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Old 10-24-2015, 11:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post
TO OUR MODERATORS:

I'm submitting this thread as an indirect response to an idea voiced in another forum; I've contacted that poster via Direct Message, and encouraged him to respond here.



I came of age during the rebellious 1960's, in a modest-sized (pop 25000) community with a mixture of agriculture and heavy industry, It had done its part during the Second World War by producing tanks, and was reportedly on an a list of potential targets circulated by the Nazi hierarchy. It was still largely separated into "old Protestant" and "white ethnic" communities -- the two didn't always see eye-to-eye, but recent military service had dispelled a lot of that, and the rest would soon die out. By that time, the town was down to only two black families -- because about a dozen more had left for better prospects, mostly around Chicago, the Mecca for ambitious African-Americans at that time.

In the seventh grade, I sat through a history class which devoted several weeks to the basics of the U. S. Constitution; it wasn't hard to see that most of the class was bored to death, but a few of us, raised in more politically-astute families, paid attention.

And two years later, there was a course in Civics, later to be renamed Citizenship. Both were taught by veterans who had grown up on "the other (non-WASP) side of the foundry", and one of them had gone to Penn State via the GI Bill, where he played some football and, with his teammates, made a little history off the field by declining a segregated hotel in favor of a military barracks -- out of respect for the three Nittany Lions of African extraction.

But the day I want to call attention to is Tuesday, November 26, 1963 -- the day after America buried an assassinated President. On that day, our instructor delivered a generalized talk on the price sometimes paid for living in an open society.

Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure got the most emphasis, but attention was also devoted to the point that, had the assassination occurred in the half-dozen-plus states which had no death penalty at the time, the assassin could not have been executed, because no Federal law protecting the President was in effect, and even more important was the fact that the law could not be changed after the fact (ex post facto) as specifically prohibited by the Constitution for the protection of all dissenters. (Article I, Sections 9 and 10)

I would be very interested in learning whether Mr. Lonerandsad encountered the concept of ex post facto during his secondary education, or whether he is familiar with it at all. That lack of principle within our deteriorating public school system is a root cause of many of the threats to a set of values which are under increasing levels of attack by the so-called "progressive" mentality.
My history courses didn't focus on the Constitution any more than it focused on other things. History gives an overview of history. I took Civics in the 8th grade, though, and that's the class that focused on the Consitution and other government documents.

I don't know why you think people respect the Constitution now any less than they ever did. If anything, people these days are more aware of the government founding documents than they were decades ago.

As far as your attack on progressives, it's my observation that progressives are more respectful of the Constitution and other founding documents than are extreme conservatives, who disagree strongly with the separation of church and state, and other freedom rights granted to all citizens, even those you disagree with or disapprove of.

There is a tendency these days to be a flag waver and wear red, white and blue clothing, and tatoo the word "freedom" all over everything, while refusing to sell a cake or perform a service for any couple or person that you think your religion would disapprove of. Anyone who thinks that way doesn't understand the basic concept of equality and civil rights in our country.

As far as people of yesteryear being all gung ho and teary eyed over our Constitution, remember that they were that way, while denying black people the right to get jobs, use public restrooms, sleep in hotels, and even vote. It is far better to quietly respect the rights of others than to wave the flag and quote the Constitution.
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Old 10-25-2015, 04:50 AM
 
Location: Asia
2,761 posts, read 984,777 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mauialoha View Post
Oh really? And what did those inalienable rights entail? For women? for blacks?
I'm 64 years old and can remember very well when the federal government had to step in to grant basic human rights to blacks in the South. Like being able to attend a public university, or to sit down on a bus. I think many on the right think we all have a short memory.
No.

The FF gave us a fantastic blueprint. The FF certainly didn't fix all of the problems immediately. You speak of a short memory on the Right. But, the Left seems to be ignorant of the history and the times.

No, unfortunately the ideals expressed in the Constitution were not all immediately realized. But, that does not mean that the Constitution, as written, was flawed.

What happened later in our history was our nation attaining and enforcing those perfect ideals as expressed in the Constitution.
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Old 10-25-2015, 04:57 AM
 
Location: Asia
2,761 posts, read 984,777 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpollen View Post

I don't know why you think people respect the Constitution now any less than they ever did. If anything, people these days are more aware of the government founding documents than they were decades ago.
My perception differs markedly from yours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpollen View Post
As far as your attack on progressives, it's my observation that progressives are more respectful of the Constitution and other founding documents than are extreme conservatives, who disagree strongly with the separation of church and state, and other freedom rights granted to all citizens, even those you disagree with or disapprove of.
You cannot seriously or credibly take the extremists as an example. I can cite black opposition to gay rights. Should I extrapolate that opposition to all Liberals? No. Of course not.

And most people misunderstand the idea of separation of church and state, at least as far as the Constitution originally dealt with it.

