Sunday, October 17, 2010

The 'Constitution in Exile' Movement and Why It is Important to Vote This Year

The "Constitution in Exile" is an extremist rightwing movement that hold that certain provisions of the United States Constitution are not being enforced according to their "original intent" or "original meaning".

Wikipedia has, in part, this to say about the movement: "Some originalists might argue, for example, that the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause do not authorize economic legislation dating all the way back to the New Deal."

It's a belief held in varying degrees by, among others, Antonin "Quack-Quack" Scalia and his lapdog lackey, Clarence "I'm not a black man, I just play one on the Supreme Court" Thomas and, naturally the Teabaggers have latched onto it as another weapon in their "Let's Take America Back [to the 18th Century]" movement.

In his must-read piece, America’s Holy Writ: Tea Party evangelists claim the Constitution as their sacred text--Why that’s wrong, here's part of what Andrew Romero of Newsweek has to say about it:

The Founders’ masterpiece, [Delaware Rethug and Senatorial Teabaggerer candidate and darling of the wingnuttery Christine] O’Donnell said, isn’t just a legal document; it’s a “covenant” based on “divine principles.” For decades, she continued, the agents of “anti-Americanism” who dominate “the D.C. cocktail crowd” have disrespected the hallowed document. But now, finally, in the “darker days” of the Obama administration, “the Constitution is making a comeback.” Like the “chosen people of Israel,” who “cycle[d] through periods of blessing and suffering,” the Tea Party has rediscovered America’s version of “the Hebrew Scriptures” and led the country into “a season of constitutional repentance.” Going forward, O’Donnell declared, Republicans must champion the “American values” enshrined in our sacred text. “There are more of us than there are of them,” she concluded.
By now, O’Donnell’s rhetoric should sound familiar. In part that’s because her fellow Tea Party patriots—Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, the guy at the rally in the tricorn hat—also refer to the Constitution as if it were a holy instruction manual that was lost, but now, thanks to them, is found. And yet the reverberations go further back than Beck. The last time America elected a new Democratic president, in 1992, the Republican Party’s then-dominant insurgent group used identical language to describe the altogether different document that defined their cause and divided them from the heretics in charge: the Bible. The echoes of the religious right in O’Donnell’s speech—the Christian framework, the resurrection narrative, the “us vs. them” motif, the fixation on “values”—aren’t coincidental.
From a legal perspective, there’s a case to be made that O’Donnell’s argument is inaccurate. The Constitution is a relentlessly secular document that never once mentions God or Jesus. And nothing in recent jurisprudence suggests that the past few decades of governing have been any less constitutional than the decades that preceded them. But the Tea Party’s language isn’t legal, and neither is its logic. It’s moral: right vs. wrong. What O’Donnell & Co. are really talking about is culture war.
Sidebar: And to that I would add "class war", another top-down movement originated, financed, and aided and abetted by the richest corporations in this country who appear to be intent on moving the United States not back to that hazily-lit nevernever land of happy plantation slaves picking cotton in the hot sun of the rural south (although they secretly yearn for that), but instead to the waning days of the Weimar Republic when the wealthy industrialists of Germany -- supported by such American capitalist pigs as Henry Ford, Averell Harriman, and unindicted probable war criminal and future presidential progenitor Prescott Bush, banded together to support the nascent National "Socialist" Party and its charismatic leader, one Adolf Hitler by name, to "save" capitalism from the degenerate social decay that was Post-WWI Germany. And we all know what that particular "take our country" back movement led to.

The US Constitution is a marvelous document that has not only stood the test of time but has shown the capacity to grow and mature and adapt to changes that could never have been imagined by the Founders.

And that seems to be exactly the problem with these guys in the "Exile" camp.

They would love nothing more than to go back to the kind of society that existed in 1789 -- Where only property owners could vote and nobody paid an income tax, where women and minorities couldn't vote, where a black slave was only 3/5 of a human being, and where government intervention in (a/k/a regulation of) such things as water quality, the purity of food and drugs, and where workplace safety, the minimum wage and the eight-hour day were anathema

That's really what's behind the whole "Take Our Country Back" meme of the Teabaggers and all of their dupes and fellow travelers and enablers in the rest of the Rethug party.

And this is why it is SO IMPORTANT to vote in this year's elections. If the Rethugs manage to take back congress, all we have to look forward to is more obstructionism by the Party of No, coupled with the steady drumbeat of agitation for Obama's impeachment, for the next two years.

And another thing: I mean, really, do we really want noted Orangeman John "Just put that bag of bribe money right there, Mister Koch" Boner as Speaker of the House?

Come on.


Anthony Pitman said...

You're absolutely right F-man. We need to get the vote out this cycle as badly, if not more so, than 2008. I'm scared that Democrats may think all is lost if they listen to the media, and not bother to vote. It's my biggest concern this cycle.

Farnsworth68 said...

Thanks, AP. As Thom Hartmann always says in his signoff, "despair is not an option".
The best thing we can do now is to donate as much money as we can to progressive candidates, to counter the filthy shower of green that the corporations are giving to the Rethugs, and get out the vote. This really could be the most important -- and the last real -- election of our lives.
-- The F Man

Don said...

While I agree substantively with your column here, I don't believe that the Tea Party is smart enough to believe certain parts of this, which I will quote here:
"They would love nothing more than to go back to the kind of society that existed in 1789" (That I definitely agree with, although be careful what you wish for) -- Where only property owners could vote (Probably true with the hard-liners, until their own right to vote goes away because they rent or live in a retirement home) and nobody paid an income tax,(definitely, until their medicaid and SS benefits dry up) where women and minorities couldn't vote(here I veer away, because women represent a huge part of the TP sadly) where a black slave was only 3/5 of a human being (No, as much inbred hatred they have, they only want to see Obama, and Jesse Jackson in chains), and where government intervention in... such things as water quality, the purity of food and drugs, and where workplace safety, the minimum wage and the eight-hour day were anathema(they may think this, but watch what they do when such things affect them personally)

The best part is, though they may whine like crack babies about the good ol days, is that for them to want so regression in the Constitution would require the most "judicial activism" that our country has ever seen, which is (they claim) one of the things they hate the most. I guarantee that when a TP is elected, and starts gumming up the works, their hatred will force them to lash out at their "god-granted" legislators like a bunch of Hamsters eating their own young.
Anyway- that's my 2.2 (inflation) cents worth. Nice Blog!
Don from Monmouth Oregon