Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Let's Examine the Constitution - Part I
Okay, so my assignment for the foreseeable future (or until I give up) is to really look at the US Constitution. Let's see firsthand what's in it, shall we?
It seems to be at the crux of the disagreement over health care reform, election reform, campaign finance reform, etc etc etc.
Time to go to the source.
Here's the preamble:
The Constitution of the United States
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.
Laudable goals. How'd we do?
A more perfect union. We're not very united right now, are we? In fact, we're so deeply divided that we now color states blue or red.
Establishing justice. Justice for all, I would imagine, was the goal. But we live in a modern world with many races, religions, beliefs and customs all jammed within our borders. And we disagree about what justice means. Anti-abortion terrorists call killing doctors who perform abortions justice. People die because they can't afford health care. Is that unjust? Prison guards in NY's juvenile detention center slam kids to the ground, breaking teeth and bones, for infractions as small as taking an extra cookie. That's documented in a new federal study. But when the state tries to fire them, the courts overturn it based on union regulations. Justice? Immigrants, some of them illegal, work in degrading, unsafe conditions for far below minimum wage and are threatened for trying to unionize. Justice?
Domestic Tranquility. I think not.
Provide for the common defense. That didn't work out so well for the people of New Orleans after Katrina. Not so good on 9-11 either.
Promote the general welfare. Unless you want health care. Or if you're in the armed services. Or if you're a minority. Or if you want a college education.
Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. Wait - there's nothing in here about securing the blessings of liberty for every country in the world. You mean our role as the World's Watchdog isn't in the Constitution?
Okay, so far, I'd give us a C-. Maybe a D now that I've had a night to think on it. It sounds good on paper, but after a couple of hundred years we've mucked it up pretty badly.
I can't wait to get into the document itself.