Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"We The Legislators?" Damn! And All This Time, I Thought The Constitution Was For "We The People"


God, how I love The Constitution. I love that we have a mandated day in schools across the country, Constitution Day, September 17, to honor the document that truly established our "grand experiment" in small-d democracy. I get teary hearing kids read The Preamble. I love the language and the structure and the fact that it is both a living, breathing document and the guiding principles of our nation at the same time. If I could teach about the Founding Documents all day, I'd be in heaven. I am a huge, Constitutional geek. A "We The People" nerd. And a sentimental, patriotic wonk that loves the history, the language, the debate about our Constitution to my very soul.

So when a bill declaring the reading the Constitution aloud on the floor of the Congress of The United States came up, I was actually o.k. with that. But then Boehner had Justice Roberts swear in his Congressional staff? Hell, The President doesn't have his staff sworn in by Supreme Court Justices! More of the "We're the GOP so we're more patriotic than you are" bullpuckey. What a pile of hooey. What nonsense. What grandstanding! And how typically Boehner. Needless to say, I was annoyed and perturbed over such propaganda. Because that's really what it is, you know: more Rethuglican propaganda.

But then I hear Michele "I'm a complete idiot" Bachmann talking about starting a once a week course on The Constitution for incoming members of Congress. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but shouldn't lawmakers already have at least a rudimentary grasp on The Constitution if they are sworn to "protect and defend it from all enemies, foreign and domestic"? Wouldn't you think said Members of Congress would hire staff that had a minimal, working knowledge of the provisions of The Constitution? Apparently the GOP does not believe the job is vital enough to warrant such ridiculous concepts as having a rudimentary understanding of the highest law of the land. Nope, don't need to know a thing to be in Congress, as Bachmann herself has proven over and over and over and....

But it's all going to be okay, because Michele Bachmann is going to make sure our elected officials know The Constitution inside and out: they will study it for six whole minutes...every week! Yep, in six minutes flat, they'll get through the entire document, in no time at all, I'm sure. "What can they do in six minutes to get such great results?" you might ask. The only sure way that I know to give them as good a grasp on it as the average fifth grader is by watching Schoolhouse Rock. Anybody else willing to chip in with me on the DVD and the shipping? We can send them a copy. You know you can still sing it, go ahead:
           
I dedicate this one to Michele herself, with love from Momma Politico:


But in all fairness, Bachmann and the new kids in class will have an objective Constitutional scholar propagandizing, I mean teaching them the intricacies and subtleties of the highest law of the land: Justice Antonin Scalia. Oh, yes. You heard me right. Scalia. Allow me to present a few key quotations from everyone's fave strict constructionist:
  • Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached. 
  • There are 900 ways the House can stymie the president, if it had the political will.
  • It (the State of The Union Address) is a juvenile spectacle. And I resent being called upon to the indignity.

  • I assure you, I have no agenda.
  • If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don't need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box.
So the guy who says, "We don't need no stinkin' Constitution," and who says he has no agenda (yeah...right. swampland, anyone? Brooklyn Bridge?) is going to lead the 6 minute speed dating class on The Constitution.
Wow. Maybe we should send him Schoolhouse Rock, too, so he can brush up before class starts. Gotta stay one step ahead of your students, y'know.

Here's a snippet of The Rachel Maddow Show in which Chris Hayes does an admirable job of exploring the issue:


Maybe it's a good thing to teach our elected officials about the highest law in the land. Maybe six minutes is enough to do the job...not likely. But when a party starts to claim not just the flag, but The Constitution as its own, well, that's a completely different issue. Last time I checked, The Preamble started with "We The People," not "We The GOP." It's your Constitution, it's mine, and it belongs to all of us, not to a sacrosanct party whose bumper sticker logic and culture wars are Hell-bent on rending The Constitution in two. "To preserve, protect and defend The Constitution of The United States, against all enemies foreign and domestic." Maybe Bachmann needs to have a 6 minute weekly refresher on what those words really mean.

Ready to reclaim The Constitution from the clutches of the Rethugs? Think a civics test should be a requirement to run for office? Put your two cents in here at Momma Politico!