Today seems to be a good time to transmit that document that is often referred to, often interpreted and seldom read, much less understood, by we, the people: the Constitution of the United States.
Here is that Constitution, including the XXVII (27) Amendments: Constitution of U.S.001. (For those whose fantasy is amending the Constitution for this or that purpose, that 27th Amendment was submitted to the states for ratification in 1789, but was not finally adopted until 1992, 203 years later.)
The Constitution is the very barest of basics about our system of government, extraordinarily importan. It is a start to have at least looked at it, again...as we stand at what the media and the political establishment call the "fiscal cliff".
For those interested in “Fiscal Cliff” and “Debt Limit” questions, a quick reading of Article I, especially Sections 7 and 8, might well be useful: “Section 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.”
It doesn’t take a close read to determine that the question doesn’t end with the House of Representatives solely deciding: rather, it must reach agreement with the Senate, and the resulting agreement must be signed by the President.
The presumption of the Founders was working together to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. This is how Democracy is supposed to work. Sure there was argument, the objective was agreement between diverse opinions.
Of course, as everyone who follows politics knows, the dance going on in Washington is more street theater than Constitutional law. Here’s a good (though long) summary on the posturing as of today. The posturing is not healthy to our Republic. The "dance" is less about doing the peoples business as it is strategizing to blame someone.
Then there’s the gun issue and the Second Amendment, a single sentence about which zillions of words have and will be written and spoken: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
National Rifle Association (NRA) seems to wield immense power in this conversation.
It is said that the NRA has (on the high end) about 4 million members, which, if true, is roughly one of every 60 adult Americans. By no means do all of those 4 million members agree with the official NRA stance.
NRA seems invincible only because we allow it to seem invincible. NRA is a classic bully in action.
“Persistence pays” is a good piece of advice to those who advocate change in our nation’s policy.
Some time ago I put together a chart of the composition of Senate and House of Representatives for the current Congress – the one which ends shortly. It is here, at least for this moment in history fairly accurate: Congress 1977-2011001
I succumb to the temptation to add my two cents worth to what is happening in Washington at the end of this Congress.
We have accepted a political culture of WINNERS and LOSERS.
The consequence is that we are all losing.
The most troubling fact in all of this is that “we, the people” are in reality the politicians we despise. It is we who made the choices when we voted (or declined to vote), and probably our most important choice of all was for our one local representative in the U.S. Congress (an institution mostly disdained by the people – a strange commentary, since we are the ones who elected them all, position by position.)
Becoming well informed (listening to more than a single point of view, and being on the court rather than simply in the stands) is an important part of becoming responsible supervisors of our elected representatives.
Happy New Year.