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30 Days of Abraham Lincoln – Day 23

Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles. — 1856

My Take – The Constitution does indeed change, but it does so slowly and deliberately by design.  When we bend and twist what is already in it in order to avoid having to change it, the fabric of our nation is torn.  The document is a limiting factor to the government, and an enabling factor to the citizens, not the other way around.  If something is indeed the right thing to do and will improve our country, then it is worth the time to amend the Constitution.  If it is not, then no amount of weasel words, spin, or downright untruth will make what you want to do constitutional.  In other words, if you chafe at the limits set by the Constitution and aren’t willing to do the right thing either by following those limitations or getting our permission to amend the Constitution, then you shouldn’t hold office of any kind.

For as long as I can remember, the country has been in a state of crisis.  We must do such and such NOW or the seas will rise, the mountains will crumble, and darkness will fall upon the land.  It has gotten so bad that legislators who want to actually read and understand legislation that will fundamentally change some aspect of our country are belittled and accused of dragging their feet.  Maybe dragging their feet would be a good thing.  If all laws must be passed in a hurry, with no thought to what they will actually do, then there is no way to know if they will fit within the framework of the Constitution.  Leaving it to the courts to decide when you know that the law is probably unconstitutional, or worse, don’t know one way or the other, is irresponsible and reprehensible.

Both parties have been guilty of this in the last decade alone.  The Republicans used the attacks of 9/11 to push through the Patriot Act, which pretty much amounted to a shopping list of powers provided by the law enforcement and intelligence services.  Over the past 10 years, it has been used with increasing frequency to investigate and intimidate citizens with no connection to terrorism.  The GOP has also been the strongest bastion of the drug warriors, who have used the fear of narcotics to create a situation in which ordinary Americans are treated more harshly than we treat the actual drug smugglers. Seriously, are police departments sending in SWAT teams to arrest actual dangerous gangsters and shooting their dogs with the frequency they are doing it to the rest of us?  In both cases, the Fourth Amendment has been shredded to being almost meaningless.

The Democrats have used public uproar over crimes committed with guns to pass gun legislation, both at the national and state level, that walks all over the Second Amendment.  Only by luck was the 1994 federal assault weapons ban sunsetted into oblivion.  How easy would it have been to not include that clause in the bill, or for President Gore to get it renewed in 2004?

The Dem’s also take a hit on this for the way that the economic bailouts of 2009 and 2010 were handed out.  If your organization or business was part of their constituency or donor pool, like UAW represented auto workers, you were taken care of.  If you fell outside of those two groups, like non-unionized auto workers, you were left out to twist in the wind.  If your ‘green energy’ snake oil needed a shot in the arm, all it took was a few strategic donations and your future was assured.  So much for equal protection under the law.  And now, I’m not saying that all companies in trouble should have received cash from Uncle Sugar. What I’m saying is that no companies should have received our money, and that the way it was distributed was unfair to the point of ridiculousness.

Both parties regularly blow their noses with the Constitution.  To me, the only difference is that they wipe with different pieces.  I know it’s been going on since about 30 seconds after the ink dried in 1789, but how much longer can the nation take this?  How long before even lip service isn’t given to the Constitution, and we truly fall into either chaos or a police state?   Remember, all it takes is one generation of Americans to lose interest, and our light that shines as a beacon to the entire world will be snuffed.

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