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January 06, 2011

Liberals Reacting To Reading The Constitution In House Pretty Much Exactly As You Expected They Would

DATUM: Washington Post headlines article, Notable passages of Constitution left out of reading in the House

What the article actually describes: The "notable passages" left out of the reading are the parts of the Constitution which are no longer part of the Constitution -- that is, the parts which have been replaced/written out by subsequent amendments, and are therefore not in fact "part of the Constitution," except in a purely historical way. In the same way that two legs may be said to be part of the history of a one-legged man.

What you're supposed to think: Several things. If you just read the headline, you're supposed to think those sneaky Republicans are hypocrites and liars for saying they love the Constitution when they're deliberately omitting parts of it that they don't like, reading a false Constitution, one that probably also says something like Article 3: Jesus is King.

If you read beyond the headline, and realize how fucking stupid an article this is, you are then supposed to rescue the article from its own dishonest headline by realizing the Constitution can be changed!!111eleventy!, despite what those Bible-thumping shotgun-pumping cousin-humping Christers think, and so we shouldn't be worried about further changes, and in fact also shouldn't bother reading it in the House at all, because hey, it can change, so what's it mean? Nothing! Why bother reading something that doesn't mean anything?! That's silly, that's what that is.

(You are specifically not supposed to notice the changed parts of the Constitution were changed according to the precise mechanism authorized within the Constitution (the amendment process), which makes these changes actually solemn, constitutional ones, and therefore have a different character than the "let's make shit up as we go" changes urged by liberals.)

DATUM: Almost as dumb is Vanity Fair's attempt to claim the mere reading of the Constitution cost We, the People $1.1 million dollars in lost Congressional productivity. (Not mentioned: All opening day ceremonies are nonproductive, yet we still do them; How much money, as Ed Morrissey writes, did Nancy Pelosi waste in talking about a now-fired former Democratic House?; and also, time spent by Congressmen reading the Constitution saves us billions of dollars they otherwise would have spent.)

DATUM: Another Washington Post piece, this one from yesterday, makes the claim that conservatives are overly reverential about the nation's foundational document.

And the Founders said: Let there be a constitution. And the Founders looked at the articles and clauses and saw that it was good.

For more than 200 years, Americans have revered the Constitution as the law of the land, but the GOP and tea party heralding of the document in recent months - and the planned recitation on the House floor Thursday - have caused some Democrats to worry that the charter is being misconstrued as the immutable word of God.

"They are reading it like a sacred text," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the outgoing chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights and civil liberties, who has studied and memorized the Constitution with talmudic intensity.

Nadler called the "ritualistic reading" on the floor "total nonsense" and "propaganda" intended to claim the document for Republicans. "You read the Torah, you read the Bible, you build a worship service around it," said Nadler, who argued that the Founders were not "demigods" and that the document's need for amendments to abolish slavery and other injustices showed it was "highly imperfect."

"You are not supposed to worship your constitution. You are supposed to govern your government by it," he said.

What's interesting to me is that liberals have long postured as Defenders of the Constitution, Lovers of the Constitution. They now seem willing -- bordering on eager -- to repudiate that former posture and admit they kinda hate the Constitution (because they hate the sort of people who love it).

Nadler speaks of the Republicans seeking to "claim" the Constitution. But Jerry Nadler could claim it for himself, too: But notice, he chooses not to. In fact, he almost recoils from it.

So, yeah, as between one group that cherishes the Constitution and another group that is increasingly hostile to it -- openly hostile -- yeah, I'd say it's sort of up for grabs; whoever wants it, has it, but liberals don't seem to want it. They seem to wish it would all just go away.

Let me tell you why I "worship" the Constitution. I do not believe it contains "all answers" within it. But I do believe it sets the ground-rules for how we shall conduct our democracy, what's in bounds, what's out of bounds, and (the biggest category) what is fair game for democratic debate; and more importantly, the precise method by which we will change these ground-rules (amendments). He who controls the rules controls the game, and it's critical in any society to have the rule-making not subject to an intellectual's whim and partisan's gamesmanship: Arguments about the rules often means the game stops being played, and as the game we are talking about is functioning, peaceful, remarkable democracy -- and an abandonment of that particular game could be catastrophic -- I'd strongly advise everyone to play by the rules as plainly specified in the rule-book and not attempt to make up new rules to advantage themselves for short-term gain.

Because this particular game is extremely important. We are blessed in America to have a politics with almost no political violence -- but that blessing isn't luck, and whether it comes from God or man, it is surely secured and maintained by the actions of man. And this constant agitation from the leftist side of things to go outside the rulebook (but only when it benefits them!) is a dangerous game.

So yeah, I think a little bit of worship is in order. To be honest, it matters less what the specific rules are than the rules, whatever they are, be scrupulously followed by all. To do otherwise is to treat a peaceful, stable democracy as if it's something we should take for granted, which can never devolve into blood and evil.

Look around the world; it's the peaceful, stable, respectful democracies which are the exception and the rule of blood and hate which is the rule. There's nothing that says it has to stay that way.

We all know what the rulebook says the rules are. The amendment process is not unclear. So yes, let's maybe be a little reverential about observing the rules that have kept this a functioning, peaceful democracy for 230 years.

Thanks to Dave @ Garfield Ridge and Cortillaen.

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posted by Ace at 05:50 PM

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