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Sunday, June 23, 2024

As you were all out celebrating President-elect Barack Obama's victory early into the morning on Nov. 5, many of you let an important day in history pass without recognition.

It was 403 years ago that the infamous Gunpowder Plot to destroy the British Houses of Parliament was foiled, which led to the execution of co-conspirator Guy Fawkes.

Nov. 5 has been forever immortalized in the film "V for Vendetta" and has become a day of remembrance for those of us who wish to see the U.S. return to a constitutional republic as our founders would have envisioned. Unfortunately, we no longer live under such a republic.

Over the past few decades, we have seen our government take so much power and spend so much money that it has left many Americans concerned for our country's future. Politicians and bureaucrats treat the Constitution and the Bill of Rights like relics from the past, claiming these documents hold no relevance in today's society.

How can the very framework that keeps our country together and protects every individual's rights be so blatantly ignored by our leaders?

The Constitution is just an inconvenience for them, I guess. They would rather have us simply trust them than question the legitimacy of their policies.

Although the president of the U.S. is the supposed protector of the Constitution, he is often the one to abuse his power the most. I'm sure you are aware of the Bush administration's abuses of power, but the truth is the Constitution has been abused by every president since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Presidents in modern history have viewed the executive power they inherited from their predecessors as a floor to be built upon, not as a ceiling to limit their executive authority. This trend needs to be reversed.

Even Obama recently said that he would use executive orders to bypass Congress, much like how President George W. Bush has used signing statements. How does this bring change, Mr. President?

Obama also said the Constitution "[reflects] the fundamental flaw of this country." This is the same document that the new president will take an oath to uphold and protect on Jan. 20. How can the president, the very person who protects the integrity of the Constitution, say that it is fundamentally flawed?

Unfortunately, like so many people today, Obama believes the Constitution is a "living" document that evolves over time in accordance with society. This view of our Constitution is absolutely wrong and very dangerous.

The founders warned that a broad interpretation of this document could ultimately ruin our country by granting our government limitless powers.

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If a majority of Americans feel we need to change or add something to the Constitution, then we must amend it properly. Otherwise, it must be strictly followed to ensure the government doesn't abuse its power.

It was Patrick Henry who famously said, "The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government."

I ask you all to read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and understand that these documents exist to maintain our liberty in the face of authoritarianism.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November.

Daniel Rood is an engineering junior and member of UF College Libertarians.

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