Moderator cut: Personal Attack

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpollen View Post
There is a tendency these days to be a flag waver and wear red, white and blue clothing, and tatoo the word "freedom" all over everything, while refusing to sell a cake or perform a service for any couple or person that you think your religion would disapprove of. Anyone who thinks that way doesn't understand the basic concept of equality and civil rights in our country.
Anyone who thinks as you posted immediately above doesn't understand the concept of the separation of church and state and the freedom of religious expression.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpollen View Post
As far as people of yesteryear being all gung ho and teary eyed over our Constitution, remember that they were that way, while denying black people the right to get jobs, use public restrooms, sleep in hotels, and even vote. It is far better to quietly respect the rights of others than to wave the flag and quote the Constitution.
The Constitution expressed the ideal of equally-created peoples and liberty. Sure, it took a long time to realise those ideals, but, they were indeed contained in the Constitution. Claiming that Americans were slow to follow the Constitution is no valid criticism of the Constitution. It is an indictment of the American people for failing to live up to those lofty ideals.

Last edited by Jeo123; 10-25-2015 at 10:25 PM..
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Old 10-25-2015, 05:09 AM
 
9,362 posts, read 8,752,658 times
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During the POTUS Oath of Office, the incoming President Elect states:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

And sadly it's been proven that that is not always the case. . . so if the top person in our country can't even retain his/her promises, what does that tell you?
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Old 10-25-2015, 06:21 AM
 
Location: Asia
2,761 posts, read 984,777 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
The U.S. Supreme Court interprets the Constitution, not you. If the Court says something is constitutional than it is until the Court either reverses itself or until a Constitutional amendment is adopted changing that interpretation of the Constitution.
I never understand from where this notion arises.

I bet you'd feel differently if SCOTUS tomorrow decides to deprive you of your inalienable rights.

Do you believe the men/women on SCOTUS are infallible? I certainly do not. And neither did many of our FF. They predicted, with concern, that the judiciary would become corrupt and political and that it would misinterpret the proper intent of the FF.

For this reason, many of the FF opined that the judiciary is not in fact the final arbiter of the Constitution. This is the very reason that the FF wrote the Constitution so that The People could amend the Constitution. The People are the final judges of what is and what is not Constitutional.

Alexander Hamilton stated in Federalist 33:

But it may be again asked, Who is to judge of the necessity and propriety of the laws to be passed for executing the powers of the Union? I answer, first, that this question arises as well and as fully upon the simple grant of those powers as upon the declaratory clause; and I answer, in the second place, that the national government, like every other, must judge, in the first instance, of the proper exercise of its powers, and its constituents in the last. If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.

In Federalist 28, Alexander Hamilton warned us, The obstacles to usurpation and the facilities of resistance increase with the increased extent of the state, provided the citizens understand their rights and are disposed to defend them.

I believe that we should abolish the Department of Education. Besides clearly failing with respect to educating the citizens of the US, it seems at odds with the original intent for the federal government to be administering education matters!

Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
The FF understood when they adopted the Constitution that it had to flexible.
Flexible means that the Constitution can be amended. It does not mean or suggest that in interpreting the plain and clear meaning of the text that broad meaning can or should be applied where the language is deliberately specific and narrow in nature.

Yes, Thomas Jefferson agreed that the Constitution should be amendable by the people in the future.

George Washington, speaking of the right of the people to amend the Constitution, yet still counselled in his farewell address that If, in the opinion of the People, the distribution or modification of the powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way that the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield. ... the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey established government.

Daniel Webster echoed Washington when he stated Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power ... The Constitution was made to guard the People against the dangers of good intentions, real or pretended. ... There are men in all ages who ... mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be kind masters, but they mean to be masters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
Its why so many of its phrases are short and broad. One example would "Congress shall have power to regulate commerce among the several States". What is commerce and what is not was not defined in the document. What regulating commerce is was not defined either. I don't believe these were omissions by the FF.
I own myself the friend to a very free system of commerce, and hold it as a truth, that commercial shackles are generally unjust, oppressive and impolitic.

- James Madison, aka the Father of the Constitution

Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
I believe they deliberately wrote the document to give those interpreting it some flexibility.
You could not be more wrong!

Everything written by the FF states that the purpose of the Constitution is to LIMIT and RESTRICT the powers of the federal government, and that the federal government shall only have those powers that are specifically enumerated and delegated to the federal government.

Don't believe me? Let's look at what James Madison (aka the Father of the Constitution) wrote re the General Welfare clause:

With respect to the words "general welfare", I have always regarded them qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.

In Federalist 33, Alexander Hamilton confirms this notion of a strict construction and literal interpretation of limited and defined powers:

It may be affirmed with perfect confidence that the constitutional operation of the intended government would be precisely the same, if these clauses were entirely obliterated, as if they were repeated in every article... The declaration itself, though it may be chargeable with tautology or redundancy, is at least perfectly harmless.

Arguing that the FF wanted us to loosely interpret the Constitution is factually incorrect. Still don't believe me? Let's look at what James Wilson from Pennsylvania stated regarding the Necessary and Proper Clause, which he proposed! James Wilson in 1787 stated regarding the words he placed into the Constitution - The gentleman in opposition strongly insists that the general clause at the end of the eighth section gives to Congress a power of legislating generally; but I cannot conceive by what means he will render the words susceptible of that expansion. ... for, when it is said that Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper, those words are limited and defined by the following, "for carrying into execution the foregoing powers." It is saying no more than that the powers we have already particularly given, shall be effectually carried into execution..

