Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Back to the original Constitution? Be careful what you ask for!

In April, I submitted a letter to the Duluth News Tribune in response to a letter suggesting we should return to the original Constitution.  I think the complaint was all the various Supreme Court decisions.

My letter hadn’t been published and I assumed it was not going to be.  But then the Chuck Frederick, the opinion page editor, found some space, cleaned his desk, and published more than the usual number of letters on May 13.

Mine was:
A letter writer recently stated, “Maybe we should go back to the original Constitution and what it stood for.”  Be careful what you ask for.  There is plenty that was added that many would not like to see removed: Bill of Rights, abolition of slavery, and the vote for women.

Even those who were in politics at the time of the writing of the Constitution could not agree on its meaning.  Thomas Jefferson (in France during the Convention) and John Adams had a long falling out over its meaning.  Adams wanted a strong central government; Jefferson feared a strong central government.
I had thought of submitting a short additional paragraph, but never found a round tuit.  That paragraph is:
Could these views on the central government be influenced by the facts that Adam abhorred slavery and Jefferson was a slave “owner”?
Do these attitudes still persist?  In the South there is still lingering resentment against desegregation.  In  West there is resentment against restrictions on using public resources.