Bottom line

  • Follow Editorials

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne writes plaintively that liberals should “reclaim the Constitution” — apparently from conservatives who talk about it all the time.

We agree wholeheartedly that everyone in this country should claim the Constitution, understand it and support it. Its simple wisdom holds the solutions to many of our current problems.

But as for “reclaiming” it from conservatives, we have to disagree there. The Constitution does not have the conservative flag staked in it. It’s all of ours.

If we believe it. If we accept it. If we want it to be followed. And those are huge “ifs.”

“The Constitution, after all, is neither a liberal nor a conservative document. It does not prescribe any particular policies,” writes David Azerrad of the Heritage Foundation. The Constitution’s words, Azerrad notes, merely “carefully delineate the powers of Congress, establish a federated republic and remind Congress that the ‘powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.’”

The Constitution doesn’t need to be reclaimed or retrieved from anyone. It’s been there all along, for everyone.

Comments (11) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
myfather15
55764
Points
myfather15 07/09/14 - 07:19 am
6
0
Agreed!!

But which party, by the overwhelming majority; has often stated the Constitution is an "outdated" document?? That it needs to grow and evolve as the people evolve? Which party seems to give MORE credence to the Constitution, AS IT IS WRITTEN??

It's just my opinion, based on years of observation and study; but it certainly wouldn't be the left that respects it as written!! They are ALWAYS trying to interpret as THEY see it; without respect to how anyone else sees it!! If someone doesn't see the world as THEY see it, that person is just a simpleton idiot, uncapable of intelligent thought; therefore their opinion isn't worthy for discussion! Right?

They are the party of radical change to this Country and how can you have radical change; with a Constitution? Through amendments, which require a vote!! But when the left realizes they can't win a vote, they find ways (usually liberal judges) around the Constitution!!

curly123053
4995
Points
curly123053 07/09/14 - 07:59 am
7
0
Timeless Document

The Constitution like the Bible is a timeless document. Following both to the best of one's ability will lead to order and happiness in life.

deestafford
29042
Points
deestafford 07/09/14 - 08:06 am
7
0
myfather is right on target...

myfather is right on target.

The left has always not liked the Constitution because it was written to tie the hands and restrict government which completely opposite in what it believes.

One mistake I think people make is that people become more intelligent as years and generations roll on. I don't think that is true. Today, we may know more than the Founders but I don't think we are as intelligent.

One of the rants of the left in recent years is that the Constitution is outdated for our times and additionally it is flawed because it was written by a bunch of slave owning white men. They were not a "cross section" of the population so they did not represent all the people.

Well, if you are going to structure and build a country's laws would you not want the most educated, successful people available to do that? That's who the Founders were and they were selected by the people of their states. They did not just decide they would go to Philadelphia and work on a new government.

One thing many people do know is the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia was not the first one. In reality, there had been a minimum of two other gatherings to attempt to write a set of laws for the new country.

Read about the Founders and what they had read and studied and you will come away for a true appreciation of how intelligent these men were and how qualified they were to do what they did.

Question. If you were writing the laws to govern a nation, which group would you rather have doing it: Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barrack Obama, Eric Holder, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Chris Matthews, Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, Shelia Jackson Lee, Dick Durbin, and Hillary Clinton---or would you rather have: George Washington, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, Henry Lee, William Few, George Walton, Samuel Adams, Edward Rutledge, or Arthur Middleton?

To paraphrase a great American, " I know not what course others may take, but as for me---Give me the second group!".

historylover
11815
Points
historylover 07/09/14 - 09:58 am
2
6
@deestafford

"One mistake I think people make is that people become more intelligent as years and generations roll on. I don't think that is true. Today, we may know more than the Founders but I don't think we are as intelligent."

Although I firmly believe that many of the Founding Fathers were very intelligent, I do not think that attribute is what drove the writing of the Constitution. I believe that it was the fact that they all shared a common desire. That is more than anything what is missing from our country today. Every one is out for their own selfish purposes and they have no concept of how their actions are affecting our country. Better yet, they don't see to care. This is true on both sides of the fence and within the general public. It truly sickens me.

One of the reasons I take the time to post my opinions here (even though they are sometimes ignored) is to hopefully open honest conversation on why our country is failing and what we can do as it's citizens to fix our problems.

dichotomy
34714
Points
dichotomy 07/09/14 - 10:38 am
6
0
The spirit of both the

The spirit of both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence was magnificent. The interpretation of both over the years has been fundamentally flawed, mostly by the Supreme Court which is often filled with political ideologues and people more concerned with "legacy" than constitutionality.

deestafford
29042
Points
deestafford 07/09/14 - 10:57 am
4
0
historylover, You make an outstanding point...

historylover, You make an outstanding point. No matter how smart/intelligent, or stupid, someone maybe, a concentrated effort solidified around a common goal can accomplish so much.

