U.S. Constitution: Four pages that changed the world

September 20, 2015
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ConstitutionAt only 4 pages it can be read in less than half an hour, yet the depth and breadth of its impact on the human condition is immeasurable.  228 years ago this past Thursday the United States Constitution was approved by state delegates and sent forth from Philadelphia for ratification by their respective state legislatures.  With the addition of the Bill of Rights 3 years later the foundation of American government was set; A foundation that though still here, does have a few cracks in need of repair.

We have virtually abandoned the amendment process that the Founders intended and instead replaced it with judicial edicts handed down by people as fallible as any of us.  Their narrow, divisive decisions affecting broad swaths of society “settle” nothing.  Judicial restraint is the respirator that protects a society from the poison of its enemies within.  Judicial mandates rip off that protection;  Leaving a cohesive, orderly society evolving with the slow and steady breaths of logic and reason left to gasp for air in a toxic environment of division and hate.

Congress, the Founders first line of defense against an abusive executive branch, has already ceded so much power that it is basically impotent against the leviathan of the administrative-regulatory complex that it helped to create.

And while we do at least still pick a new Oval Office occupant every four years, the method by which we do continues to devolve with each new election cycle; Latest example being the GOP candidates gathering at the Reagan library last Wednesday evening.

Host television network CNN billed it as a debate, but before the second question was even asked it became clear that it was going to be anything but; More a P.T. Barnum three ring circus than anything even remotely resembling the standard established by Messrs. Lincoln and Douglas back in those heady days of 1858.

Granted, with 11 candidates on one stage, the 60 minute open, 90 minute response, 30 minute rejoinder Lincoln/Douglas format was definitely out but CNN’s arbitrary 60 second response time limit ensured that no matter how long the event lasted, in the end the public would be left with more questions than answers.

Questions like, why in the world did Donald Trump open with? “Well, first of all, Rand Paul shouldn’t even be on this stage”.

Or when Jeb Bush claimed that Mr. Trump had given him money to influence casino gambling in Florida how did it devolve into playground “I did not” and “yes, you did” banter?

The largest human migration wave since WWII is hitting Europe, Putin is sending Russian troops and tanks to Syria, China is building icebreakers to challenge us in the Arctic, Libya is the new “must go” destination for terrorists in training, the world’s number one sponsor of terrorism, Iran, is on the verge of having billions of cash and assets unfrozen thanks to the Obama administration and the best CNN could do was deliver to the American public a three hour “he said this, he has suggested that, do you agree or disagree” Donald Trump quiz fest?

Yet for all of that, CNN still was no match for Harry Reid and his Senate Democrats.  For the 2nd time in as many weeks, 42 of them once again chose the cowardly path of filibuster rather than vote on record for Obama’s Iran deal.

Yes, two days before Constitution Day 2015 a political party put protecting itself and its President above the public’s right to a vote and history’s right to a record.

Oh how far we’ve strayed from those 39 men that delivered us those 4 pages of parchment now seemingly so long, long ago.

PUBLISHER NOTE:  A version of this column first appeared in the September 20, 2015 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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