Redefining founding document

Anastasia Spytsya

Do you guys have a favorite book, article or text to read? It’s like every time you read it, you discover something new behind its meaning. And every time you read it, it fascinates you more. In my case, it is the Constitution of the United States of America.

I used to have mixed feelings about this masterpiece. I always respected it, but at the same time I often asked myself, “Well, isn’t it obvious that every citizen should have these rights naturally? Why does some piece of writing have to tell me whether I have a right to voice my opinion or not?”

And then I think of countries like North Korea or the former Soviet Union. My thoughts are usually followed with, “No wonder why the American Founding Fathers had to ‘legalize’ natural human rights in our Constitution.”

A couple of years ago, an editor at The New York Times wrote, “The Founding Fathers were paranoid hypocrites and ungrateful malcontents.” I have met quite a few people who share the same view. Many liberals today label these men as racist, charlatans and many other names. Now, this is not only unappreciative, it’s just simply wrong on every level.

I am thinking that when you start a new country from scratch in 1787, there’s a lot to think about, and there’s no way to create the “perfect union” that same moment. Just think about the time when we adopted our Constitution. Can you name at least one country that existed in the late 18th century that would provide for its people the rights that our Bill of Rights guarantees us? Can you name me one country where all people were treated equally? If it wasn’t official slavery, it was social enslavement of poor people.

Most people back then were “paranoid hypocrites and ungrateful malcontents” and had limited thinking everywhere. And I take responsibility for stating that our Founding Fathers’ thinking went far beyond limited and was the most progressive in the world.

There is a reason why the Preamble says, “We the People” and not, “We the white men.” There is a reason for avoiding the word “slavery” up until the 13th Amendment, which abolishes it. Our Founding Fathers knew that the issue of gender and race equality will sooner or later be addressed.

What the Founding Fathers did was create a perfect framework upon which the union can be built and improved. If it wasn’t for this framework, only God knows what this country would be like. What people nowadays are trying to do is to break this framework with the new concept “Living Constitution.”

Apparently, these people are too bored with the original interpretation of the Constitution and think that it’s time to change its meaning. Huh? Say what? If Americans today break the philosophical framework of the Constitution, what are they going to change it to? How big is the new framework going to be? How do we know its limit?

If you agree with abandoning the original meaning of the Constitution, then why not abandon it with respect to interpreting all other legal writings including wills or old Supreme Court decisions? This is just plain wrong, radical-liberal thinking that will lead to a disaster.

I really liked how Chuck Norris explained this problem. He says in his book, “Black Belt Patriotism,” that America’s major problem is that we often fail to remember our roots upon which this nation has been developing. America has been transforming into the country that is not described in the Constitution. Norris compares our government to an octopus whose tentacles try to grab every bit of our society. And I agree. The government we have today is not the government that was originally described in the Constitution. It is the government that the Founding Fathers tried to prevent from happening.

Patrick Henry said, “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — let it come to dominate our lives and interests.” The Constitution means nothing but that we’re a nation ruled by laws, not men. Thomas Paine once said, “America has no monarch: Here the law is king.”

To me, the Living Constitution means that we will no longer be a Constitutional Republic and that we will be ruled by the committee of the nine Supreme Court Justices, 535 cooks and one chief. And if you agree with such an idea, then I fear that our good ol’ America will no longer stand for what it has stood for historically — liberty and justice, which made this nation the greatest.

Anastasia Spytsya is a senior Russian translation major and political science minor. Contact her at [email protected].