What’s the point of having the Constitution?

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (read the entire Constitution here.)

I’m not an expert on the Constitution. I don’t thrive when the Jeopardy category is U.S. History. Politics are like ear hair to me – something that I’m sure has a purpose but is most of the time annoying and unsightly. However, I want to ask you to think about something.

What’s the point of having the Constitution?

I thought it existed as a transcendent measuring line for future generations to compare themselves. I thought it was written to protect the founding values of our country and be the objective, proverbial line by which we govern. Isn’t that basically what it’s all about? If I am anywhere close to accurate, why aren’t we talking about it?

If you read a paper (as if anyone still does that), listen to talk radio, watch the political entertainment networks like FOX and CNN, or read the internet streams you’ll see the issues being debated:”War on women,” “class warfare,” “redistribution of wealth,” “foreign policy,” “Obamacare,” etc, etc, etc. Am I being too idealistic to wonder why we aren’t offering debate using the Constitution as our justification?

Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, or Whig; shouldn’t our political conversation be centered on the Constitution? Shouldn’t it?

In all the grandstanding for political compromise, what we’re really yearning for is a renewed adherence to that ancient, yet profound document that framed our country. What “we the people want,” and frankly, what we need, is not random, issue driven compromise. We have a fictionalized “left” comparing themselves to a manufactured “right,” debating a theoretical “middle.” This fabricated idea of compromise is nothing more than rhetoric. Deep down, we’re yearning for to get back to the Articles and Sections so thoughtfully put together in our Constitution. In truth, there isn’t a left and right; there’s the Constitution and ideas that get further and further removed from our founding principles. This idea is what brings the Sahara and Arctic of political ideas, Ron Paul and Bill Maher, to a common understanding.

Ron Paul is a conservative but most Republicans refuse to support him because of his foreign policy. However, I’ve yet to hear one of my Republican friends offer a constitutionally sound criticism of said policy. Almost to the person, I’ll hear, “I think Ron Paul’s great, but I can’t vote for him because of Israel.” Or, “Paul’s exactly right, except for his position on our military presence overseas.”

Most political southpaws would reject Paul’s position on the God-given, constitutionally upheld, sanctity of life – He’s a retried OBGYN who believes abortion is murder. However, they love his view on our military presence overseas and Israel. Maher, hyper liberal, applauds Paul, a strict Constitutionalist, and his foreign policy. I wonder it that’s the Constitution calling?

Hannity interrupts, Limbaugh boasts,
CNN blabbers, and Maher hosts (or at least used to),
all in an effort to generate revenue for their respective broadcast stations and themselves. Are they (and we) debating the constitutional integrity of a politician’s various positions? Nope. We’re arguing about the peripheral, buzz generating talking points. So Hillary Rosen has an ignorant, feminist view of stay at home moms and Ted Nugent is flirting with his inner John Wilkes Booth, what do they have to do with Obama, Romney, Paul, the citizens of the U.S.A., and the constitution?

When we hope for a politician with integrity, we’re asking for simple honesty, but we’re also asking for them to serve as the Constitution demands. When we want our government to be rid of hypocrisy, we’re just asking for them to look at that document and follow it. Is that asking too  much? Am I being unrealistic?

I believe the Constitution, while not infallible, is the best political document out there. I believe we are obligated as American citizens, and especially as elected officials in the United States government, to understand and adhere to it. We don’t need compromise; we need the  Constitution. What’s the point of having it if we’re not going to use it?

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2 comments

  1. SHHHH! You’re not supposed to have figured this out!

    Don’t tell the Americans, but our Constitution (as well as the “all men are created equal” paradigm found in our Declaration) was severely violated back in the First Congress of the United States. And what did the People do? Nothing.

    Our Constitution, while certainly superior to the de facto government of today, certainly has some flaws, loopholes, and shortcomings that a nation of higher character would have fixed by now. We, on the other hand, have let most of it fester, rarely amending anything. And why? Because the American people, in the aggregate, make TERRIBLE overseers of their own government. America simply isn’t interested in the Rule of Law. THAT sort of thinking is far too deep for where we are on the whole. We simply don’t care that our Constitution is routinely violated. In fact, we don’t even care enough to READ the document, which can be done in a mere 45 minutes.

    I’ve been working on these issues for a few years now. Perhaps this chapter is the best place to start: http://www.characternotincluded.com/part-iii-the-rule-of-law/life-on-the-slippery-slope/
    The whole section of the book makes a pretty good primer on the Rule of Law and where we are at present. It’s a fascinating subject to about 1% (my rough estimate) of the population—if that much! As the book bears out, however, I am convinced that “Washington” is not our primary problem; it is the aggregate character of the people.

    Jack

    1. “I am convinced that “Washington” is not our primary problem; it is the aggregate character of the people.” Of this I am certain.

      Thanks again for adding to the conversation.

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