Monday, April 18, 2011

Stop hiding behind the constitution

Used to be, you could count on republicans to hide their hatred behind the bible.

"It's not me who hates gays, it's the Good Book!"

"I don't want to treat my wife like shit, but that's what the word of God says!"

Ah, how I long for those good old days.

You see, now republicans have found a new set of words to follow blindly. And they hold even more power than the holiest of scriptures.

Right wingers have given up on the bible and moved on to the most sacred of all documents—the constitution.

"I don't want the poor to starve, but the constitution won't let me feed them!"

"I wish I could help those old folks, but the constitution says I have to let them die!"

"Sure, I value those who work hard, but the constitution says they should be underpaid and treated like shit!"

How do you argue with that logic? "What, you don't believe in the constitution? Damn, I knew you liberal pricks didn't liked God, but shit, you don't like America neither?"

Well, actually. I do like America. So much so, that I've actually read the constitution. And you would be amazed at the things it says and doesn't say.

For today, let's focus on the preamble (otherwise known as the beginning).

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

I've put a few of the words in bold because they seem to be the ones that get ignored by virtually every constitution worshiper.

Those 4 words give the federal government a lot of power. And they show that our founding fathers had the foresight to realize that the world would evolve in ways they could never imagine. They understood that people might have different needs in 2011 than they did in 1787.

Back in the day, each little community was isolated and not particularly dependent on each other.

In 2011, our general welfare is intertwined and highly interdependent. More of us work together. We travel the same highways together. We breathe the same car exhaust-filled air. We drink the same e-coli tinged water.

To promote our general welfare, it takes a coordinated effort. Lucky for us, this handy little document known as the constitution gives our federal government the authority to tackle this job head on.

So we have the EPA to help mange our air and water quality. Which allows us all to live longer.

We have government run health programs--like Medicare, Medicaid and The VA--which help those most in need get the care they deserve.

And we have laws to protect gays, ethnic minorities, women and others who continue to suffer discrimination at the hands of our most ignorant citizens.

No, you won't find the words Medicare, Gay Rights or Environmental Protection Agency anywhere in the 7 articles or 27 amendments to the constitution. But that doesn't matter. Because the spirit behind those words is right there in the first damn paragraph.

Promote the general welfare. That's just a fancy way of saying we are not all in this alone.

We are incredibly fortunate that the authors of our constitution were smart enough to include this language.

I just wish some of our countryman were smart enough to understand what those words actually mean.

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