Ultra-Liberal Woodrow Wilson believed that your argument above re loose interpretation and flexibility is facile. Wilson stated in his essay titled Congressional Government, ... The very men who had resisted with might and main the adoption of the Constitution became, under the new division of parties, its champions, as sticklers for a strict, a rigid, and literal construction. They were consistent enough in this, because it was quite natural that their one-time fear of a strong central government should pass into a dread of the still further expansion of power of that government, by a too loose construction of its charter.

The only reason to have a written Constitution is to limit government. A government can protect or take away the rights and freedoms of its citizens. The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The DOI then advises that the reason for government is to secure these rights, but warns, too, that governments can be destructive to this purpose. The FF knew that government was necessary. But, they also feared the tendencies of governments and men to seek power and strip away the rights of man. They knew that any government that they would agree to had to be LIMITED. The Constitution expresses the agreement of our FF to be united under a federal government that was expressly limited in its powers to doing only those things that the several States could not well do on their own.

We're not arguing whether SCOTUS has the power of judicial review. SCOTUS gave itself that power early on in our history. We are instead discussing the original intent of the FF and the purpose of our Constitution. I am well aware that over the years, as was predicted by our FF, our federal government has grown in power and become ever-increasingly tyrannical. That is a fact I do not deny. I only argue that it is incorrect to assert that our FF wanted us to interpret the Constitution in a loose manner. It is abundantly clear that the opposite is true and that our FF were terrified of a powerful central government, as all governments are prone to tyranny.

How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism.

- James Monroe at the Virginia Ratifying Convention in 1788

Thus, the FF sought to draft a Constitution, the purpose of which was to LIMIT and RESTRICT the power of the new general (federal) government and to secure the rights of the People and the States.

Last edited by Salmonburgher; 10-25-2015 at 06:47 AM..
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Old 10-25-2015, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
18,958 posts, read 8,900,001 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mauialoha View Post
Originally Posted by Salmonburgher....



Oh really? And what did those inalienable rights entail? For women? for blacks?
I'm 64 years old and can remember very well when the federal government had to step in to grant basic human rights to blacks in the South. Like being able to attend a public university, or to sit down on a bus. I think many on the right think we all have a short memory.
I'm glad you said this. This idea that these inequities are way long past is such a distortion of history. I remember it all well, as do you. And even after the Civil Rights Act was passed in the 1960s, vestiges of the inequities continued, and while far more subtle today, have not all disappeared.
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Old 10-25-2015, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
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Originally Posted by Salmonburgher View Post
No.

The FF gave us a fantastic blueprint. The FF certainly didn't fix all of the problems immediately. You speak of a short memory on the Right. But, the Left seems to be ignorant of the history and the times.

No, unfortunately the ideals expressed in the Constitution were not all immediately realized. But, that does not mean that the Constitution, as written, was flawed.

What happened later in our history was our nation attaining and enforcing those perfect ideals as expressed in the Constitution.
No again. The job is not over. We do not yet have a perfect union for all our citizens.
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Old 10-25-2015, 08:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Northern Maine Land Man View Post
Sometimes they get it wrong, such as prohibition of alcohol. That amendment was overturned.
Sheesh! It was repealed. Amendments can't be overturned. That was the whole point.
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salmonburgher View Post
The intent of the FF is clear. They intended to alter the original Articles of Confederation in order to give the new Federal Government certain definite enumerated powers to enable the Federal Government to serve the several United States and to preserve for the States all powers not specifically enumerated and granted to the Federal Government.
Ahem! It was never either the effect or intent of the founders to restrict rights or powers to those that were specifically enumerated. That is all radical invention and alteration suggested by latter-day ultra-rightwing enemies of the US Constitution -- people who abhor its flexibility, open-endedness, and quite deliberate plasticity. In reality, it is as true today as in the days in which the document was first drafted that what is implied by the Constitution is equally as important as what is enumerated. The retrogrades of the time having been marginalized out of national necessity by those whose names we remember, the Constitution ended as, and remains, an essentially LIBERAL document. This is why extremists from the far-right feel such a need to attack and redefine it.
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:34 AM
 
1,589 posts, read 881,382 times
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Originally Posted by Terryj View Post
The most perverted use of the powers by the federal government under Article 1, Section 8 is the Commerce clause...
The Commerce Clause was and still is essential to effective national government. The federal government at the time was rendered all but powerless in dealing with international trade and finance, as the words of our diplomats and national officials were all subject to the often crazed whims of state and local legislators. It was pointless to try to negotiate anything with the United States when in fact the states were not at all united and operated as self-serving independent fiefdoms.

And of course, the actual problem that a typical brain-washed reactionary of today will have with respect to the Commerce Clause is that 250 years worth of technology have made almost everything classifiable as part of interstate commerce. This is of course not relevant IN ANY WAY AT ALL to the purposes of the clause, merely to the scope and scale of its coverage and applicability. Wickard v. Filburn was in fact correctly decided whether latter-day sociophobes or other right-wing America-haters bother to agree with it or not.
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