Tweens and Justin Bieber’s music.
Anyone and the Kardashians’ TV shows.
There are some people who are extremely popular with the masses, but whose appeal I just can’t see.
Here’s another one. The tea party and Allen West. West, a former army officer and congressman, was a darling of the tea party movement and rode that wave all the way to Washington in 2010. Once in office he quickly proved that his devotion to the movement’s stated principles, limited government and strict adherence to the Constitution, was less than complete.
During his tenure he voted to extend the unconstitutional Patriot Act, voted to continue to fund various unconstitutional programs and worked to procure unconstitutional federal grants for his home district. Despite this record, West was still highly regarded by conservatives and his electoral defeat in 2012 led to great consternation in those on the right.
One might have thought that West would use his newly-acquired free time to deepen his principled belief in the Constitution. Judging by this interview, that is not the course that he took.
The video starts off with West reaffirming his devotion to the Constitution, stating “I don’t think I need to compromise on the Constitution…” as he criticizes Washington for excluding themselves from the Affordable Care Act.
But it is in fielding another question where West’s devotion to the Constitution begins to waver. The question is asked of West, “Is liberating and protecting foreigners a proper function of the federal government?”
West’s reply: “Well, I think that it may not be a proper function per se, but once again it’s part of doing what is right.”
Did you catch that? West, who literally seconds before was pontificating on the virtue of strict adherence to the Constitution makes the case that it can be ignored in the interest of “doing what is right.” Of course, he fails to elucidate his audience about who is to determine what is right. After all, couldn’t President Obama use the same rationale and say that mandating universal health insurance is “what is right” and that, because of this, the Constitution could be ignored.
In fact, isn’t that the very argument Obama and the Democrats made?
West rationalizes his waffling on the Constitution by saying that he is upset about the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt and a handful of other examples of upheaval in other countries. West then appeals to an Abraham Lincoln quote about being guided by “the better angels of our nature”, whatever that means.
When pressed on the question, he cuts the interviewer off by saying, “If you want to sit around and watch people get slaughtered, that’s on you.”
Of course, the thought never occurs to West that maybe the United States’ constant unconstitutional meddling in other nations’ affairs is making the situation immeasurably worse and more volatile, particularly for the minority groups for whose well-being West claims to care so much. Perhaps he should research what happened to Iraq’s Christian community after the U.S. invaded in 2003.
In a short video, West has managed to provide us with a microcosm of why the Constitution is in tatters today. Federal politicians want to hold everyone accountable to the law of the land except themselves. All issues should have to pass the test of constitutionality except for the issues that they care about. Principle is vitally important, except when it gets in the way of their desired outcomes.
If West hadn’t fled his interviewer, maybe he could have explained why every issue shouldn’t be subject to the Constitution. Or maybe he could have tried to explain how the Constitution can be strictly followed domestically while being conveniently ignored in foreign policy.
Let me save the former congressman the time. It can’t. If you subvert one part of the Constitution, you subvert it all. And if you subvert the Constitution, you’re part of the problem. That’s true regardless of how popular you are.