Well, if there was any doubt that the right was absolutely correct in its portrayal of leftist contempt for the Constitution, it has been surely been erased in the aftermath of the first reading of the Constitution from the floor of the House of Representatives since that sacred document was passed. The sarcasm, contempt and loathing of the left has been so strong as to be almost palpable, and certainly strong enough for Americans to know once and for all that the left may pay lip service to the Constitution, but it has nothing but disdain for the text, and the underlying values and beliefs, of that beloved parchment.
The outrage from the left at the reading of the Constitution comes from all corners of leftist politics, media and academia. It includes such revealing statements as:
Washington Post political blogger Ezra Klein mocked the recitation as "a gimmick", and continued, "I mean, you can say two things about it. One is that is has no binding power on anything. And two, the issue of the Constitution is not that people don't read the text and think their following. The issue of the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done." (Actually, the Constitution is almost 225 years old, which shows that Klein's math skills are as suspect as his reading comprehension skills. As for confusing, consider that the U.S. Constitution has governed an entire nation for more than two centuries and clocks in at a miserly 4400 WORDS, and ObamaCare governs a single industry and contains a mind-boggling 2500+ PAGES!).
U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) whined that the reading of the Constitution on the House floor would be "ritualistic" and for "propaganda purposes", and expressed his disgust that the Constitution was being treated like it was a "sacred text". He lamented "You are not supposed to worship your Constitution...You are supposed to govern your government by it."
Daytime talk show hostess and avowed liberal Joy Behar asked her panel and guests, "Do you think this Constitution-loving is getting out of hand?"
U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) expressed his objection to the format in which the Constitution was to be read, referring to the fact that the text to be read would be abridged to exclude sections of the Constitution later superseded by one of the 27 amendments. Inslee called these "deletions", an incorrect term as pointed out by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX). Inslee protested that "...since we have not been able to review the exact language we will be reading today...this is not intended to create any statement of Congressional intent about the language, but rather to do our best to have a moment of comity to read the language as best as we can ascertain it." This evoked laughter from a number of Republicans because, really, isn't this of the crux of the problem; namely, that the very men and women who took an oath to support and defend the Constitution not only have not read it, but the very thought of doing so elicits howls of outrage?
From the Jan. 5, editorial page of the New York Times comes this complaint: "It is a presumptuous and self-righteous act, suggesting that they alone understand the true meaning of a text that the founders wisely left open to generations..." (How, exactly, is a straight reading, without commentary, of the Constitution a presumptuous, self-righteous act? Does that mean they think Christian pastors are presumptuous and self-righteous when they read the Bible aloud?").
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) complained about the reading of the abridged version because it would leave out text related to the "long struggle" over slavery, which would be offensive to African-Americans. He continued, "Many of us don't want that to be lost upon the reading of our sacred document...The three-fifths clause would not be mentioned." This just shows the deficit of understanding liberal Democrats are afflicted with. If Rep. Jackson had any remote clue of the true nature of the "Three-Fifths Compromise" he would be praising it. That compromise was reached as a way to get the full Constitution passed with the approval of the southern states, and at the same time weakening the political power of the southern states by not allowing them to count slaves for the purpose of representation in the Congress. This compromise was actually intended to accelerate the end of slavery.
The list of Democrats railing against the reading seemed endless, but it was also understandable. A strict adherence to the clear language of the Constitution would be the death knell for the vast majority of Democrat policies and programs. This is why Democrats defeated a bill that would require every bill introduced to include a statement identifying the section of the Constitution authorizing it. When former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked last year where in the Constitution she found the authority for passage of the individual mandate in ObamaCare, her reply was to sputter "Are you serious? Are you serious?!!" She never provided that basis.
Similarly, in a committee meeting on health care reform, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) boastfully admitted "When the deal goes down, all this talk about rules, we make 'em up as we go along." This was echoed by former Rep. Phil Hare who, responding to a town hall questioner about the constitutionality of the proposed health care reform, replied "I don't worry about the Constitution on this, to be honest with you". That much is clear. At another town hall meeting Rep. Pete Stark, one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress, mocked a constituent who'd asked similar questions and said that "the federal government can do most anything in this country."
The bottom line is that we as a nation have strayed far from the original intent of the Founders regarding the Constitution. We hear constant talk about a "living Constitution" from the political left, one that changes with the shifting moods of the citizenry. Yet how many of us would want to live in a house with a constantly shifting foundation? Only a fool would do so, and the wise would understand that a shifting foundation leads to a collapse of the entire structure.
Each and every member of the House of Representatives and the Senate are required to take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution, which says "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."
In reply to a woman who asked what type of government was now to be had after the convening of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin replied "A republic, Madame, if you can keep it." If we are to continue this great experiment in human freedom, each of us as private citizens must read, study and voraciously absorb the language of the Constitution. Then we must elect men and women of integrity to administer it. As declares the warning by Thomas Jefferson, "In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
Louis DeBroux is a Taylorsville resident, married, with eight children. He is vice chair of communications of the Bartow County Republican Party. He owns Gatekeeper data backup and recovery. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com.