Thursday, January 06, 2011

Reading - vs - Understanding in Disneyland-on-the-Potomac

Short post today, mainly because I can't figure out any better way to say what commentator Dahlia Lithwick writes in this brilliant article: Read It and Weep: How the Tea Party's Fetish for the Constitution As Written May Get It in Trouble.

My old friend Ed points out that one of the key passages in the article is this:

"...if Tea Party Republicans really listen to the Constitution, they will quickly realize that "the document they are hearing is nationalistic, not state-oriented; concerned with giving Congress power, not taking it away; forward-looking, not nostalgic for the past; aimed [at] creating a new government that can solve new problems, not freezing in place an old one that must fold its hands while the nation declines."

The problem, of course, is that they don't listen because they're too busy talking about things they haven't really thought through.

The Constitution was written because the Articles of Confederation didn't work, giving too much power to the individual states and providing only for a weak central federal government that lacked the power to herd the state cats into useful, concerted action. The Founders knew that they needed a strong central government ... their challenge was to ensure that this central government would not become strong enough to trample on the rights of individuals and the states. This is why they designed the deliberately cumbersome system of checks and balances that divides federal authority among the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the government.

So, Republicans and Tea Party zealots, go ahead and read the Constitution aloud. You'll prove you can read, but not that you understand what it is you're reading.

Good luck with all that.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...


Mike said...

I love the poster.

KathyA said...

I'm quoting you on Facebook.

Bilbo said...

Andrea - Amen, back!

Mike - Feel free to use it; no charge.

Kathy - send me a friend request...