Thursday, January 06, 2011

That's in the Constitution?

Today the House of Representatives is reading aloud the Constitution of the United States.

Of course it is political stuntery of the first order, but maybe ... just maybe ... they will learn something during the course of it. Most of them probably have never even seen it, let alone read it, and I can imagine the shocked faces when some of its provisions are vocalized:

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.
Promote the general welfare? Is that why the wingnuttery is squeezing its butt cheeks together over the "unconstitutionality" of the Health Care Law? Is that why they want to get rid of government regulation, the environmental and consumer protection laws, etc etc etc?
Article I Section 8
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States...
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water...
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Congress is the entity with the power to declare war. That means that our misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan are being done illegally. As was our losing proposition to "bring democracy" to Vietnam. And they are supposed to be making all laws about stuff, not the president making "signing statements" (are you listening, Baby Doc Bush?) that, in essence and in practice, "make" laws.
Article I Section 9
The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
Tell that to the several hundred prisoners still wasting away in places like Guantánamo. Tell that to the other "enemy noncombatants" who are existing outside the bounds of civilized government. We might have been attacked, but we were certainly not "invaded".
Article II Section 1
[Duties of the President] Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Note there is no "so help me god" at the end of that oath or affirmation. That was added by unwritten convention due to political pandering to the 18th Century equivalent of the Religious Right.
Article V Section 3
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
It's easy for the wingnuttery to throw around "The T Word" when discussing Obama or various members of the administration or Democrats in Congress, but here's the strict definition.
Article VI
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
Got that, congressman? No religious test. That's as clear a statement of the Original Intent of the Founders on whether or not this is a "Christian Nation" and that we do have a wall of separation between church and state.
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
See above. Wall of separation. Period. You can also legally show up at a political rally for Bush wearing an anti-Bush t-shirt. Supposedly.
Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No wiretaps of citizens' phones, no snooping into our personal lives, no arbitrary actions on the part of the cops who are notorious in certain geographical areas for pulling innocent people over on suspicion of DWB (Driving While Black).
Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Again, tell that to the Guantánamo detainees. Tell that to Wikileaker Bradley Manning. Tell that to Muslim former Army chaplain James Yee.

So if the members of the House of Representatives can pull themselves away from their cell phones and keep from sexting the teenage House pages long enough to actually listen, they might learn something.

But I doubt it. These people mostly claim to have read their holy bible, and they seem to ignore completely all of that loosey-goosey "love thy neighbor" "turn the other cheek" neo-hippie garbage spewing from the mouth of their actual living god incarnate (i.e., Joshua bar-Joseph, aka "Jesus Christ").

So I take it back. It won't do them any good, and it's just a waste of time that could be better spent by the Rethugs doing what they do best, "The People's Work": Rolling back health care reform, cutting Social Security, and impeaching Barack Obama.


Anonymous said...

You forgot the part about them axeing the word "Union" from the Preamble. Their corporate taskmasters will eventually pay them to outlaw that word at some point.


Farnsworth68 said...

Thanks, WS
They also didn't read the part about slaves being 3/5 of a person. Glenn Beck, being Glenn Beck, took an odd but not unexpected historical revisionist turn on this, claiming that it was intended to destroy slavery...
Jesus wept.
-- The F Man