and kings may have the executive power to make decree laws unilaterally, but not in these United States of America. Although many claim that such power has been granted via the Executive Vesting Clause (see Article 2 Section 1 Clause 1 of the Constitution) and the Take Care Clause (see Article 2 Section 2 Clause 5 of the Constitution).[4] However, such an interpretation of these clauses is contradictory to the articles surrounding the Article 2 which plainly separate the powers of each branch and delineate the process by which legislation is made and enforced.

Unfortunately too many Americans are either to ignorant or too blinded to understand the degradation of the Constitution by such executive orders. Maybe it is that such things are no longer taught adequately enough the government-run schools. Our founders set up a system of government that provided for the passing of laws in such a way as to allow for the rights and voices of the citizen to be heard through duly elected representatives. If they had wanted a system where one guy could make laws of his own choosing they would have never revolted against the king of England. It seems to me that we need to go back to our roots. We need to let our kids watch Schoolhouse Rock once again.[5] Sadly, we have elected officials who are determined to rewrite the Constitution without ever giving the American people their right to vote on the amendment of this vitally important founding document. Wake-up America! I will close with a modified version of the presidents final sentence in his speak last night; Thank you, God bless you, and may God help these United States of America.

[1] Transcript of Obama’s State of the Union speech given February 12, 2013, available at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/12/transcript-obama-state-union-speech/, accessed on February 13, 2013.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Executive Orders: Subject Index for Barack Obama – 2009-Present,” National Archives, available at http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/executive-orders/obama-subjects.html, accessed on February 13, 2013.

[4] “The Heritage Guide to The Constitution,” available at http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/constitution#essay-76, accessed on February 13, 2013.

[5] Go here to watch Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill” to be reminded of the process making laws: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyeJ55o3El0, accessed on February 13, 2013.


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