Constitutional Litmus Test

I went to the county fair this weekend. The kids had a ton of fun riding the rides and getting candy from the local politicians.

Amongst the throng of signs, stickers, and candy, one politician handed us a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Immediately, I knew his political disposition.

This event struck me as quite telling – that one political persuasion would so overwhelmingly identify with the foundational documents of our country.

There is something fundamentally wrong with this picture. All one side needs to do to get its message across is to present the fundamental documents on which the nation is founded. Where does this leave the other side?

While I didn’t get a chance to chat with the gentleman, I can imagine how the conversation might have gone. “What is your platform?” – “These documents.” “Sure, but these documents don’t mention [pick an issue]” – “then the federal government has no business being involved in [said issue].” How blissfully simple.

I had a conversation with a good friend a while back about the Constitution and he indicated that he felt it was a “living document.” Knowing what progressives mean by this, and knowing my friend to be no over-the-top Fabian socialist, I asked what he meant by that. He indicated that the Constitution is not now, and never will be in its final form. We can change it any time we want to through the process of amendment.

I wholeheartedly agree. (As a side note, this is not what progressives mean when they say the constitution is a “living document.” No, they mean it is subject to continual reinterpretation in the light of societal mores of the day – that the meaning of the Constitution changes from one generation to the next. Nonsense.)

Now, let me note here that we do not hold the Constitution to be a fundamental truth. It is not the Bible, its words are not scripture. We fully support the notion of changing the Constitution as needed. But we feel it should be done in accordance with the rules. The Constitution itself gives very clear guidance for how to amend: a two-thirds majority of both houses of congress to propose the amendment, and then three-fourths of the states to ratify it. (Yes, there are other ways to propose, but this is the way it’s always been done.)

Heck, you could even pass an amendment declaring that all future amendments require only a simple Congressional majority. I doubt it would pass, but if it were passed then it would be law, and valid. We simply want the rules followed.

I suppose this is why the politician at the fair was able to make as clean of a statement as he did. Progressives have never liked the process of amending the Constitution – it takes way too long and they want to affect change now. They just end up hating the very clear dictates of the supreme legal code of the land; dictates that limit governmental authority over the lives of the people. If they can try to twist the meaning then fine, but ultimately they tend to distance themselves of that pesky document altogether.

Ah well, the document is still here. If nothing else, it stands as a firm witness of a legal code laid out at the foundation of the union.

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