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RANT FROM OCTOBER 2007
"Who Is Sovereign?"
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We are in the middle of a serious constitutional crisis, even though most folks don't seem to be aware of it. The question is: "Who is sovereign?"

The dictionary is a good place to start, hopefully. "Sovereign - [1] above or superior to all others. [2] supreme in power, rank, or authority." It looks plain and obvious enough, but actually the usage has been inconsistent for centuries. Many think the sovereign is the ruler, the king, the emperor, some person or small group of persons maybe. In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland the queen is called "the sovereign." But she tells only a few what to do - for the most part she is a symbol. And anyway, since way back in 1215, the Magna Charta made sure that the king understood he was only one among equals, meaning the rest of the nobility.

Sovereignty is used to define one nation over against another. Turkey and Greece are sovereign - no one can tell them what to do inside their own territory. Kurdistan is not sovereign. Quebec is not sovereign. The USA is a sovereign nation, that is, independent of others. There are some persons who fear that our involvement with the United Nations is a threat to our sovereignty. I'm beginning to suspect that the concept of sovereignty will be a hindrance to world solidarity and the solutions to serious global problems.

Our founding fathers in 1787 debated the role of the head of the executive branch and the idea of sovereignty. Some wanted to offer kingship, and sovereignty, to George Washington, but he declined. "We don't want a king. We tried that, and didn't like it." So they made clear that the President was not a king. He had limited powers. He had no royal prerogatives. He was not, and is not, sovereign. The people are sovereign.

The framers of the Constitution set up a system of balanced powers. And the 10th amendment made it perfectly clear: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people." And the preamble to the Constitution makes clear that the formation of this government was not by royal edict, but a deliberate act of - "We, the People."

The people are sovereign. And among the separate branches of government, the one which most closely reflects the will of the people is the Congress, not the Chief Executive.

In our time we have more direct ways of measuring or ascertaining the will of the people, more direct than elections. In fact in our time we have stolen elections, and a mostly silent "people," who allow them. But the polls still exist, measuring the fluctuating mood of the people, giving a rough estimate of the will of the people. Polls are imperfect; the questions can be very cleverly skewed, and the data inaccurately reported. But they are not quite worthless.

Well, here we are with an acting president - I call him that very deliberately because of those stolen elections - who thinks he is sovereign, or would if he could comprehend the concept. Those around him who manage him and really run things have been working very hard to widen "the powers of the presidency." The acting president proudly asserts that he doesn't read the newspapers, or watch TV news, or care one whit about the polls. His scorning of the polls tells us that he does not believe that the people are sovereign.

Sometimes the people behave in ways that make a body wonder. They elected Ronald Reagan, twice. They allowed the selection of the current acting president, in two stolen elections. Do our sovereign people have what it takes to be sovereign? Do they have whatever it is that they seem to have in the Philippines, and the Ukraine, and Myanmar?

The sovereign people falter, for two reasons that I can see from here:

[1] They have been dumbed down deliberately. Schools do not function well. History is not well-taught. A huge percentage of the people think that Hitler was on our side in World War Two, no doubt because of the Cold War and the half-century of hostility and propaganda toward the Soviet Union. The story of the American attack on Vietnam is not retold accurately, or at all, in high school. More and more of the news is fluff, and when it isn't, the historical background of whatever is going on is left out. Only a tiny percentage of Americans remember or know about the CIA involvement in the overthrow of the elected president of Iran in 1953, so the media can ballyhoo a blanket bombardment of Iran, as if the Iranians were all purely evil and we were "the good guys."

[2] The people are being distracted and overworked. We can't have an orange revolution here, when an election is stolen, because the sovereign people have to go to work, at their two or more poorly paid jobs, in order to keep up their extravagant lifestyle - extravagant compared to the rest of the world. The sovereign people are weary and exhausted, and eager to be distracted. And they are bombarded with distraction, very deliberately, as if the media had some fear that an orange-type revolution could break out if they aren't careful.

The exercise of sovereignty will be hard work, when we finally get at it.

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Copyright © 2007 Harry Willson

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