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Thursday, May 15, 2014

The US Constitution: An Anniversary of its Beginnings

Sorry there was no posting yesterday..

Sometimes there's really not anything to write about, which of course is one of many reasons the corporate media is so horrendous..  they Have to put out something..

Every hour in fact..

The shells of what were once real newspapers and TV news demand having something to fill between the ads..

We blessed be are not attached to that lash..
But in a way it was a shame we couldn't find the spark to submit something interesting yesterday for that day was May 14th, an important day in US History though if you polled most people on the street or even academia circles, wouldn't have a clue.

On this date in 1787, delegates convened in Philadelphia to write what would ultimately be known as our US Constitution.

This would continue for four months before finally completed in mid September and ultimately Delaware would be the first to ratify the Constitution on Dec 7th of that year.

Prior to the Constitution, the colonies were tied loosely together by an Articles of Confederation.

We won't go into all the particulars as to what the Articles said, why it was weak and ineffective (all that mumbo-jumbo is in your old Junior High history book or internet) but suffice it to say, a better document was needed.
The Constitution is many things to many people

We see it as basically a collection of compromises which set a bad precedent for how government deals with issues of massive historical importance and is why the country is in such bad shape today..

Take slavery..  They could not or would not decide to simply end it on the spot upon ratification and entrance into this newly constructed Union.  Nor could they have said unequivocally that slavery is 100% protected for those states who wish to engage in the trade.

The delegates couldn't even set a time line for eradication like they did for the slave trade itself which was to be illegal as of 1807.

Nope..  one compromise after another
The reason there are two legislative bodies (one with equal representation and one with weighted based on population) wasn't to protect little states like Rhode Island from being deprived a say..

It was to ensure that no matter how much population expanded in the North, the South would still have a say to defend an institution that from the onset was left open to legal minutia and compromises galore for 70 years after..

Because the delegates in Philadelphia back in 1787 were such utter gutless cowards on the slave question and could not fully commit one way or another, over 600,000 of their grandchildren's generation had to die of disease and in battle with another 400k+ wounded.

The same harsh criticism we make of those same delegates regarding the 10th Amendment which grants powers to the States not assumed by the Federal government..   Pretty vague stuff..
Its funny to think the entire US Civil War would have never happened if the Constitution produced a little specificity as to whether a state has a legal right to leave the Union once joined if deeply unhappy (like a marriage) or whether locked in forever and tough doodoo  (like a Catholic marriage)

Technically the Bill of Rights was written separate from the Constitution; more like a legal adjoiner created in 1789 and ratified in 1781

And if the Constitution represents one big glut of compromises, the Bill of Rights represents the pinnacle in absolute ambiguity.

Some Historians say that's a good thing..  Keeps the document fresh and alive and current..

The framers had no clue back in the day that the 1st Amendment would be utterly trampled to death by Corporations and private businesses who possessed the power to fine, suspend and/or fire their workers for expressing thoughts and opinions, albeit popular or no..

They could not imagine that a swarm of busy body buzzy-bees would take the position regarding the 2nd Amendment that "I don't need a gun and don't know why anyone would need one, thus No one should have them"

They also could not have envisioned the 8th Amendment protecting against cruel and unusual punishments or excessive fines would be used so skillfully by multi-billion dollar corps to get out of paying fair restitution to victims and to never have to admit guilt in the process.

In a way, the Constitution really needs to be updated and given a lot more specificity..
Problem of course is no one in power today is trust-worthy or possesses the morals and ethics to create law that wasn't partisan.

According to the 1800 US Census, America had a total population of 5.3 million which included 16 states:  the original 13 states along with Vermont, Kentucky and Tennessee

Today we have over 315 million..

Amazingly one person gets to rule over 315,000,000 souls..

More amazingly, most are pretty content with this arrangement.
Also each US Senator basically represents 3.15 million diverse views when he/she votes 'Yay' or 'Nay' to pending legislation

We really don't see this as adequate representation.

The reason the Constitution is so successful isn't that it grants freedoms but it gives the illusion that one is free.

You can say anything you want and not be put in jail based on the 1st Amendment (Yay!)

 Except try to publicly speak or type something threatening about a President or Senator even in a moment of harmless vent and watch that Constitutional protection dissipate like cold breath
~ We're not advocating or encouraging anything.. Only showing you a still-shot of a TV image of a kooky woman from a couple years ago

The 2nd Amendment says you have freedom to choose possess weapons and to protect oneself vs government threat (Yay!)

Except to buy a harmless .22 caliber pea-shooter you have to register your name and pertinent private info to the same govt your buying the weapon to potentially protect from so they know exactly where you are and how many weapons to seize when they decide..

Pretty ironic

But in a way all of society is but a big illusion.

A person feels independent and strong because they possess a lot of money and a lovely home and car, and savings in the bank, etc..
They tend to blot out the fact to get to that position they usually told to be at work a certain time, dress a certain way, told where to sit or stand, when to have lunch or that cigarette break, when you can leave and a thousand other spirit rules and regulations

A person feels invincible because they can jog 10 miles, do 1,000 push-ups and have the most ripped abs..

Then they get in their car.. or on a plane or train or bus and if something tragic is going to occur, all those tummy-crunches aren't going to make a bit of difference.

We are not free..  We never were..  But we as citizens were far more free when the Constitution was ratified than we are today..

We know.. We know..   'Try telling that to a slave'!
~  "But my ancestors came to America in 1900...
    "Shut up and write the check white boy!!"

Which slave may that be?

The one who was never freed at the very beginning?

The one who worked the fields or inside the home in exchange for food, clothing, lodging, was given Sundays off to pray, medical care when sick and 'retirement' when elderly?

Or the one that sits and waits to collect checks each month from the government that barely cover the basics while they waste away dropping one quarter after another into the local casino slots?
But that's a posting for another time..

All in all the Constitution is a great document and works because it allows people to believe there's nothing to hold an individual back but their dreams..

Even if the interpretive nature of the document makes it function often in the opposite.