By Wayne William Cipriano
I believe in the Constitution of the United States of America. It is not perfect, of course, but what religion is? Still, it is the playbook of our country and we have, for the most part, followed it with some considerable success for more than two-and-a-half centuries. It is certainly a simple document (the secret of its longevity?) and the language, though dated, remains fairly easily understood.
It consists of about 8,000 words, more or less, and anyone who wishes to read it, even a slow reader like myself, can do so in much less than an hour. Once you have read it, you are prepared as anyone to ferret out its meanings and positions on whatever subject may be of interest to you.
It is true that millions and millions of words have been written concerning the interpretation of our Federal constitution but all of those words including those written by guys present while it was being constructed, are merely the opinions of the authors. The Constitution and all of its Amendments have been the product of many minds, each having its own perceptions, and so it is a joint effort subject to all the miscommunications, inefficiencies, and compromises that plague any committee-like exercise.
Occasionally you hear reference made to a group of writings collectively call The Federalist Papers to discover the “true intent and reasoning” of the Constitution as it was sent for ratification to the ex-Colonies. However, we all know that those articles, written almost exclusively by James Madison, were what we call today public relation pieces. They were published to garner popular support for the adoption of the Constitution, to develop voter pressure upon the various legislative bodies of the thirteen independent countries that existed when the British Empire decided the game was not worth the candle and withdrew from and surrendered most claims upon “the Colonies.”
So, read the Constitution and decide for yourself what it means and how, as it was ratified and has been amended a few times, it says we have agreed to govern ourselves. And then, I hope, smile and shake your head at the political deceptions and hypocrisy so often engaged when one person or group relies upon a “strict and true” interpretation of the Constitution in one instance to further one political agenda, and with the very next breath insists our Constitution be perceived as a “living, evolving” document when some other interpretation, furthering another political agenda, is required.
Consider two examples: Our Constitution’s requirement that our president be a “natural born” citizen found in the main text; and Second Amendment words “shall not be infringed.” Ironclad inflexibility, evolutionary applicability, frequent-ly demanded by the same entities!
What does your interpretation of the Constitution of the United States of America suggest?