Analysis

Posted on January 7, 2011

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I’m surprised, to be honest.  I would have thought the Republican party had more sense than they’ve recently displayed.  If you don’t know, check the news.  The House opened its latest session with a reading of the Constitution.  One commentator thinks they should have read the original documents in their entirety, because “how can we learn from our founding if we aren’t honest about it?”  In other words, we should include the original reference to blacks as three-fifths of a man (for voting purposes), or omissions such as women’s rights (since the documents refer almost exclusively to men).  But that wasn’t the case.  Parts were ignored in favor of later amendments.  But that’s not what my complaint is about.  My concern is the process that was used.

First, there was an argument about what version should be read, or which parts should be ignored.  Shouldn’t that have been settled behind closed doors?  Second, the Constitution, in its entirety, is long.  Too long for a complete reading.  People will become bored, and disrespect will follow, as evidenced by their behavior.  (This is not uncommon, apparently: there are companies that have banned electronic devices from meetings because they can’t control their employees.)  Besides, shouldn’t our lawmakers be familiar with our most basic documents?  I think we should institute a few laws about who can and cannot be a legislator.  A candidate should display an adaquate understanding of the most relevant laws and documents.  If they can’t show at least that, why are we electing them to run the country?  My final complaint is that the whole situation, as it was conducted, appeared as more of a scolding than anything else.  “Since you lawmakers can’t seem to do your job, we’re going to sit you down and educate you in the most inefficient way possible: by reading, aloud, the Constitution; for several hours; while you sit and endure it.”  It’s like how the military “retrains” soldiers when they’ve screwed up: have them sit through a “class” where they’re told how to behave like adults.

I guess my bottom line is that the House majority is acting like a bad manager.  What did they hope to accomplish?  Everyone will walk away with about as much understanding as they had before.  It’s not like somone’s going to have a revelation: “My gosh, that’s what I’ve been doing wrong!  The other side’s been right all along!  I guess I’m going to have to rescind my support of that bill.”  (Imagine that line said by Dave Chappell doing his white man impression.)  Politicians, like most people in this country, have their ideas about what’s right and wrong set before they go into a situation.  In the end, they’re going to listen to the parts that support their ideas, and ignore the ones that don’t.

Overall, a waste of time.  But, for someone like myself, and maybe for my readers, it’s not.  I mean to say, I’m going to spend some time studying the Constitution.  After all, as a soldier it’s my duty to uphold and defend it, so I should know what it says.  I’ll spend the next few weeks posting updates about what I learn for anyone who’s interested.  As a point of reference, I’ll be using the Constitution itself, a lecture on tape about the founding fathers, and at least one or two books (one titled “Beyond the Constitution;” still figuring out which other).

And in-between I’ll post other stuff of more immediate relevance, such as pictures or videos.  I think that’s it for now.  Yay new year!

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Posted in: Politics, Writing