Why Not Have OUR Constitution Do What Is Best For ALL From Here On?

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

The Two Faces Of Constitutional Duplicity.

We can argue at length about specific unconstitutional actions taken by Supreme Courts, Presidents, or Congresses, but the reality is, we as a nation have never taken the Constitution completely at face, or parchment value. From my reading of our early history, especially during our constitutional convention in Philadelphia, and into the first decade of our Constitution’s existence, it was considered both a static and malleable document. The same time and place where we got our current originalist and living document perspectives on the Constitution.

The Road To Reuniting A Union Of States.

I do not want to be too drastic in my separation of the paradoxical mindsets, but let us consider this thought experiment question. If we were to meet at the 1787 Philadelphia convention, how would we attempt to end slavery without pushing out other (slave) states? That paradoxical problem has many similarities with the disunion fears and activities we have now. Of course, solving the continued cohesion problem should be somewhat easier since red state lines are not as deeply drawn as slave state lines were.

The Fault In Our Scars.

In Harlow G. Unger’s biography of Henry Clay, he quotes Clay telling an abolitionist petitioner that Southerners are not responsible for slavery: it is our misfortune, not our fault. He blamed the peculiar institution, which Clay always denigrated, on the British. Notice anything familiar about what he was doing? Yes, Clay was using the same palm-it-off-on-others denial method used by white privilege deniers of today, we never held slaves or worked on the white citizen councils, so how are any societal problems caused by slavery and Jim Crow our problem to deal with, or pay for?

The Constitution Chokes On Inconsistency.

Another legislative bill that became law during Henry Clay’s time in office, was the 1836 slavery Gag Rule. The law prohibited petitions being made in Congress that had anything to do with slavery, pro or anti. No Congressperson could talk about it during the regular sessions, all petitions related to slavery were immediately tabled. Yet, the 1st Amendment gives us the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Even so this quashing of our Constitutional rights lasted over eight years, from 1836 until 1844!

The Conclusive Cure.

Half way through Jeffrey Rosen’s book about Justice Louis Brandeis, who served from 1916 to 1939, he noted Brandeis’ concept, laboratory of democracy, in association with his view on states’ rights and economic activity. While there may be some avenues for economics to play a role in combating monopoly, the states’ rights laboratory has been a complete failure for human rights of most every other kind.

Writer/Consultant. Wife/Two-20 something daughters. Flyover Midwesterner. RN/Engineer son, been there/done some, antiracist, feminist, ecotarotcardist, politics

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