Our society has come upon a defining moment: We, the American people, have a choice to make regarding the kind of government we desire.
The shape and role of our federal government has been slowly changing over that last few decades and now we have reached a critical juncture. The implications of our decision could last for generations, changing the course of America and possibly wrecking what took our Founding Fathers a lifetime to painstakingly establish ??? a Republic that secured liberty and esteemed man???s natural rights above all else ??? something the world had never witnessed.
This decision point is just days away on November 6th, Election Day.
The danger that lurks has manifested in a slow, methodical nature that has managed to escape the notice of most Americans. This encroaching danger is a federal government that is becoming so big it is accountable to no one.
The Executive branch has grown to an unprecedented size, the likes of which our ancestors would not recognize. An inordinate amount of consolidated power over the American people is coming to rest within the federal government, and worse, without check.
Is this the path we desire?
Often, any discussion involving the make-up of our federal government entails the acknowledgement of the Founding Fathers??? teachings as understood through their writings, speeches, and letters. While they were the progenitors of our Constitution ??? the document that proscribes not only how our government is to be formed, but also its lawful authority, and thereby the granting authority for all subsequent law in our nation ??? valuable insight can be taken from these learned men when working to understand how our government is meant to function.
Nonetheless, it is not my intent to unpack the genius of our founders, although I encourage Americans to examine for themselves the brilliance these men possessed.
We find ourselves at a crossroads, a decision point in our history. However, this fateful choice ??? a choice to live and remain free ??? is not new to the American people.
Periodically, Americans have confronted this decision from the very beginning. The shackles of tyranny were the very reason why the Pilgrims risked their life to come to what was once an uninhabited, dangerous land.
The birth of our nation was forged in the crucible of heated decision; decision that afforded no error, but carried all the risk. The founders had a choice to make. One path, while predictable, kept them under the ever-tightening bind of tyranny while the other path, which was far less certain, set them upon a course of freedom where our natural rights were embraced and man was free to entertain his God-given talents and abilities.
In the next century, we were confronted with the fact that we had let a different kind of tyranny manifest itself in our nation ??? slavery ??? and if we were to survive a free, moral people, that disease had to be cut out, no matter how painful.
Today, another fateful choice lay before us. While it may seem that such a weighty decision is beyond our experience, as we have seen, this is not so. This decision is in our blood; we have already made it time and time again.
While there is no question the federal government has been growing over time, we have come upon a point of no return. The policies set in motion over the last four years by the Executive branch aim to grow the government by authorizing a law-making power in the executive branch ??? a power beyond the people???s control. This creates an uncheck-able control; or one might say an unrestrained exercise of power ??? tyranny.
Laws will be made by the Executive for the Executive and those it deems favorable to its existence. This is already occurring now, just in small, isolated doses.
Make no mistake, a tyranny sprouting up in America will not wield guns and drive tanks. It will evidence itself in a steady, gentle manner so as not to elicit any notice or denunciation. Americans??? revulsion to oppression is seen throughout our history, therefore the only way tyranny can force itself upon Americans is to walk in through the back door in a casual manner, hoping to go unnoticed. A break-in would cause a commotion, a commotion would force people to look and ask questions, undercutting any chance for an authoritarianism to plant and grow.
Today, tyranny is quietly standing at the threshold of the back door, disguised under an assumed name, waiting for us to open up and invite it in.
But this does not have to be so.
Our system of government is what has made us one of the greatest nations ever to grace this earth, but that does not mean it is perfect and does not require constant vigilance in its maintenance. Our government holds important responsibilities that cannot be overlooked, one of which is to deny tyranny a foothold in our country. While our system of government and its make-up is meant to act as a check upon potential oppression that does not mean it is not susceptible to tyranny???s subversive nature.
Humans are imperfect, we are corruptible. This is why our government is divided into three branches so no one branch consolidates power over the other. This is known as the separation of powers, a dictum we have heard since our first middle-school class on government.
It falls upon the people to keep an attentive eye upon the federal government???s separation of powers. The American people are part of our system of government and this is one of our roles in this system. The people???s ability to interdict is one reason why our system has been so successful at creating a free, prosperous nation. The policies set in motion in the last four years intend to remove the people from this equation under the guise that the federal government knows what is best for the people.
The federal government is growing beyond our control and in the next few years, unless another course is decided upon, the government, and not the people, will solidify its grip as the sole arbiters of freedom and opportunity. Among many consequences of this, equality as we know it will be crushed because only those who find favor with the government will succeed; those whom the government deems unfavorable will be denied the opportunity to succeed.
Unless the people act, the government will continue these unrestrained actions, becoming even more audacious just like a small, defiant child testing the will of his parents.
We must rip this fledgling tyranny out before its roots grow strong and indestructible.
In just a few days, the American people will have that chance. This opportunity is more than just our duty or our role in our system of government, it will be a chance to make history, to turn back from the point of no return and preserve the system that has made us a great, free nation.
Americans have consistently locked the door to tyranny, but today we are close to opening that door without even knowing it. While the choice between tyranny and freedom will not be a voting box on the ballot, let me be clear, this is what is at stake.
It is time for a new administration in the White House, one that abides by the laws, respects the Constitution, and respects the separation of powers in our Republic.
Make history, preserve our history ??? choose freedom on Nov. 6.
Matthew Russell is a legislative assistant to Rep. Mike Conaway, Republican of Texas.