Imagine that you are a middle-aged husband and father, as well as a highly successful sales executive, with a loving wife and growing kids. Like other suburban American families, you have a mortgage, car payments, college to save for, etc. etc. You are, in short, living the American Dream.
But then, out of the blue, your company, prompted by President Joe Biden’s executive order mandating that all employees of federal contractors must get the vaccination against COVID-19, gives you an ultimatum: Get the jab by a certain date or face termination.
You do not want to get the jab because you already had the virus and as a result, you are well-stocked with the natural antibodies that are dramatically more effective than the vaccine you are being ordered to accept. You also have other medical and religious grounds for not wanting the vaccine.
So you request an exemption and your company grants it. But there are strings that make it impossible for you to do your job, most notably a ban on having face-to-face meetings with customers and prospects. Plus, they say they reserve the option of giving your accounts to somebody else. So much for due process and equal protection of the law in the workplace.
In other words, you are being forced to make a choice: Get the vaccine, or accept what amounts to second-class citizenship and all-but-certain loss of your ability to earn a livelihood with the company for which you have been immensely productive and to which you have been totally loyal.
The particulars vary somewhat from case to case, but this scenario is being repeated millions of times across America every day. The suffocating grip of unaccountable government rule by executive decree and bureaucratic regulation steadily tightens around the throat of individual liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Ah, but don’t worry, you say, the Republicans are sure to win a landslide victory in the 2022 midterm elections. At a minimum, the GOP will regain the House majority, and that will be the end of the Biden mandates. Everything will be fine. The system works. Take it easy. All hail Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy!
Don’t bet your life, liberty or property on it, friends. This is the Republican Party we are talking about, the party that ran and hid in 2012 when then-Attorney General Eric Holder gave his middle finger to a congressional contempt citation. And the same Republican Party that got current Attorney General Merrick Garland’s middle finger a few weeks ago, but shows no inclination to do anything about it.
The proper response to Biden, Holder and Garland is in Article I of the Constitution, because the Founders knew such power-hungry officials with no respect for the rule of law would inevitably appear in American government.
That response is that Congress must once again act like the Founders intended for it to act when they made it the “First Branch” of our constitutional republic’s central government. Yes, the three branches—legislative, executive and judicial—are separate and equal … but only as long as Congress chooses not to use the “ultimate weapons” that assure it victory in any showdown with either of the other two branches.
As I wrote in my previous column:
As I and others far smarter than me have argued for decades (for example, here), the Founders made Congress the first branch because they intended it to be supreme in any contest with either of the other two branches.
They gave Congress all of the “ultimate weapons,” including the sole authority to authorize, create, and abolish departments, programs, and positions, as well as deciding how each and every tax dollar collected by the government is spent.
If it chooses to enforce its will, Congress can do so as long as majorities of both the Senate and House agree and make it clear they will have their way. In other words, the coming Republican majority, if it materializes, had better display some big brass ones.
Otherwise, executive branch officials won’t even bother to raise their middle finger any more.
If the GOP wins both the Senate and the House, the task at hand in 2023—begin defunding government by executive decree and rebuilding congressional oversight power over the regulatory bureaucracy—will be somewhat easier. But it’s smart to have a plan for the other possibility: only the House gets a GOP majority.
In either case, however, congressional Republicans must be willing to risk a showdown in which an intransigent Biden—pushed by his most vocal supporters on campus, in the Mainstream Media and among the violent ranks of progressive activists—forces a government shutdown, and be prepared to “win” what follows.
What will be at stake will be a choice between two futures for America: one in which constitutional government that protects individual liberty under law is restored, or one in which Congress completes its long slide into becoming a meaningless artifact. It will be, as Ronald Reagan would say, “a time for choosing.”