MARK KARLIN, EDITOR FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
One of the great ironies of the Republican Party right wing — which is to say the current crop of GOP presidential contenders — is their alleged reverence to the Constitution and the “Founding Fathers.” But, many of their more provocative public statements appear to jettison the Constitution. Furthermore, many of the individuals who created the US system of government were Deists and supporters of the Age of Reason (Enlightenment) – believers in the power of the human mind, not advocates of a rigid and mystical religious faith.
10 Reasons the GOP Wants to Ditch the Constitution
1. Individuals such as Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann believe that the New Testament should be the law of the land, and that God should guide a president in his or her decisions, not the Constitution.
2. The Establishment Clause of the Constitution specifically states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” while also preserving the right of individuals to worship their own faith. The Christian right believes that Evangelical and Catholic fundamentalism should be, in essence, merged with the government.
3. Candidates such as Newt Gingrich echo a long-term obsession of the right wing: that the court system is “activist” (as in liberal). Gingrich went so far as to say that he would ignore court rulings that he disagreed with, which would violate the three branches of government balance built into the Constitution.
4. The preamble to the Constitution cites to “promote the general Welfare” as one of the six reasons for establishing a nation of laws built upon the foundation of the Constitution. Is there a Republican candidate for office at any level who does not regularly bash the notion of “promot[ing] the general Welfare” of US citizens? The Constitution does not say that is was written to create a society where individuals engaged in mortal financial combat – and the less fortunate were left behind.
5. There are numerous proponents of repealing the 14th Amendment, which outlines who has a right to be an American citizen. One of particular objections of the 14th Amendment is that “anchor babies” – children of non-US citizens born in the US — are entitled to US citizenship. Interestingly, the 14th Amendment was enacted largely to nullify the pre-Civil War Dred Scott decision which had denied citizenship to slaves, or even freed blacks who were descendants of slaves. Is there a whiff of racism in the right’s objection to the 14th Amendment?
6. Then there are those who insist that the United States is a republic and not a democracy in terms of the right to vote. The most current evidence of this is the numerous voter restrictions that Republican legislatures have set up to obstruct minorities, seniors, and students from voting. Most interestingly, this desire to make America into a sort of “House of Lords” government is represented in a movement to nullify the 17th Amendment, which provides for the direct elections of US senators by the people.
7. Then there is the Fifth Amendment that guarantees, no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Under the Bush administration, these guarantees were usurped in a post 9-11 fear frenzy. They continue to be further violated even under the Obama administration, which just agreed to the possible suspension of habeas corpus for US citizens under certain circumstances.
8. Article VI of the Constitution forbids a religious test for serving in government. While the removal of this prohibition has not generally been an explicit demand of the right, it has been implicit in the assertions that President Obama as a closet Muslim and in other efforts to attack office holders who do not claim to be saved by Christ. President John F. Kennedy, running for president in 1960 and facing opposition because he was a Catholic, said: “[N]either do I look with favor upon those who would work to subvert Article VI of the Constitution by requiring a religious test, even by indirection. For if they disagree with that safeguard, they should be openly working to repeal it.” Contrary to right winger Christian-firsters, there is no Constitutional requirement to take an oath of office with one’s hand on a Bible.
9. The right wing generally supports police powers over the 4th Amendment guarantee that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue.” Ask minorities in the US, Muslims, or almost any non-white citizens if they feel protected by the 4th Amendment. whose guarantees have been whittled away over the years by the courts.
10. The Constitution sets up a legal framework in which all citizens – regardless of race, religion, or national heritage – are guaranteed equal treatment under the law of the land. This is equality, in legal theory, at its most distilled essence (of course, it doesn’t always apply in practice). This is deeply disturbing to right wingers who believe that the nation was founded as a white republic, with only whites being able to vote. The Constitution enshrines democracy (although it took subsequent amendments to enfranchise women and blacks), and the document and its amendments are a threat to the comfort and power of white privilege.
And that’s just the beginning of why the right wing is anti-Constitutional….