Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Living Breathing Document

If I hear one more time that the Constitution is “a living, breathing document” I think I might explode. It is no more living and breathing than the houses that we live in.

Like our houses the Constitution is our base. It is the foundation of our government. It is our shelter and our refuge. And we know it well. Each door, hallway, window, and stairwell is familiar to us.

But this is not to say that our home, our shelter, our Constitution is unchangeable. The architects and artisans who constructed it knew well that we would face a world that they could not possibly know and left clear and simple instructions regarding additions and modifications.

But as time has passed we have stumbled and become confused. Our courts, which were meant to interpret laws and then compare them to the Constitution, have long since taken it upon themselves, instead, to interpret the Constitution and compare it to laws that are in question. They have begun to try and read the minds of the framers. What must James Madison have been thinking when he said this or that. This they do in spite of the fact that they have what James Madison thought written right there in front of them. So then they try to divine what James Madison would have thought and written if he had known what we know now. This is a fools game and ignores the power over our own destiny that we posses.

To modify our Constitution is not complicated, nor is it easy. It was meant to be a slow process. And little thought has been given to clarification. An amendment, a clarification: “We the people of The United States of America take this article, section, paragraph of the Constitution to mean ..........” There is no need to try and read the minds of the founders. They wrote in plain language what was in their minds. It was their house then. It’s our house now. It’s up to us to decide how many rooms we should have, or how many doors.

But it’s we that get to decide, not them. It’s not the federal executive, or the legislature or the judiciary that gets to decide what the Constitution says, or means. It was written in plain language and when, in modern day, situations arise that are not, in its several articles explicitly addressed, it is foolish to try to imagine what the framers would make of our predicament when they clearly left instructions for what to do in such cases in Article V. The Constitution was not meant to constrain us. The Constitution was meant to give us power over our own destiny.

Sadly, we have given up our power to men and women who have twisted the meaning of the words plainly written in the Constitution to suit their own ideas of what our country should be and how we should be governed, and when they could not adequately twist the words they have simply ignored them.

One day soon there may come a day when there are no longer enough people in the nation who value the gift of power and self determination that the Constitution offers over their own ease, and comfort. If that day comes we will have been witness to the demise of “the last best hope of earth”.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

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