Whatever Happened to "Consent of the Governed?"
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
Some in America would argue that the American President, Barack Hussein Obama, is harkening back to the time when the vast majority of the governed were ignorant serfs, or slaves, held in a form of bondage by a king, and a faith, that informed them that the king's right to rule was approved by God and theirs was but to obey unquestionably. In those days, kings ruled by a right believed given them by God. It was referred to as "the divine right of kings."
When America was founded, the Founding fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence : "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ... " That was the exact moment that Americans thumbed their noses at the King of England and made clear that America did not have -- and never would have -- a king.
The very next sentence in the Declaration of Independence sets out, clearly, the rights of the American people should ever a king make an attempt to seize power in America. It states: "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
Let's be clear here. These are words from the Declaration of Independence and NOT from the US Constitution. As my Confederate ancestors learned, the Declaration of Independence, unlike the constitution, is not law.
Now let us revisit (for the purpose of this commentary) a single phrase from the Declaration of Independence: "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ... "
You would think that phrase would need no explanation. Its meaning is as clear as the tolling of a bell. Well, clear to the pure in heart, anyway. But to scurrilous people, people who live and die by political power, who exist and have their being in the shadows -- just off stage of the main political play, that single phrase is a dire threat.
"Consent of the governed" is a phrase synonymous with a political theory wherein a government's legitimacy and moral right to use state power is only justified and legal when derived from the people or society over which that political power is exercised. This theory of "consent" is historically contrasted to the divine right of kings and has often been invoked against the legitimacy of colonialism. Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government." Source:
Why am I pointing to this little quoted and, I suspect, little known, and (for certain) little heeded phrase in these remarks? Because, dear reader, something dark and foreboding is afoot in America today. And, I suspect too many Americans are unaware of the horrible consequences awaiting them, if current events continue uninterrupted by the people , either through their legislature (the Congress) or by the American people, directly, at the polls in November. The latter rests upon the supposition that the November election will be allowed to occur -- a supposition that is not necessarily supported by current events, nor the political currents swirling around the Oval Office of the President of the United States.
Not since the reign of King George have the American people been ruled by as many "edicts." It would seem that President Obama has completely dismissed the "consent of the governed" and ignored the US Constitution, and even the people's Representatives and Senators in the Congress, and chosen to rule the country, himself, directly from the Oval Office. Much like Napoleon, Emperor of France, he has decided, it would seem, to place the emperor's crown upon his own head and take upon himself sole rule of the 50 states comprising the United States.
Those 535 members of Congress, swaddled in the comforting thought that it could never happen here in America, are paralyzed and impotent in the face of what has become a "coup de tat" taking place, in broad daylight, just down the street from their offices.
Members of Congress might as well clean out their desks and go home. Obama has sent them a clear message -- their services are no longer needed -- or wanted -- despite the fact that they represent the people of the country. At least they USED to represent the people -- until Obama decided to toss consent of the governed and replace it with the divine right of kings or, in this case, the divine right of Obama.
As an American, I am compelled to ask how long before the legal representatives of the people of America, those who still have the consent of the governed, take action to, at the very least, inform th President -- oops -- the king, that he must cease and desist his royal romp or face the anger of the people whose freedom he is trampling.
I am not a constitutional authority. I'm just an ole country boy who loves freedom, liberty, and the rule of law. But it seems clear to me that our President has lost any clear vision and understanding that his is NOT the sole branch of government in America. There yet remains the Congress and the Supreme Court -- both equal to the Executive branch. Additionally, I have concluded that it is time for the American people to demand that the Congress exercise its power under the consent of the governed and make a bold effort to legally remove our current President from that office by constitutionally approved means, as soon as possible.
Surely there are enough grounds for a Bill of Impeachment to be drawn up and exercised -- forthwith.
It is time to restore a government in Washington which enjoys the consent of the governed -- just as the nation's founders and forefathers envisioned.
J. D. Longstreet