I’ve heard the phrase “We need to go back to our roots.” on many occasions. I think it means let’s go back to the original intent of our forefathers who wrote the US Constitution. That is the definition I received when listening to Republicans talk on TV shows and the news media. The phrase “going back to our roots” has many more possible interpretations. For example: it could mean going back to the original US Constitution as passed by our founders in 1787 and the Bill of Rights. Or it could mean going back to the original intent of each article of the US Constitution and the original intent of each Amendment. The amendments with the exception of the Bill of Rights are not part of our roots.
Our roots are found in the Federalist Papers and in the notes kept by the founders of our nation during the summer of 1787. Anyone who is interested in those notes can read the book The Summer Of 1787 written by David O Stewart and published by Simon and Schuster. ISBN-13: 978-0-7432-8692-3
The Federalist Papers can be found at any web site selling books. There are many versions available. I have the book rewritten in modern language. It was edited by Mary Webster. The title is “The Federalist Papers.” It was published by Merril Press. ISBN 0-936783-21-4
Let’s consider several issues and see if going back to our roots resolves those issues.
Immigration is one important issue where Conservatives are saying we should go back to our roots. Will that resolve it? In 1787, people were immigrating to the US from all over the world. The US had no legal means of preventing this immigration. The first Immigration Acts were the Immigration Act of 1921 and the Immigration Act of 1924. So I fail to see how going back to our roots will resolve the Immigration problem.
With regard to religion, the US did not prevent any immigrants of any religion from entering the US. We were not a Christian nation that allowed only Christian immigrants. Note that I am referring to the Federal Government and not the actions taken by any state in the nation.
With regard to abortion, abortion was not a national issue. The first case regarding abortion (as a national issue) was in Roe vs Wade in 1973.
The Federal government gained it’s income through the sale of land. This source of income was feasible because of the constant expansion westward. Today there is a very limited amount of Federal Government land that could be sold. I certainly don’t want the government to sell any historical sites to private developers.
The Federal government had no military. The military consisted of state militias. The state militias did not always cooperate with the government. So going back to our roots certainly does not help with regard to the war on terror.
Going back to our roots means going back to the original intent of the US Constitution. However, any document that is not a living document is doomed to failure because it cannot be applied to modern times. The amendments to the US Constitution and the modern interpretation applied to it are what allowed our nation to survive. The latest example is the war on terror. There have been many debates on the treatment of terrorists in our nation: Whether they should be tried in US Courts or by a military tribunal. Can we find the answer to this question by going back to our roots? Not hardly. Even if we consider the war of 1812 or the Civil War, we do not find any answers.
Going back to our roots refers to our national roots. However, if one wants to consider our local roots, one should read the book A History Of American Law written by Lawrence M. Friedman and published by Simon and Shuster Inc. ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-5466-0
Before going back to our national roots, one should read the book A People’s History Of The Supreme Court written by Peter Irons and published by Penguin Books. ISBN 0 14 30.3738 2
We were not born a Christian nation as is proven by the lack of immigration laws during and after the summer of 1787.
And giving the states the type of sovereignty they had before the passage of the 14th amendment would put our military in jeopardy. It would allow the states the right to refuse to send it’s soldiers (then called militias) to fight a war declared by the US Congress. It would in effect allow each state government to dictate the religion of that state. It would allow the battles between states that existed prior to the ratification of the US Constitution to resume. It would allow states to ignore Federal laws as they had done via a Document of Nullification before the 14th amendment. It would remove the Federal Government’s control of international commerce and place it in the hands of the states thereby allowing states to compete with each other and even block each other’s ports to gain a superior hand in trade relations with some foreign nation.
With regard to the disabled and those on Welfare, it would leave people starving in the streets: especially people whose problems are not understood nor accepted by the American public.
I feel that we won’t resolve any national issue by going back to our roots. We will simply create more national issues. This next statement is harsh, but it accurately describes my bias with regard to going back to our roots. Going back to our roots is just plain lunacy!
In conclusion, the Republicans want to selectively go back to our roots. They only want to go back to our roots in the case’s where our founder’s intent satisfies the Republican platform. Hence, they are not telling the real meaning of their phrase “Going back to our roots. They should call it “Forcing Republican Philosophy On The US People.”