I got an email this week that was yet another stark reminder of how desperately Americans need to get back to their constitutional roots.
Especially people on the right. I mean, we kind of expect the progressive left to ignore America’s founding document. But the right…it’s supposed to hold the line, isn’t it?
Remember those long forgotten days – once upon a time – when the right wing was theoretically committed to “limited government” and the left was “anti-war?”
Maybe that was a fairytale, but I do remember when most grassroots conservatives at least talked about fidelity to the Constitution. But no more. By and large, it’s now all about “build a wall” and whatever other policy they want to advance – Constitution be damned.
Any time I criticize Trump for his lack of constitutional fidelity, I get blasted by excuse-making Trump supporters. First, they come at me with the mental gymnastics trying to justify their position constitutionally. Then, when that fails, they just start telling me this or that policy is “necessary.” The final blow usually goes something like, “Obama did it.”
Yeah. I don’t care what Obama did. I spent years criticizing him. It’s sad that I now have to fight the same battles with Republicans.
So, in last week’s Monday Musings, I mentioned the fact that the president doesn’t have any authority to declare an emergency and then take action based on that unilateral pronouncement. If you’d like to review the constitutional argument, read THIS ARTICLE by KrisAnne Hall.
Well, some guy wrote to take me to task. Here’s just a little taste of what our intrepid constitutional scholar said. [Formatting original]
YOU REALLY NEED TO DO A WHOLE LOT MORE STUDYING….AND LESS WRITING ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP USING EXECUTIVE ACTION TO BUILD AN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY BARRIER WITH MEXICO
One of the funniest parts of the exchange was when he sent me this – again I’m copy-pasting verbatim.
“The Tree of Liberty MUST be nourished with….blood”. Thomas Jefferson – Author of the Constitution
Remember that time Jefferson wrote the Constitution? Yeah. Me neither. Because he was in Paris during its drafting and the ratification.
Folks, I deal with these people constantly. It’s evidence of the complete lack of constitutional education in this country. Nearly everybody will tell you the Constitution is important, but virtually nobody knows what it really says or means.
We need to get back to the basics.
I’m finishing up a book I hope will help called Constitution 101. I hope to have it out this spring. It will go through all of the important clauses and explain how they were understood at the time of ratification. As James Madison said, ” In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution.”
For a preview, you can read through my Constitution 101 articles at MichaelMaharrey.com.
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