Interpreting the Constitution

Why are we surprised that SC judges cite dark age laws to justify their elimination of civil rights?

Interpreting the Constitution

The Brennan Center
Michael Waldman

“Judge William J. Brennan Jr. chastised early arguments for originality in the 1980s. “We current judges read the Constitution the only way we can: as twentieth-century Americans century,” he said then. “We look to history. of the time of writing and the subsequent history of interpretation. But the ultimate question must be: what do the words of the text mean in our time? For the genius of the Constitution rests not in any static significance it might have had in a world that is dead and gone, but in the adaptability of its broad principles to meet current problems and needs.

I believe most educated Americans read the Constitution and come to the same understanding as Justice Brennan. I believe this also applies to those who call themselves conservatives because they advance different arguments and interpretations depending on their platform. When they argue for Second Amendment rights, which relate to state-regulated militias, their interpretation is that we are still living in colonial times and that we must interpret the Constitution verbatim regardless of the advancement of the society. There is no part of the amendment that asks for the individual right to bear arms. But to possess weapons of war, they pass from the original interpretation to the modern interpretation. They are very flexible. Everything that suits the current need. They pretend to see white men in powdered wigs, capri pants, stockings and zippers, or Jesus Christ, taken down from the cross and heavily armed. Why are we surprised that SC judges cite dark age laws to justify their elimination of civil rights?

When they oppose individual choice, they argue that no part of the First Amendment grants individual rights and that none of the other amendments can be used to defend individual rights. An 18-year-old can buy an AR-15, but a 25-year-old woman can’t choose to abort an unwanted pregnancy, and a 65-year-old black man doesn’t know enough to vote. They think that all religions other than Christianity are made up of whole cloth and are purely mythical.

Zeus, Jupiter and Jesus Christ have the same pedigree.

What is the mission of the Republic? This is the Preamble of the Constitution:

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, to establish justice, to secure internal tranquility, to provide for the common defense, to promote the general welfare, and to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

“A preamble is an introductory and expressive statement in a document that explains its purpose and underlying philosophy.”

The preamble isn’t just an assignment in fifth-grade civics class, to be memorized to pass a test, and forgotten. It is the anchor statement of the whole document. All articles, clauses and amendments are directly linked to one of these verbs which state the objective of the government. The majority rules, but the minority must also be protected by the same articles. There is no reference to political party, race, ethnicity, religion or gender. We can’t read things into the constitution that don’t exist to deny the rights of “others”.

If we take a minute to read this beautifully crafted document, it is obvious that religions, capitalists and authoritarians see it as a stumbling block and something to get rid of. People who call for the burning of books and men see it as the only document they wish they could eradicate from the memory of free men everywhere. They know that their philosophy cannot withstand the critical eye of truth and facts. They rightly fear that your freedoms threaten their mystical lies because they are. Your freedom, guaranteed by the constitution, is their scourge. They see equality as a threat to the continuation of their business.

The Supreme Court has chosen June as the month to issue all their evil rulings against all those rights which are celebrated in June. In the next term, I suspect they will issue more perverse rulings regarding the rights we celebrate most when we celebrate our independence from the monarchy. I use the word “perverted” because it most accurately defines what the Supreme Court justices, the Republican Party (as it now exists) and Christians have done and are doing to our justice system.

The problem is not with the Constitution, but with the fact that we do not apply it. The Constitution is a stumbling block to tyranny. We didn’t measure up. The Constitution is a progressive document that must be interpreted by society in each successive era. Our laws must be written to reflect our needs. The Constitution does not anchor the society to 1776.

Heather Richardson Cox, in today’s commentary, referenced Johnson’s efforts to pass civil rights legislation in the 1960s. She quoted Senator Richard Russell (D-GA), “We will resist until ‘end to any measure or movement which tends to bring about social equality, the mixing and amalgamation of races in our States’. This is the idealism we are dealing with today. This is consistent with the constitutions of several Southern states, at least at the time of their sedition.

We are the posterity of those men who, although slave owners, deists and other sorts of men, had the wisdom and direct experience of tyranny to provide us with a democratically governed Republic. In order to maintain it, we must nurture it, exercise it, appreciate it and respect it. We are a nation of laws and the Constitution is the only guide to the laws that make us a free nation. Don’t be fooled by politicians, clerics or other charlatans. We are a city on the hill. Not because Jesus said so. Not because John Kennedy or Ronald Reagan said so. The Constitution of the United States of America is what makes us a shining city on a hill.

Frederick Douglas has cried fuck the shit out of a slave overseer and the rest of white society is scared to death that he is going after them.

“The man who deprives me of my earnings at the end of each week meets me as class leader on Sunday mornings, to show me the way of life and the way of salvation.” It’s the Christian creed. There is nothing wrong with being white. It is bigotry that makes us wicked and ununderstanding.

I have a suggestion: white people are starting to listen to minorities. It is not up to us to explain to blacks or other minorities what they want and what they need. Indeed, during the demonstrations that followed the murder of George Floyd, the question arose. “What more do these people want?” Who can ask such a question?

I don’t know if white people are really that ignorant, or if, as James Baldwin said, “they hide behind the lies” of the last 419-20 years.

In view of the upcoming celebration of our “white heritage”, I want to quote Frederick Douglas (1818 – 1895) again with his commentary on slaves and the July 4th celebration:

“What is your 4th of July to the American slave? the party is a sham; your vaunted liberty, an impious license; your national greatness, an inflated vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, an impudence with a bronze brow; your cries of liberty and equality, a vain mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him nothing but bluster, fraud, deceit, impiety and hypocrisy – a thin veil to cover crimes that would dishonor a nation of savages. Is there not a nation on earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than the people of these United States, at this very hour.”

We can now, without a doubt, extrapolate its shrewd observance to women, LGBTQ+, religions other than Christianity, black and brown people of all persuasions, and all entities not mentioned.

“The people who colonized the country had a fatal flaw. They could recognize a man when they saw one. They knew he was nothing but a man; but since they were Christians and they had already decided that they were coming here to establish a free country, the only way to justify the role that good played in his life was to say that he was not a man, because if he was not not, then no crime had been committed of our current problems.”

James Baldwin (1924 – 1987)
Glaude Jr., Eddie S. . Start over (p. 9). Crown. Kindle edition.

This is the lie behind which white men hide, with the approval of the Christian church. Their fear of who they are has driven them to this unbridled hatred and persecution of anything that isn’t a straight white Christian man. It must be a most miserable existence.

Therefore: “Come out of them and be separate, saith the Lord. Touch nothing impure, and I will receive you.
I’m not sure about Bible translations and versions and it doesn’t matter. Who declares what is clean and unclean? Men of dubious character and petty dispositions. Men who turned the ancient poetry and mythology of another people into their own hateful weapon against society. When the rights of any person rest in the hands of a criminal empire, society is in big trouble.

If we find ourselves surprised that black men, even runaway slaves, women and homosexuals, can write and speak with such eloquence, we can label it to our own ignorance. Christian indoctrination is not education. To dismiss Christian indoctrination as harmless is not acceptable. Christian indoctrination is what has brought us to this point. We practiced white Christianity until it had the power to destroy us.

We don’t have to agree with anyone’s life choices or circumstances, but we have to accept them, because we too are victims of circumstances. This is how we were born.

About Norma Wade

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