The Constitution Of Christine O’Donnell
By Sally Kohn
Sally is Chief Education Officer of the Movement Vision Lab, a grassroots popular education organization.
Somehow, the absurd notion that our political leaders should not be exceptionally smart or learned but, in fact, regular people just like us, took a decidedly even more absurd turn the other day when Christine O’Donnell questioned whether the First Amendment of the United States Constitution does, in fact, include the separation of church and state.
Thus, I have decided to lower my standards. While I once hoped for political leaders who are both smarter and more knowledgeable than us ordinary Americans, I will now settle for candidates who are as smart and knowledgeable as the rest of us. For, unless you’re one of those people who mistakes the Bible for the law of the land, it’s fairly astonishing to not know that the First Amendment of our Constitution says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
Lest you think my new litmus test is as easy for Republican candidates to ace as it is for Lindsay Lohan to fail a breathalyzer, allow me to introduce you to Alaska’s GOP candidate for the Senate, Joe Miller, who recently had his personal staff handcuff and detain a journalist for, um, asking a question. What law is that again that guarantees freedom of the press? Oh, right. The First Amendment of the Constitution:
Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…
Tea Party candidates and talking heads have been accusing President Obama, a former professor of Constitutional law, of violating the Constitution by regulating the financial industry, making health care affordable and accessible, and using government funds to stimulate the economy. Again, the Constitution, from the preamble:
We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare…
That’s why we have a government: to promote the general welfare over elite, private interests. President Obama, by looking out for all of our well being and not just turning government over to lobbyists for Wall Street, is doing exactly what the Constitution says he should do. For crying out loud, Tea Partiers, you can criticize Obama’s agenda but you needn’t suggest he’s un-patriotically breaking the law! Or, if you’re going to supposedly stand up and defend the Constitution, at least make sure you memorize it first.
And then please actually defend the Constitution instead of saying you love it but then constantly try to change it. From abolishing the 14th and 17th Amendments to proposing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, with friends like the Tea Party, the Constitution doesn’t need enemies.Click here for reuse options!
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