As Americans, we have almost an insatiable need to interpret and sometimes even redefine everything to suit our agenda. Our need for bias confirmation is greater than ever before and our nation is politically polarized to the point of distraction. My mind wanders back in time when I’m looking at current issues, and I wonder if the Constitution was designed to be completely unambiguous or is it a living document deliberately imbued with a fluidity that would last for a thousand years.
I read articles every day that have me combing through the founding documents and wondering why even our Justices can’t agree on the true meaning of these words. Some things are more obvious than others, and as much as I’d like to believe all will be answered if I look closer, I find that the Constitution is fraught with ambiguity. Is that the way it was meant to be – a document whose language has taken on different meanings through time and the evolution of our democracy, or a stone tablet with no thought or expectation of the changes that were coming for our Republic in the centuries ahead?
If the Supreme Court is tasked with decisions about the meaning of the law of the land, (and if you are being honest – with some political bent) then it stands to reason that the document was meant to be applied and it’s interpretation challenged. I think it’s our duty and responsibility to put it under the microscope of modern democracy and accept the challenge to be our best citizens as we defend our nation against tyranny.
The framers of the Constitution weren’t perfect men. Some had little or no formal education, many weren’t formerly in any type of leadership role in their community and, yes they were slave owners too. They also were often in disagreement about what should be included in the founding documents – to the point that not everyone would put pen to paper and add their signature. It was, to say the least, a contentious ordeal to produce a finalized draft. To question the meaning of certain articles of the Constitution is a wholly American and democratic exercise. To blindly follow powerful leaders who would have you believe that they alone know all the answers is pure folly. You have only to read the Bill of Rights to see that there were many changes ahead for our youthful nation that needed a foundation upon which to build a strong and enduring Democratic Republic. But I believe it wasn’t an end they had in mind, but a beginning…