Here in West Michigan, much the focus on presidential election activity has been centered around the Leonard Street headquarters of Republican candidate John McCain and the Wealthy Street headquarters of Democratic candidate Barack Obama. However, there is another political party with a physical office in Grand Rapids–the Constitution Party. The party–who is running radio talk show host Chuck Baldwin as its candidate–has its national headquarters in the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming.
The Constitution Party is a rightwing political party that offers nothing for progressives or leftist radicals. Indeed, the party has links to a variety of elements in the right–from organized white supremacy to the militia movement–which are actively opposed by the left. However, because their office is in West Michigan, it is appropriate to briefly survey what they are about, as part of building effective left-based movements is knowing what we are up against.
The Constitution Party’s mission is:
“…to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity through the election, at all levels of government, of Constitution Party candidates who will uphold the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. It is our goal to limit the federal government to its delegated, enumerated, Constitutional functions and to restore American jurisprudence to its original Biblical common-law foundations.”
In order to understand what this means in practice, Mediamouse.org read through its party platform (http://www.constitutionparty.com/party_platform.php) to glean the Constitution Party’s position on major issues.
The Constitution Party opposes abortion under all circumstances and asserts that life begins at fertilization.
“All teaching is related to basic assumptions about God and man. Education as a whole, therefore, cannot be separated from religious faith. The law of our Creator assigns the authority and responsibility of educating children to their parents.”
Consequently, the Party favors eliminating the government education system and giving parents completely autonomy in deciding how their children are educated.
The Party supports the repeal of the Voting Rights Act, the Federal Election Campaign Act, and the McCain-Feingold law.
The Party stands for “realistic” conservation but rejects the idea of global warming:
“we wholeheartedly support realistic efforts to preserve the environment and reduce pollution – air, water, and land. We reject, however, the argument of the perceived threat of man-made global warming which has been refuted by a large number of scientists. The globalists are using the global warming threat to gain more control via worldwide sustainable development.”
The Constitution Party calls for the US to withdraw from NATO, the United Nations, bi-lateral and regional trade agreements, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fun (IMF). Their policy is essentially isolationist and calls for the United States to withdraw its military from most places and to cease providing financial and other forms of aid.
The Constitution Party opposes the direct election of the US Senate and would like to see state legislatures once again be given the authority to elect Senators.
Additionally, the party seeks to eliminate government funding for all “duties, functions, and programs” not specifically outlined in the US constitution.
The Constitution Party advocates a moratorium on immigration and makes several questionable assertions about immigrants:
“Each year approximately one million legal immigrants and almost as many illegal aliens enter these United States. These immigrants – including illegal aliens – have been made eligible for various kinds of public assistance, including housing, education, Social Security, and legal services. This unconstitutional drain on the federal Treasury is having a severe and adverse impact on our economy, increasing the cost of government at federal, state, and local levels, adding to the tax burden, and stressing the fabric of society. The mass importation of people with low standards of living threatens the wage structure of the American worker and the labor balance in our country.”
The Party also supports so-called “English-only” efforts:
“We oppose bilingual ballots. We insist that those who wish to take part in the electoral process and governance of this nation be required to read and comprehend basic English as a precondition of citizenship. We support English as the official language for all governmental business by these United States.”
The party has a very clear anti-gay platform:
“The law of our Creator defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. The marriage covenant is the foundation of the family, and the family is fundamental in the maintenance of a stable, healthy and prosperous social order. No government may legitimately authorize or define marriage or family relations contrary to what God has instituted. We are opposed to amending the U.S. Constitution for the purpose of defining marriage.”
“We reject the notion that sexual offenders are deserving of legal favor or special protection, and affirm the rights of states and localities to proscribe offensive sexual behavior. We oppose all efforts to impose a new sexual legal order through the federal court system. We stand against so-called “sexual orientation” and “hate crime” statutes that attempt to legitimize inappropriate sexual behavior and to stifle public resistance to its expression. We oppose government funding of “partner” benefits for unmarried individuals. Finally, we oppose any legal recognition of homosexual unions.”
The Constitution Party opposes the president’s use of military force without a declaration of war.
The Party advocates a strong and ever growing military.
The Constitution Party opposes a military draft saying that “compulsory government service is incompatible with individual liberty.”
The Party opposes military service by women: “We reject the policies and practices that permit women to train for or participate in combat. Because of the radical feminization of the military over the past two decades, it must be recognized that these “advances” undermine the integrity, morale, and performance of our military organizations by dual qualification standards and forced integration.”
The Party opposes the IRS and advocates its elimination. Instead, government would earn revenue by a system of tariffs. Similarly, the Party opposes the Social Security and welfare as they are not outlined in the Constitution.