Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Constitution is dead! Long live the Constitution!

The Republicans took over Congress and immediately made the all-important decision to read the Constitution out loud. This is an utterly pointless gesture. Anyone who wants to read the Constitution can go to a bookstore, a library, or even the Internet at home. This decision is simple piety, a way to establish that we love this ancient document more than you leftist do. But something needs to be pointed out: this piety isn't sincere. The Republicans don't love the Constitution. If was it really holy, they wouldn't immediately be trying to make two major changes to it: 1. change the 14th Amendment to end "birthright citizenship," and 2. the Repeal Amendment which,as their website explains:
"Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed."

Granted, the Repeal Amendment has almost no chance of passing. As for the 14th Amendment, it is possible, though unlikely, the Supreme Court will rule it does not allow birthright citizenship. But the political unlikelihood of these proposals doesn't change the fact that they are changes to a document ultra-conservatives usually treat as a holy document that must be followed to the letter.

I am not a Constitutional fundamentalist. The world is different radically than what it was in 1789. I personally think much of the Constitution is outdated and should be changed-- for example, I'd like for foreign born citizens to be allowed to run for President. I can take this position honestly and without hypocrisy, but a constitutional fundamentalist cannot. Either the Constitution is sacred and unchangable, or it isn't. The conservative movement is trying to have it both ways.

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