Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why quoting and revering the Constitution is often such bullshit...real reasons

To put it country simple, as William S. Burroughs might say, the fact is that the Constitution of the United States is just a framework, and it doesn't really make sense without the State Constitutions added to it. Folks talk about the Constitution like it's a comprehensive document embodying all of 'our' hopes, dreams, values, etc..., but in reality it's a brief, formal, document that establishes the main institutions of government and does little else. This is why debates involving the Supreme Court are often so esoteric....there's really little there, so every word is wrung out to get as most meaning as possible, with strange detours down past political theory from the mid 18th century being made in order to try to somehow divine more content for the document. The amendments are where the action really is, despite what hoary and mostly bullshit speeches people give. Originally the Bill of Rights was not going to be included at all, but anti-Federalists, opponents of the Constitution, or at least people of a persuasion sympathetic to the anti-Federalist cause, pressed to have it included. The large, large, difference between a framework document and a substantive document can be easily seen by surfing over to your local State legislature and reading your State constitution, then comparing it to the U.S. Constitution.
I can all but guarantee that the State constitution will be much more detailed, will be much more specific, and be much more implicit about the way government should be and how it should relate to people in the State than the U.S. Constitution does. This is something where you yourself can empirically confirm or challenge the idea. Reading a State constitution makes you realize just what's missing from the big one, and it makes you wonder just why that is the case.

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