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The president has the right to… what?

Debunking de-junk –or– What you should have learned in skoole!

American Contract

In a recent conversation about the NSA’s domestic spying program I was informed that “the president has a right to order wire taps on Americans or anyone else within our borders to protect us”.

Having already published several pieces regarding the domestic spying program recently I won’t make this another, but I was curious about one specific point in that statement and so I asked several others (some pro-Bush and some not) just “what rights a president has?”.

I won’t drag this out with the specific ones that were offered to me in their replies, but every person I asked did offer a few.

So, when exactly did we stop teaching people about the constitution and government in schools? I have to ask that, because not one of those I surveyed seemed to understand that the president is an office. A piece of the governmental body. It’s not a person, not a citizen. Have you ever heard the term “the office [of the president] is bigger than the man”?

As such, the president has duties, authorities and powers granted by the constitution and agreed upon by the citizens–but no inherent rights or powers.

The constitution is an employment contract made between the American citizens (we the people) and the government (a formal workforce team who’s members come from the citizen population and are majority agreed upon) to do a job; “to forge a more perfect union”.

This contract between citizens and government is very detailed and specific on what the job is, and how it’s to be executed. It explains the duties and obligations which the government must meet, and grants the authorities and powers which may be used. It also outlines a nifty little supervisory system of checks and balances to prevent and correct abuses or failures.

Realizing that the contract would have to stand a test of time in an ever changing world, a mechanism was put in place to allow for the contract to expand and change in order for the government entity to continue fulfilling it’s duties and obligations.

This mechanism provides for the government, or any specific appendage within, to speak up when their granted authorities or powers aren’t sufficient to do their jobs and request that they be expanded or altered.

Then, once both parties of the contract have decided that the changes are reasonable and actually required, it can be determined how best to make and implement them; everyone is happy.

Citizens have rights, we also have duties and obligations. The government has duties, authorities and powers which are granted to it by us. No more–and no less.

Please leave a fresh apple on my desk and there will be a pop-quiz later in the week.

The Constitution of the United States of America

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Posted by Scott Bannon on January 27, 2006.



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