[Christine] O’Donnell once told voters that her “No. 1” qualification for the Senate is an eight-day course she took at a conservative think tank in 2002.
[O'Donnell's] fellow Tea Party patriots—Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, the guy at the rally in the tricorn hat—also refer to the Constitution as if it were a holy instruction manual that was lost, but now, thanks to them, is found. And yet the reverberations go further back than Beck. The last time America elected a new Democratic president, in 1992, the Republican Party’s then-dominant insurgent group used identical language to describe the altogether different document that defined their cause and divided them from the heretics in charge: the Bible. The echoes of the religious right in O’Donnell’s speech—the Christian framework, the resurrection narrative, the “us vs. them” motif, the fixation on “values”—aren’t coincidental.
From a legal perspective, there’s a case to be made that O’Donnell’s argument is inaccurate. The Constitution is a relentlessly secular document that never once mentions God or Jesus. And nothing in recent jurisprudence suggests that the past few decades of governing have been any less constitutional than the decades that preceded them. But the Tea Party’s language isn’t legal, and neither is its logic. It’s moral: right vs. wrong. What O’Donnell & Co. are really talking about is culture war.
The argument, therefore, is not about the Constitution per se. The Constitution, as George Bush put it, is "just a goddamned piece of paper" to these morons, a means to an end that would substantially and perhaps permanently alter this nation into a Taliban-ish theocracy.
Or not. The cynic in me says that the second tyrant-con artists like Beck and Palin took over, the libertinism of the ensuing nation would be rather...well, Sodom and Gommorah would have nothing on us.
The Constitution is a piece of art as well as a bundle of laws. The original "original intent" was to make the document a living testament to change, a way to acknowledge that monarchies are slow to respond to the will of the people, even a monarchy that allowed as much freedom as 18th Century England did (Magna Carta and all that stuff). It was an admission that a democratic form of governance will most certainly require flexibility, the people being fickle and capricious.
Even the Founders couldn't forsee how radically the nation could change. I wonder what their objections would be to the country now? Women voting? Free blacks voting? Technology? Multinational corporations? Densely populated cities the size of entire states?
Would they get angry at, as Bill Vaughn puts it, citizens of America who would cross an ocean to fight for democracy, but not cross the street to vote (h/t Dogg, who really should restart his blog)? Would they get angrier still at the lack of decency in public discourse, how the Teabaggers are smearing a President not for his policy but for his skin color?
Well, maybe not that last one. It was not unheard in those days for a political figure to be slandered.
Or would they marvel at how out of date their very progressive, very forward-leaning document has become?
The Second Amendment...if they saw the crime statistics in densely populated areas, and how infinitely more frequent guns are used to deprive fellow citizens of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," would they insist on going back and striking that amendment?
Or the Fourth and Fifth Amendments...would they go back and insert a right to privacy, since today a man in one room, often a government official, can spy on a man way across the country with a remote camera (keeping in mind this would also make abortion de facto constitutional, and Roe v Wade would be unnecessary)?
Would they clarify that a government has the right to raise funds in any way it sees fit, or would they more closely define taxes to exclude income and to be a fairer system across the board?