Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Constitution, Not Con-stitution


With the kind indulgence of the reader, I’d like to continue my analysis of the radical Right mentality.

Our friend Darrell says in his "Constitution Day" post he loves the Constitution, and agrees it is wise that it not be “re-written”, or amended. He believes anyone who wants to do this now is deemed a “leftist who hates America”.

Let’s remember the ideals of the founders, and how they understood the need for amending the Constitution “to form a more perfect union”.

Let’s also remember the founding ideal of “consent of the governed”, and that it was horribly mitigated by systemic inequalities and anti-democratic flaws written into our Constitution. Slavery, limited right to vote, the Electoral selection for president, and the disproportionate unrepresentative Senate that obliterated the concept of one man/ one vote for our federal government.

These passages will be our reference for discussion:

Declaration of Independence, second paragraph:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Preamble to the US 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.

As I previously noted, traditional definitions of words may not be accepted, and are unilaterally redefined, by the radical Right. I appended some definitions to help clear up their muddy views.

Darrell’s “Constitution Day” post quoted a conservative college’s pitch for donations:

Underlying these efforts to destroy our Constitution is the movement in American schools and universities to push a false and dishonest account of American history. This account portrays our nation as essentially racist and irredeemably unjust.

It’s no surprise, then, that a recent Rasmussen poll found that over half of President Biden’s strong supporters think the Constitution “should be mostly or completely rewritten.” 

This is outrageously dishonest radical Right dogma. Only the Right are banning and burning books, banning the teaching of the history of slavery and racism as “Marxist CRT”, and banning words referring to non-heterosexual persons. Yes, the hypocritical “victims of cancel culture” want to cancel not only educators, but the votes of 81 million Americans who voted against Trump.

An Anonymous comment informed Darrell that Thomas Jefferson agreed with over half of Biden’s supporters:

Constitution Day is the perfect time to remind everyone that Thomas Jefferson said we should rewrite the Constitution every 20 years.

In a letter written to James Madison from Paris just after the French Revolution had broken out, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) argues that any Constitution expires after 19 years and must be renewed if it is not to become “an act of force and not of right”:

“The question Whether one generation of men has a right to bind another, seems never to have been started either on this or our side of the water… (But) between society and society, or generation and generation there is no municipal obligation, no umpire but the law of nature. We seem not to have perceived that, by the law of nature, one generation is to another as one independant nation to another… On similar ground it may be proved that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation… Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19. years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force and not of right.”

Darrell ignored Jefferson’s words, and defended the permanence of outdated provisions of the Constitution. Once again his extremely biased views required factual italicized corrections.

Darrell’s response to Jefferson:


 Anonymous, Madison and our other founders provided a way to change that constitution through the amendment process when necessary. It was intentionally made to be rather difficult so it would not be altered for light and transient reasons based on foolish trends or fashions of the moment.

(Ironically Darrell borrows terms from the Declaration of Independence: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

Are his ideas of “Light and transient reasons based on foolish trends or fashions” like abolition of slavery, equal rights for Blacks, voter rights for Blacks and Women, popular vote for Senators, Equal rights for women? All these “Light and transient reasons based on foolish trends or fashions” were strongly opposed by conservatives. THIS is why they love having our Constitutional changes dependent upon the minority power of the Senate and lily white conservative state governments. They have NEVER supported equal rights, and fair representative by the majority of voters in elections. They bitterly resent those who demand such reforms. This is also why they support the treasonous lies and attacks on our democracy by Donald Trump.)

Further, the constitution itself was written so as to LIMIT government, while enshrining citizens' rights. (Wrong. It outlined government duties and processes. The authors enshrined the rights of wealthy white people as “citizens”. NOT all Americans.) ONLY those things written in the constitution are the responsibilities of the government. (OK, yes. Just ignore the parts about Constitutional taxes, regulation of commerce, and provision for the general welfare, amirite?) All other rights and responsibilities belong with the states or the people. (Those words are NOT from the Constitution. “States rights” are what allowed slavery, discrimination, systemic racism, and denying women their reproductive freedom. Conservatives have ALWAYS wanted to limit the rights of minorities and women. That’s NOT what the 9th Amendment protects.

The US Constitution: Amendment 9

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.)

No wonder the left wants to "re-write" and scrap our constitution. (See what I mean? The Constitution has been historically “re-written” by amendments to abolish slavery, allow fair representation, direct vote for senators, civil liberties, voter rights, and civil rights. All were OPPOSED by conservatives.)

It restricts leftism. (“Leftism” means protected rights, democracy and equality. It also supports Constitutional taxes, regulation of commerce, and provision for the general welfare that Darrell calls “hating America”.)

As Obama said, it is a document of "negative liberties". Negative, because it restricted him from using government to do much more than what it was legally entitled to do. It was a impediment to him "fundamentally transforming America".

(“Negative liberty is the absence of obstacles, barriers or constraints. One has negative liberty to the extent that actions are available to one in this negative sense. Positive liberty is the possibility of acting — or the fact of acting — in such a way as to take control of one’s life and realize one’s fundamental purposes.” 

Obama was referring to precedent, and what the Warren Supreme Court interpreted. Darrell also voted for the criminal who said Obama was a foreign usurper. What Obama said:

“The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society… [The Supreme Court] didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. [It] says what the states can’t do to you. [It] says what the federal government can’t do to you, but [it] doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.”)

