One of the five core values of Citizens for Traditional Values Shiawassee (CTV Shiawassee) is limited government. During the current COVID-19 crisis, this value has become all important.
Our founders established our government based upon creating a separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Understanding the sin nature of humankind to abuse power, the founders instituted these checks and balances among the branches to constitutionally limit the power of government and to protect each citizen’s God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This separation was established to pit power against power and was intended to prevent centralized power from overriding the will and voice of the people by tempting us into relinquishing our constitutional authority. The founders understood that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
We were given a federal form of government that divided power among the national, state, county, township and city governmental jurisdictions. The U.S. Constitution gives the federal government very limited powers throughout the body thereof, with enumerated protections of individual rights in the first ten amendments to the constitution commonly known as the Bill of Rights. The 9th and 10th amendments reserved the vast majority of power to the states and to the people. Again, this was to pit power against power to lessen the danger of too much power being centralized in a small group of people at the national level who would inevitably tyrannize and oppress those without power.
“It is hardly too strong to say that the constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters,” said Daniel Webster.
“In questions of power, then let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down by the chains of the Constitution,” said Thomas Jefferson.
We are seeing our federal form of government, with its separation of powers and its checks and balances, operating locally as our founders intended. Perry Mayor James Huguelot, Shiawassee County Sheriff Brian BeGole and Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart have issued decrees that have blunted Governor Whitmer’s extended stay at home orders. Michigan churches also sued Governor Whitmer over her extended orders keeping churches closed. No matter who you think is right, this is our American form of government on full display, working as our founders intended it should.
Now, as never before, American citizens need to read, understand and defend our federal and constitutional form of representative government. We must not sacrifice our freedom in the name of public safety. Freedom involves risk. People cannot be free without risk. We must balance freedom with safety, but not forgo our freedom under the banner of “until it’s safe” no matter what the cost.
Richard L. Ross, Owosso