By George Bowers Sr.
This July will mark 238 years since our nation's founders declared their independence from Great Britain and the heavy-handed tyrant, King George. Many of the driving issues for this historical separation can be boiled down to one underlying contrast: would the colonies be ruled by law or by man? Ultimately, thousands of our ancestors gave their lives on the battlefields of this land to settle that question and found this nation firmly on the rule of law. Within 13 years, our Constitution was drafted and ratified as the legal basis for all governments in our young nation.
It is very alarming then to hear some of our leaders today declare their open disregard for the rule of law. When our nation's highest legal authority, the U.S. attorney general, encourages atate attorneys general to not defend whatever laws they personally deem unethical, immoral, or philosophically wrong is an obvious reversion to the rule of man. This clearly is not the role of these officials who have sworn to uphold those very laws. This role has been delegated to our judicial branch before which these attorneys must argue. Indeed, many activist judges have become very overzealous in this regard, but at least this is where those decisions should be made, according to our Constitution.
For those in power to blatantly disregard, not defend, and even argue against existing constitutional provisions is inexcusable. And perhaps the saddest part is that there is no public outcry. No one seems to care. This is a core issue that birthed our nation and shed hundreds of gallons of soldier blood. This issue has sent many of our young men and women around the world to die in order that others might not be ruled by the whims of men and women who inevitably become corrupt.
In America, if we dislike a law, we can use the political process to change or even reverse it if we can convince enough others to join us. Thank God for this privilege! But never before in our history has there been such a blatant disregard for existing law and the will of the people. If Constitutional provisions of the commonwealth are intentionally unenforced, and if laws passed by both houses of the US Congress and signed into law by the president are intentionally neglected, no other law in our state or nation is safe.
We have entered an age where we are now governed solely by the fiat of whoever is in power. Previous law and precedent hold no influence. And this is very dangerous for every U.S. citizen. Our rulers, no matter who they are or what their party affiliations may be, cannot be trusted with such power and even the purest of our founders knew this to be true.
In Virginia, we have elected our attorney general to defend and enforce our laws and he has sworn to do so. It is unthinkable that he, as our lawyer, has actually switched sides in the courtroom to argue against us. Where are the cries of the civil libertarians? Where is the outrage of an informed electorate? I suspect we are all busy working two jobs to pay our taxes, our health insurance, and our heating bills to even notice how those in power have made this catastrophic shift from the rule of law to the rule of man.
Regardless of how you feel about the current issues at hand, if these laws are not safe, neither are any others. If you are concerned about this power grab, please contact the state and U.S. attorneys general and demand accountability. Contact our governor and our president and be sure your local representatives know how you feel as well. And the next time we have an opportunity to cast a ballot, let us be sure those we are electing will respect the rule of law upon which this country was founded, or that we will remove them from the privilege and responsibility of leading us. Praying for our nation, George.
George Bowers Sr. is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of four books, including his latest book of poetry, "Wit and Wisdom of the Woods." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.