Nowadays we ignore it altogether. (No evidence provided.) That is why a charlatan and crook accepting bribes in the form of business transactions from China, Russia, and Ukraine can sit in the White House now. (No evidence cited.) It is just one of myriads of reasons why he should be impeached too. (Again, no evidence. Darrell forgot about “Russia, if you’re listening...” Trump Tower Moscow, Deutsche Bank, illegally paying off porn stars, cronies meeting with Russians, giving secrets to Russians in the Oval Office, siding with Putin in Helsinki, extorting Ukraine to interfere against his opponent, lying about winning the election, inciting an angry mob to obstruct a Constitutional proceeding, to overturn the election, and praising his thugs for terrorizing Congress and brutally beating cops. Never mind the billions Kushner got from the Saudis and millions raked in by “advisor” Ivanka. Trump paid his daughter Ivanka $747,622 for 'consulting,' then deducted it from his taxes. All noble and pure in the Trump Cult.)

Indeed I can respect and support "liberals" as defined by the current usage of the term, even when I disagree with them. It is the leftists that HATE our country and want to dismantle it; not liberals. Leftists have no use for liberals that are not fully supportive of their agenda, while us conservatives are deemed as outright fascists. (Darrell initially condemned, and then refused to condemn, Trump for inciting a violent mob to interfere with Congress and beat cops, and after watching them for three hours doing just that on TV, praising his violent mob of thugs. How is that  NOT fascist?  It’s those “leftists” that are the real fascists in his disordered mind.)


Definitions for grounding in reality:

“Liberalism” from Oxford:

1. willingness to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one's own; openness to new ideas.

2. a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise.


“Left (Ideology)” from Britannica:

Left, in politics, the portion of the political spectrum associated in general with egalitarianism and popular or state control of the major institutions of political and economic life. The term dates from the 1790s, when in the French revolutionary parliament the socialist representatives sat to the presiding officer’s left. Leftists tend to be hostile to the interests of traditional elites, including the wealthy and members of the aristocracy, and to favour the interests of the working class (see proletariat). They tend to regard social welfare, governmental programs that provide assistance to those in need, as the most important goal of government. Socialism is the standard leftist ideology in most countries of the world; communism is a more radical leftist ideology.

“Right (Ideology)” from Britannica:

Right, portion of the political spectrum associated with conservative political thought. The term derives from the seating arrangement of the French revolutionary parliament (c. 1790s) in which the conservative representatives sat to the presiding officer’s right. In the 19th century the term applied to conservatives who supported authority, tradition, and property. In the 20th century a divergent, radical form developed that was associated with fascism.

To simplify, the American Left is the democratic socialism of Bernie Sanders. The American radical Right is the fascism of Donald Trump.


Anonymous said...

Since you are not a Constitutional scholar your opinions are not Represented by our Congress.

Dave Dubya said...

Do you think Boebert and Greene are "constitutional scholars"?
My opinions are grounded in the facts presented.
The whole of Congress doesn't represent any one person's opinions.
Haven't you figured that out yet?
Congress certainly shared my opinion on impeaching the criminal Orange Fraud.
Even the majority of the Senate voted to convict him.
The authoritarian liars and cowards are his supporters.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"This account portrays our nation as essentially racist and irredeemably unjust."

Your commenter disputes that? While I believe in the IDEALS and ASPIRATIONS set forth in the AMENDED Constitution, I'm also sadly aware of how often we have fallen short of them in our history.

Ken Burns' recent documentary about the Holocaust is replete with those failures of the American people to live up to the "self-evident" truths about ourselves and desperate people trying to escape tyranny and death.

The facts are that Hitler used our shameful Jim Crow laws against our own people as a blueprint for his inhumane treatment of Jews in Germany and the countries he invaded and occupied. How could we Americans be outraged at Hitler's treatment of Jews and what the Nazis consider the trash populations of western and eastern Europe when we were killing American citizens with dark skin with impunity in our own country?

Where was the allegiance to our Constitution when southern legislators refused to pass anti-lynching laws? When people who tortured and murdered black men, women, and children went unpunished? Hitler had a powerful blueprint in how to treat the Nazi's "undesirables" by looking to America and how she treated her African-American citizens, who BTW were also Southern Baptists - the same religion as the people who relished murdering them!

There's nothing wrong with looking at parts of our shameful history, understanding the underlying causes, systemic racism, and working toward making our country a "more perfect union."

That, IMO, is true love of one's country.

Dave Dubya said...

Thank you for indulging my little project of dissecting the willful ignorance and hateful resentments of the radical Right.

Yes, to love your country is to know your country, for better AND for ill.

The "patriots" of the radical Right can't consider making a "more perfect union" when they think it's already perfect. They will always resent amending the Constitutional for expanding equality and democracy, their perennial adversaries. Their worries are groundless, due to the Republican dominance of state legislatures.

The radical Right Hillsdale College needed to stoke resentment and anger to solicit donations. "This account portrays our nation as essentially racist and irredeemably unjust."

They forgot to add, "America can't be racist because Obama!" And, "We can't let schools teach our white kids to feel guilty for slavery and racism."

This is part of their deranged dogma that blames the left for "hating America". Scapegoating and demonization are essential features of radical Right authoritarianism.

The white Right is afraid to admit the dark side of America is still with us. Racism and injustice remains systemic, but they go beyond admitting the truth, to embracing their paranoid fantasies of being the "real victims" of racism.

Authoritarians and racists will ALWAYS play their Victim Card to support their Scapegoating Card and Commie Card. These three cards form the pillars of their sacred ideological triad.

Now they need to condemn teaching the history of slavery and racism as "Marxist CRT" to hide themselves from the realities of our nation's history.

Note how utterly incapable they are of condemning Trump for calling a Black woman AG a "racist".

Says it all, doesn't it?