It can be for a great accomplishment such as our Founding. Conversely, it can be something for evil such as Nazism or Communism. We are so thankful that the group known as our Founding Fathers chose the former.

I don't know if intelligence is the best word to use about the Founders. Maybe it's a combination of intelligence and education in the historical classics as the ways of governing that made what they did exceptional.

Many people don't know how so many of the better off male children were educated during the colonial days. They don't realize how much the populace felt as loyal British citizens and it wasn't until latter in the late 1760's and early 1770's that the idea of independence began to fester

The sons were sent to England when they were in their mid-teens for three or four years to be educated. That was the case for many of the Founders but not for all. As a matter of fact, Washington didn't have a college education and he was on a life long quest of self education and improvement to overcome what he thought was a shortcoming.

The Founders studied nearly every political philosopher, every form of historical government, every economic system and every other thing that impacted a country and its people. Then they took all of this learning they had gather over the years and laid it out for debate.

The debate did not just start in Philadelphia at became known as Freedom Hall. It had been going home back home in small groups for years and two previous conventions. The one that produced our Constitution in 1787 was just the culmination of years of discussion and was focused on a final solution. By then the Founders had more of an idea of what they were looking for---they just had to put muscle on the bones.

I wish more people would study the Constitution and they would understand why it is the longest written governing document on earth.
As part of that they have to understand the Founders and their make up, purpose, and focus as you so well point out.

deestafford
29042
Points
deestafford 07/09/14 - 11:05 am
4
0
One of the things that is so neglected is....

One of the things that is so neglected is the study of the Federalist Papers. Some people try to read them and are put off by the language of the day and find it difficult to comprehend. Fortunately, there are a number of people who have "translated" them into today's language.

I would bet that many of our political leaders on both sides, but I would guess more on the liberal side, have never tried to read the Federalist Papers.

If people would read them and the debates they would understand the original intent of the Founders. I would bet there are well over half of our judges have never read those sources.

It's my understanding that it is possible to graduate from some of our most "top tier" law schools such as Harvard and never have a class in Constitutional Law.

The free, self paced, course on the Constitution offered by Hillsdale College is a fantastic way of leaning and understanding the Constitution. If more people, especially those in government, took advantage of this course the country would be much better off.

Bizkit
33290
Points
Bizkit 07/09/14 - 11:22 am
5
0
It isn't intelligence but

It isn't intelligence but common sense to understand the weaknesses of man and act accordingly. If it were upto intelligence or scientists they would still be trying to methodically devise a plan, test it, modify,then argue for years which is best,and finally scrap that and start again.lol. Intelligent folks tend to be slow to make decisions which can be a liability. There is a lot to say for intuition.

Bizkit
33290
Points
Bizkit 07/09/14 - 11:31 am
5
0
What I like about it was that

What I like about it was that personal freedom and a distrust of govt because of oppression was a driving concern-even oppression from govt influencing religion like the Church of England. Small limited govt with lots of checks and balances. Unfortunately the last hundred years has seen the executive branch expand, which I,d wager the founders wouldn't be too pleased.

Jon Lester
2380
Points
Jon Lester 07/09/14 - 11:42 am
2
1
These are people who think abortion is an absolute right but

gun ownership is not. Never mind that the girlfriend who kills your baby can tell the police you smoke marijuana, and you'll get your door kicked in that night, Fourth Amendment notwithstanding.

jimmymac
43160
Points
jimmymac 07/09/14 - 03:27 pm
0
0
AC
Unpublished

I can't believe that anyone in their right mind would read anything Dionne would have to say in the first place. I'm starting to wonder about you people.

Darby
27223
Points
Darby 07/09/14 - 05:27 pm
2
0
"I believe that it was the fact that

they all shared a common desire."

.
While you did not so state it, historylover, that common desire by the founders was to establish, as Lincoln later observed, "on this continent, a new nation" with a government "of the people, by the people, for the people".

And for more than two hundred years, it looked as though they may have succeeded in their common endeavor. Now however, it appears that their efforts may well have been in vain.

Now it seems that Lincoln's vision also was flawed and that this nation may very well "perish from the earth".

Sadly, it's being destroyed from within.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs