Requiem for the Constitution

Ira Lacher comments on today’s proceedings in the U.S. Senate. -promoted by Laura Belin

Hello. I’m the Constitution. And if you’re reading this, I’m dead.

Oh, you may see me around, from time to time. Someone or other will always wave a copy of me around, pointing to me as the glue that’s the foundation of America. Abraham Lincoln said of me, “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” Then, there was this from Rush Limbaugh: “We are hated because we are free. We are hated because of the idea that is the United States of America. We are hated because of our Constitution.”

Yeah, but my organs have shut down. By breaths have ceased. I have flat-lined. And so, I’m dead. Here are a few examples why.

Donald Trump, the president of the United States, told ABC News: “Article 2 [of the Constitution] allows me to do whatever I want.”

Now, I have seven articles, and I know them all like I know the back of my own parchment. Article II says, in Section 2, that the president is commander-in-chief of the army and navy; he can pardon people; make treaties, with two thirds of the Senate; and appoint ambassadors, judges and other officers. Article II doesn’t say the president can do anything he wants. I know, because America’s founders didn’t put that in me. If they wanted to say the president could do anything he wanted to, they wouldn’t have designated a president — they would have designated a king.

I guess we have one now. But that’s not the only reason I’m dead.

I called for a system of checks and balances, so none of the three branches can become too powerful. But when parties have total locks on houses of Congress, nominees have to take party litmus tests to be approved for the Supreme Court, and one senator can stop a president from appointing a justice to the bench, well, that system has shut down.

Then, there’s this matter of impeachment.

According to my words, the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court presides over the Senate trial after articles of impeachment are brought by the House of Representatives. Now, I also say that the Chief Justice is supposed to administer an oath of affirmation to Senators. In this case, Chief Justice John Roberts administered this oath: “[I]n all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.”

But a number of senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, announced weeks before the trial that they weren’t impartial. “I’m not an impartial juror,” he flatly told reporters. And while Democrats have been more discreet, I’m sure there are a number of them who wouldn’t let the facts interfere with their made-up minds.

And still that’s not the only reason I’m dead.

Article II — yes, that Article II — says the person who receives the largest number of votes in the Electoral College is elected president. And Amendment XXII, ratified in 1951, after Franklin Roosevelt served all of three and part of a fourth term, limits the president to two terms. But Trump has said repeatedly that he might not accept the result of the 2020 election if he loses. He says he’s joking. But when someone has made more than 15,000 false public statements in three years, how can anybody know?

So I’m dead.

Don’t weep for me. I’ve lived a good life — 232 years! — have had many friends, and served as a model for countries around the world. What more could a document ask for?

All I ask is this: Don’t bury me. Teach children in schools about me. Let them know that documents, like me, aren’t worth the parchment they’re printed on if they’re not taken seriously. And maybe, just maybe, someone will have an idea to look back on my words, make them stronger, and back them up with real determination.

Farewell.

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