Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When Quoting the Constitution, Quote The Constitution

There are a host of Republican candidates and officials speaking about the Constitution. Most of them demonstrate absolutely no understanding of its text or how it has been interpreted by the courts. But once in a while, one of them raises the ignorance quotient to a new level

Such was the Case with Herman Cain who admonished his audience recently
We don’t need to rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America, we need to reread the Constitution and enforce the Constitution

Understanding that his audience was not comprised of Constitutional scholars of his calibre, he went on to quote what he thought was the critical part of the Constitution,
And I know that there are some people that are not going to do that, so for the benefit of those that are not going to read it because they don’t want us to go by the Constitution, there’s a little section in there that talks about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

And the Mr. Cain quoted the Constitutional coup de grace

"Because that’s when it says when any form of government becomes destructive of those ideals, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it

Unfortunately, those words are not in the Constitution. They are in the Declaration of Independence. So apparently Mr. Cain's Constitutional studies stopped at the year 1776, when we were declaring our right to separate from Britain.

He hasn't yet learned that in 1781 we set up a country under the Articles of Confederation, a Government where the Federal government was very weak and most powers resided in the states. It was the kind of weak government that he, the baggers and the rest of the Republicans love.

He also doesn't appear to know that within a few short years there was a widespread view that Governmental structure of the Articles was unworkable. That concern led to a Constitutional Convention, and in 1787 a new Constitution was adopted, the one we have today. And this Constitution established powers in the Federal Government that were sufficient strong that it would be able to "establish Justice, insure Domestic Tranquility, provide for the Common Defense, promote the General Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

I really should not pick on Cain. He is not alone among the Republican candidates and many Republican office holders. They live in a fact free cartoon world of people who dress up in 18th Century costumes. Their statements do not demonstrate a level of knowledge about our government or our history that would be sufficient to pass an Eighth Grade civics or history class. And all the while they lecture each other and us on the fine points of our Constitution.

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