Loving the Constitution

Tuesday, 17 August 2010, 16:23 | Category : Politics
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All the recent noise about revisiting the 14th Amendment got me thinking about how we love the Constitution. Not how as in “we really love our Consti”, but how as in “What exactly do we mean when we say we love the Constitution”. Or revere it, or honor it. Choose your own word. Anyway, back to the 14th. The problem is Section 1:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Suddenly everybody is an expert on the origins of this amendment.  I don’t profess to be.  I’m not even sure exactly how I feel, except that I think the discussion should be based on facts and truth, not hysteria and distortion.  I heard a commentator the other day saying we should revisit this, because it was intended to guarantee citizenship to children of slaves following the Civil War, and was therefore a product of another time.  But you can’t pull one amendment out for that treatment without pulling them all out.  Second Amendment?  Is anybody going to argue that the world of 1787 was the same world we live in today?  Just eleven years earlier, we were writing about “merciless Indian savages” on our frontiers, by which we meant Ohio and Kentucky.  I don’t think the “Any Gun Any Time Anywhere Anyone” crowd really wants to reopen that one.  What is “A well regulated Militia”, anyway?  I never hear any defenders of the Second explaining that;  they like to skip to the last half of the amendment.    And all sides of the political zoo in the United States have had problems with the exercise of the First Amendment.  I’m not saying we should end the endless debate about what the Constitution means.  But we’re on dangerous ground when we start talking about pulling one part out to “fix” it.

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