Home > Congress > Embrace the Constitution, not worship it…

Embrace the Constitution, not worship it…

First off, this post may shift from opinion to rant at a moments notice, so please be prepared…

Tomorrow starts the new Congress, and with it many changes.  Something that has caught my eye is that the Republicans have asked for a reading of the entire Constitution of The United States on the floor of the House on January 6th as a way to remind everyone that the Founders supposedly wanted a more limited government than what we have today.  They see it as a way to bring some of those principles back into everyday legislating.

E. J. Dionne at first scoffed at the idea of reading the Constitution, but ended up embracing it…

But on reflection, I offer the Republicans two cheers for their fealty to their professed ideals. We badly need a full-scale debate over what the Constitution is, means and allows – and how Americans have argued about these questions since the beginning of the republic. This provision should be the springboard for a discussion all of us should join.

Since its founding, the Tea Party have gone out of their way to give the impression that we have lost our way as a nation and that we have forgotten the principles of The Constitution.  They have said that the only way out of these difficult time is to re-dedicate ourselves to it as a nation.  They view it as some sort of scripture that must be followed to the letter.

The Constitution is not the “holy scripture” of governing.  It is not the end-all or be-all of a national government.  If it was then there would be no need to add to it or change it, yet it has been added to (if you count the Bill of Rights) over twenty-five times, mostly in response to events never considered by the writers.

I do not feel that a document written in the 18th century should be the only guidance for a government that we use in the 21st century.  Our Founding Fathers knew that there would be issues and ideas that they never thought of that would need to be looked at from a bigger picture.  They did not have an “all seeing eye” into the future or any omnipotence to predict what laws we would and would not need today.  To look at our Constitution as a fixed, immutable doctrine of governing takes away from the beauty of the words as well as the intent of the framers.

If we were to take the Constitution as it was written without any Amendments then women would not have the right to vote (19th Amendment), we would still have slavery (13th Amendment), and there would be no limits to the term of a President (20th Amendment).  On top of that, we would have none of the changes listed in the Bill of Rights since the main Constitution was passed in 1788 and the Bill of Rights in 1791.

I agree with Mr. Dionne that we should take a good long look at the documents that founded our nation and give us guidance on how to govern ourselves.  We should also see this as a good place to start to see what needs to be added or changed as we move forward.  However, we should never let it lock us into a singular way of leadership.

What do you feel needs to be changed?  What issues need to be look at from the point of view of a national government as compared to a local or state government?


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