Powers of the people

Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2003

After reading the Sunday Empire's "What do you think" about U.S. military force ousting Saddam, it suddenly occurred to me that we Alaskans might get some David and Goliath action done regarding the federal government. Current events have given us possibly the greatest opportunity in 200 years to increase states rights and citizen authority at the expense of improper federal power. We can do it in the simplest and most constitutionally pure manner possible. We, the people of Alaska, can vote for or against a war on Iraq, and then nationally publish the voting results on Alaska's instructions for the president, our chief public servant.

Why should Alaskans do this - either by direct vote or through the vote of elected civic bodies up to and including the Legislature? Note that the president has been wasting the time and attention of the country making a case for war to get the agreement of the American people. Why? Because the methodology set down in the Constitution to get this support, a declaration of war, was not used. How is this? Because the Iraq resolution constitutes an abdication of the constitutional power of Congress to representatively deliberate the question of war. Through a piece of congressional irresponsibility called the War Powers Act, Congress attempts to say how they know better than the Founding Fathers. They have granted the president unfounded discretionary powers to use military force. Worse, it's being implied that average Americans can't be trusted with "secret and classified" opposing facts - nor capable, then, of judging the worth and consequences of abandoning the methodologies of civilization for "fast, efficient" violence. But we've been hearing that from political big-shots who wanted people subservient, since forever.

The real political truth is simple. In a republic established by the people, when a part of the representative government they created abdicates a part of the power and authority granted it, that power and authority obviously goes back to where it came from. Congress and the president may have put on a show about how "leadership" and "security" are more important in these troubled times than constitutionally driven citizen representation. But if this was so, then why is the Bush administration still making a play for broad public support? Therefore fellow Alaskan, how about going down in American history for simply opening your mouth about war and collectively insisting: "No voiding civilization without representation!"?

Stuart Thompson

Auke Bay

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