CBS ran a piece recently, “Let’s Give up on the Constitution.” I assure you, I spit took my coffee more than once.
The monologue was delivered by Georgetown constitutional Law professor Louis Seidman (who might not realize his proposal would probably endanger his career). But his claim was simple: guns are a problem, and even though they are protected by the Constitution, if we try out a super secret method called ignoring the Constitution, we can get around that nasty old document and pretty much do whatever we want. Ingenius, right?
Now, he wasn’t just spitballing ideas, which is the hallmark of the American process (remember when we floated the idea of blowing up the moon to prove a point to Russia? I do). Louie has obviously given serious thought throughout his career as an EXPERT OF THE CONSTITUTION on how and why subverting the Constitution is a positive. Apparently, the temperature of the Gun Control debate is raised too high when the 2nd Amendment is nearly infringed, so we really ought to stop thinking about the 2nd Amendment.
Let’s do a thought experiment. Ray Lewis decides on Superbowl Sunday to chokeslam the referee sitting in the defense’s backfield and punts the football into a cameraman, declaring for himself 25 points. Reasoning: he does not agree with some rules in the NFL handbook, he didn’t write them after all, and he’d rather not adhere to them. The fact that we can get a moving bulk of muscles and human brutality to follow the NFL rules (they never mention no killing) like Ray Lewis should really make us think hard about what a political Ray Lewis (oh sh*t, he is retiring…) would do to our country without controls.
But Louie raises the important point about other presidents who questioned or ignored the Constitution, like Lincoln and FDR, insinuating that President Obama in a similar manner is facing a crisis that needs to be met with both barrels -ehm, I mean- both pea-shooters, we can’t leave any options off the table. Like Lincoln to the Civil War, and FDR to the Great Depression, President Obama has to take superlegal power in order to fix the
Great Recession gun problem in America.
Think about the parallel more deeply: Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of Habeas Corpus during the Civil War. The move allowed the Union to imprison enemy soldiers without presenting them before a judge immediately. Alone one of the most difficult decisions in his presidency, but our historical knowledge of it is lacking. Lincoln didn’t single-handedly suspend the great writ with a wave of his top-hat. No, he passed through both houses of Congress a temporary suspension in order to preserve both the Union and the Constitution. While many like to point out Honest Abe’s badboy streak, it was actually a piece of bipartisan legislature that gave the temporary power, associating the law only to the Civil War.
And Lincoln didn’t push for abridgment of Habeas Corpus simply because he disagreed the law; one would imagine as a real student of the law he’d understand its significance. But he understood in the time of the greatest peril of the Republic, he needed to act in accordance with the needs of the people.
Fast forward to January 16th, 2013. President Obama blatantly ignores the 2nd Amendment and fails to read the part about Separation of Powers, announcing 23 Executive Orders in response to the Sandy Hook Massacre, tromping out young children who apparently wrote in to the President, pleading with him to take away guns (and assumably bring back T-Rexes, if children nowadays are anything like I was and am right now). And you know that you’re trying some monkey business when you need to bring out small children (I think every Illinois politician does this every day just to serve as moral human shields).
Currently we are watching Government by Fiat, if you have been paying attention, and it is breaking the whole point of having a constitutional Republic: that no one person be indispensable to governance. Unfortunately, right now, President Barack Obama is trying hard to put himself between every debate, even if he then allows it to be settled by Congress.
What happened in Sandy Hook was a travesty, make no doubt about it, but does not pose the existential threat to our nation and it’s founding document in the manner the Civil War did. We are not on the brink of war with young boys with mental illnesses and guns. The 2nd amendment wouldn’t be abridged to save the nation but to serve a particular political outset.
We have a flexible enough constitution in order to be amended: the method was built into the Constitution itself. Article V states that an amendment can be passed with 2/3 Congressional Approval and 3/4 State approval. Simple enough? Yeah, and America’s also done that 27 other times. The other method is to hold a Constitutional Convention, which I really really really hope happens in my lifetime. (The other other method is to win in arm-wrestling against every one of the 50 governors, to find the Chief Justice who has been given a three days head’s start via hot air balloon, and convert two British children into Americans). So the idea that we need to just pitch the founding document, acknowledging it for its history signficance but forget about the men “who died over two centuries ago,” is out and out lazy and disrespectful.
Here’s a breaking HisGrossness revelation: those men who created the Republic and shaped the founding of the Country were smarter, less corrupt, more learned, and by miles more patriotic than anyone in Washington today. If there were to be a choice, I’d pick the values of the defenders of Liberty over the politically charged whims of our effete aristocracy any day.
Louie encapsulates his ignorance in one sentence, however, when he says that
For example, most of our greatest Presidents… had doubts about the Constitution, and many of them disobeyed it when it got in their way.
If the Constitution ever “got in the way” of either great presidents or bad ones (or even Grover Cleveland, what did he ever do for anybody), then it was doing its job. Strong constitutions obstruct, pester, and befuddle men of great ambition, who, even though they might have good intentions, pursue it in a reckless manner. It keeps our politicians in check, and don’t think for a second they’d hate an excuse to ignore it.
Ol’ Louie reminds us that “[t]his is our country. We live in it, and we have a right to the kind of country we want.” And while that’s true, we need to remember that we inherited it. It’s your dad’s ’77 El Camino: yeah the transmission is bad and the heater actually shoots oil instead of heat, but there is a reason for every part of it (maybe not all the cigarette burns). We need to respect our heritage, do some proper maintenance on the Constitution when necessary, and not so callously toss away what so many people fought and died for (unless you want to be haunted by Benjamin Franklin’s Ghost. Ain’t nobodies got time for that sh*t).
Brian Gross is currently trying to pass an amendment making questioning the Constitution unconstitutional. He is currently two days behind Justice Stevens, but gaining ground. Support this article and others that don’t use the word Constitution in some form 23 times by subscribing and recommending him to your friends! Constitution!)