I Built a House . . .

I built a new house. I had to have electric installed.

There is a National Electric Code (NEC) which was developed and written for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment. It was developed by a board with a working knowledge of what is reasonable and necessary. This code was mandated by my local law to control how the electric would be installed in my house. The local board added some requirements to the national standard.

I hired a licensed electrician to install the electric. After he was done, I had to have an inspector make sure that what he installed conformed to the code.

When the inspection came around, the inspector did not like the brand of GFCIs that were installed in the bathrooms and kitchen. It seemed that he had a childhood friend who had worked for the company that made these GFCIs. The friend lost his job when the company moved its factory to Mexico. The inspector was of the opinion that any GFCI made by this company was inherently faulty, and refused to ok any job using this brand. They needed to be switched out.

Additionally, the inspector did not think that the code was appropriately strict in the number of plugs that it mandated. He felt that the code would change the following year, so he was requiring all jobs to conform to what he thought would be required in the future.

One of the local electrical requirements was that every room had to be wired for a ceiling fan, whether the room had a ceiling fan or not. The electrician had discovered that the inspectors rarely checked under the ceiling cover plates where there was no fan. The inspector I got was very diligent, and found nothing under the cover plates in a few rooms.

I did not pass the inspection. It set me back a few weeks to reschedule the work.

Meanwhile, the guy building the house next to me passed his inspection, no problem, even though there were several actual code violations that were found. It seemed that he had a kid that had been arrested for drug use, forcing him to spend a lot of the money on a lawyer that he had intended to spend on his house. The inspector felt sorry for him, and gave him a pass.

I tried to protest the whole situation with the licensing board, but I found out that it would take several months to get any action. Even then, I was told “off the record” that probably nothing would be done about the irregularities in either mine or my neighbor’s inspection, because the inspector that I got was highly regarded by the board as going above and beyond the call of duty.

This is really the story of our Federal Government. Our Federal Government is actually brilliant in its simple design, just like the electric installation process in this house building example. Three branches, three distinct functions. Our Federal Government may seem huge and complicated, but it is because it has been infiltrated by career politicians who want to serve the people not for the people’s good, but for their own self interest and desire for power. The powers in the branches are leading the different branches in a cutthroat version of the childhood game of King of the Hill, both inside the Branches and among the Branches.

The Constitution established three branches of government—the Legislative Branch, which make the laws; the Executive Branch, which enforces the laws; and the Judicial Branch, which interprets the laws. They are all supposed to stick to what they are created to do. That means that they are doing their own job, they aren’t doing the job of the other branches, and there is just enough connection and knowledge of what each branch’s role is so that they function together, not against each other or in spite of each other. The 10th amendment to the Constitution also specifies that the federal government has the ONLY powers specified in the Constitution, and the states or the people get all other powers.

Our Federal Government is acting much like the Electric Board, the electrician, and the inspector in this house building case. The Legislators are imposing onerous restrictions without careful consideration, and far beyond what they are chartered to do. They are passing bills that they don’t even read. (Yet I haven’t heard a disclaimer of the attack which can always be applied to any one of We the People, “Ignorance of the Law is no Defense.”) Our Chief Executive is establishing his own rules (different than those passed by the Legislative Branch) and judging how they should be implemented (with threats like, “I’m the only one standing between you and the pitchforks.”) He should be honoring the Constitution by passing on to the other two branches those functions that belong there. The Judicial Branch is out interpreting laws in a way which really makes new, different law, sometimes in ways that our elected representatives—the people intended to make the laws by the Constitution—would never make.

Who pays for this mess? We the People. We, the taxpayers. We pay for an inefficient government whose members are serving their own interests instead of us. We pay in having controls that no one that was elected actually knew about. We pay in “fixing” problems more than once—the first time, when it creates a bigger problem, and the second time, to cover up for the first mess up. We pay with a growing sense of uneasiness that somehow things are way out of kilter.

How does this get fixed? I know it’s hard for a lot of us Baby Boomers to stand up to the children which we brought into this world once they start growing up and getting an attitude, but we are going to have to do something along the lines of Tough Love with our government—which we brought into this world—before it destroys our freedom. We have to take a strong stance against our government, which is acting like a belligerent teenager who says, “You can’t make me!”

We the People, who created the government, need to know about our history and know about the Constitution so that we understand what is at stake here. Our educational system, with its requirement of a course in government, is miserably failing us in what we are taught. We the People, need to let OUR public servants know that we expect them to defend the rules for everything. We the People need to start speaking out even if it is uncomfortable to make waves. If we don’t find some way, one day we will be telling our Grandchildren, “I remember the days of freedom when there was a We the People . . .”

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Published in: on May 27, 2009 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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