Not A Video Game: Grand Theft - The Constituion
Maybe it’s not a violation of criminal statutes.
But the misappropriation of the U.S. Constitution by conservatives for their partisan posturing – as illustrated in last week’s reading of the nation’s founding document in the House – does fit the definition of theft: taking property without consent…in this instance the ‘consent’ of the governed.
However, this is a heist conservatives’ have successfully pulled off before as evidenced by their politicized appropriation of the American Flag, the Pledge of Alliance, national security, God, mom, apple pie, etc. etc…
This brazen theft by deception of the Constitution – the foundational document of the U.S. government – happens on three levels: dismissive; disturbing and downright dangerous.
The dismissive level involves crack-pot political candidates like Christine ‘I’m Not A Witch’ O’Donnell. During her unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid last year O’Donnell’s inane pontifications about various provisions in the Constitution were the butt of jokes from coffee cup conversations to TV comedy.
It’s easy to dismiss O’Donnell, who recently called the vote last month extending unemployment benefits a “tragedy.” She’s loopy and a lawbreaker too, having confirmed that she used political campaign contributions to pay for personal items like rent and a mattress.
The disturbing level came last week when the Republicans in the House kicked off the new session of Congress with a public reading of the Constitution…a muck-reeking exercise unmitigated by bi-partisan participation.
While supposedly showing their fealty to the “original meaning” of the Constitution they used a prop. Putting con into Constitution, they read from a censored version of the document that selectively excluded salient passages like those pertaining to slavery.
But more debilitating and more far-reaching than the dismissive and disturbing are the dangerous perspectives held on the Constitution by some of those constitutionally empowered with interpreting that document – members of the U.S. Supreme Court, specifically those on that body’s far-right majority.
Only recently Justice Antonin Scalia, the kingpin of the Court’s conservative fringe, declared that 14th Amendment prohibitions against discrimination do not apply to women and gays.
Now, conservatives have a First Amendment right to proclaim themselves America’s preeminent protectors of the Constitution, irrespective of the truth or sincerity of their assertion.
But critics rightfully do point out that too many conservative doctrines pervert the textual meaning of the Constitution, beginning with conservative policies that pollute pledges contained in the Constitution’s Preamble.
The Preamble pledge of promoting “the general welfare,” for example, does not mean promoting the welfare of the wealthy first, foremost and forever – which is a pillar of the Republican Party.