Exclusive: Why Does the Constitution Matter Anyway?
by DIANNA COTTER
January 4, 2010
“Why is the Constitution so important, why does it matter anyway?” asked my 8-year-old son. We had been talking about Barack Obama and Chester Arthur, and how both Presidents had been born to foreign fathers who were not citizens of the United States when they were born. Like so many other people today, he didn’t understand the importance of knowing where the loyalty of a man lay who was to be the Commander-in-Chief.
I consider this issue to be of tremendous importance. Not just for the obvious reasons, but for secondary ones that directly relate to education. In the 1770s, when the various Continental Congresses were occurring, many of the issues that the Constitution dealt with were common knowledge. The issue of citizenship was of paramount importance, because of reasons our ancestors lived with every day. The birth of a new Nation is a singular event that requires specific and very thoughtful consideration. How would they determine citizenship? Was residency required, would a person instantly become a citizen once the Constitution was ratified? Was dual citizenship possible? Under what circumstances, if any? How would they go about making certain of the loyalty of the new nation's leadership, when quite literally there were no Natural Born Citizens 35 years of age to be found anywhere until well into the 1800s?
The founders were asking these questions out of necessity. Building the foundation of law for a new nation is no small undertaking, and they did not include a matter of national security by accident. Being utterly certain of the nationality of the Commander of the Armies at a time when loyalties could easily have been divided was not just an idle side issue. Many people were foreign born new citizens, from countries with which the new America was at war.
My 17-year-old stepdaughter had never heard anything remotely detailed regarding the Constitution, other than a brief lecture or mention in a textbook. Certainly, my 8-year-old son in 3rd grade hasn't. The history and the foundational law that went into it, the mindset and thoughts of the men writing it, and the philosophy developed over a thousand years that went into it are no longer taught. The context has been completely obliterated over time, and given the importance of knowing what it is to be American, it almost seems deliberate. If people do not know their history and the context it gives them, they can be told they are anything and will believe it. Who was it that said, "A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything"? Well it certainly applies to America today, and it is a travesty.
Our education system has watered down our history, and now teaches a form of history that makes it possible for those in power (including the media) to dictate to the people who and what they are told to be, rather than what the Constitution literally gives us as a birthright: Freedom from tyranny of all types. We have lost our way along with our history. Our Constitution protects us all, from the highest office holder to the youngest of our newborn citizens, yet schools do not teach the real meaning of the document. What makes us Americans is not our lifestyle or even our society: it’s the Constitution.
The Founders warned us this would happen if we were not vigilant in defending it. We have not demanded its real relevance be taught, and so the opportunity to rewrite our history has been taken up by those who fundamentally do not believe in its value.
In light of the freedoms this document created and protected, it is nothing short of shocking to see that our government attempts to dictate to us that if we are to be legal citizens we must purchase something, like health insurance. This is blatantly unconstitutional, and isn't it ironic, we just happen to have a Commander-in-Chief who is also unconstitutional. Therein lies the lesson. When the leader of the Nation is himself unconstitutional, he is bound by nothing, and apparently neither is Congress. When the government is an unconstitutional government, they are not bound by the laws the Constitution created. We are bombarded with the unbelievable point of view that the Constitution is irrelevant to today, its details and words up for semantic disassembly. Therefore the government can do anything to us, and it is doing just that.
This is why the Constitution as it was written, matters. It is not some elastic stretchable collection of words that can be construed to mean anything the current power structure wants it to mean. It has specific meaning. It has specific details with specific requirements that cannot be semantically changed without degrading the validity of the whole.
This is the endgame. This is the result of watering down our history, and not teaching the ramifications, details, and specific meanings that make up its totality, its reality if you will. We are now at the mercy of an unconstrained, uncontrolled, unconstitutional Federal Government, and it shows.