Speak Up! - 01/26/06

Letters to the Editor - 01/26/06

Constitution was made to grow

As we all learned in grade school, the Bill of Rights was 10 amendments added to the Constitution which stated very simply various inherent rights of the people which government was forbidden to mess with.

And then, of course, there were the other amendments added to the Constitution – especially those during and after the Civil War which provided freedoms to large groups of people who had been considered either property or at best second-class citizens.

In fact, my own grandmother didn’t have the right to vote until just a few years before I was born. Yet she, in the quiet wisdom of universal motherhood, saw fit to have me sit on her lap in the 1936 re-election bid of FDR, to explain to me the options on the ballot before us at the precinct, put the pencil in my hand and ask me where I figured I should put the “X.” I was five years old.

The point is that the Constitution has been growing both directly and indirectly since its inception as a basic blueprint for a democratic government. Those who wish to revert to the original written word after more than 200 years of sociological and technological change are really “whistling Dixie!”

Does anyone really believe that women shouldn’t “have the vote” – and ever expect bedroom privileges in the future? Does anyone now believe that we can lawfully have slaves – even Mexican? Does anyone now believe that a person cannot be allowed to vote because he can’t read, write or speak English?

The differences between now and when the Founding Fathers created our Constitution are virtually astronomical. So when conservatives accuse the courts of “rewriting” the Constitution, my response is “wonderful!” The Supreme Court has done good! We are freer and better off than ever before in our history – and we owe a lot of that freedom to the Supreme Court.

But first, let’s consider the executive branch where we elect a president because he has some sort of charisma, the women like him or he likes football, or is a hero or just isn’t from New England – unless perhaps he inherits the job like either Truman or Johnson. We the people don’t really know the man or what he is going to do until we’ve elected him for four years! So in the case of the presidency, we are dealing with a capricious ego maniac who wants to be the most powerful man in the world! Boy! That is certainly reassuring that we’re going to have great leadership!

Now, lets consider the Congress. Does our Congress ever pass a bill which hasn’t been bought and paid for by special interests? Can we really believe a lawmaker who is willing to tell us whatever we want to hear? How many lawmakers were there who were willing to impeach President Clinton for fooling around with women who were themselves fooling around with women? (I think the last official number I heard was about 18.)

But, in general, our government muddles along passing good laws and screwy laws and good but inept laws – and sometimes it can’t seem to get around to pass a law it needs to pass simply because it can’t find enough sponsors or it is time for spring break, fall break or maybe it’ll get to it next year. Perhaps now you understand why we need a good, stable Supreme Court, including especially the 9th Circuit! (Who else would take on God!)

Allan S. Gleason