FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Salon addresses the right issue, but reaches the wrong conclusion
I was up at 8 a.m. this morning (a fact I will address with my two year old later), and saw people on Twitter discussing something about a “New Constitution.” My search led me to Donna Brazile tweeting out a link from Salon entitled “We need a new constitution: Here’s how we save American democracy from charlatans, loudmouths and the 1 percent.” As an aside, while I was on her page, I noticed she also retweeted something by known Twitter troll and genuinely awful sharer of thoughts, LOLGOP, and account whose profile picture is of an elephant performing a sexual act on itself.
All that aside, I found it interesting that the beginning of the Salon piece is actually not wholly incorrect. People are tired of Congress and tired of the same old politics-as-usual shenanigans that go on in Washington D.C. We here at RedState have expressed similar issues and have often come under criticism for speaking out (loudly, I might add) against our own party at times. Where the Salon piece goes off the rails, however (aside from the “Tea Party obstructionists” comment in the third paragraph, which is to be expected when Salon writes about politics), is with the idea that we need a new Constitution to make things better.
The Constitution worked exceedingly well for a couple hundred years before now. It didn’t change. It didn’t become worse. Instead, what happened was the people in charge of upholding and maintaining the Constitution became drunk with power and craved to keep it, rather than protect the document that allows them to hold the jobs they have. Such is the nature of granting power to anyone. Even in anarchy, someone is in charge, and in anarchy, there is unbridled chaos. In a nation upheld by a Constitution, but run by people bought and paid for rather than outright elected, the chaos is more controlled. Our system is being corrupted.
The idea that we need a new Constitution is not a new idea. Democrats have been trying to dismantle it piece-by-piece (or, at the very least, trying to get new and unrelated definitions of the “freedoms” the document provides us) for a very long time. However, it is an incorrect instinct based on the idea that it is the document that has failed us and that we need a newer, more restrictive document that doesn’t tell us what the government can’t do – it should tell us what the government can do.
Of the entire Salon piece, this is a line that is perhaps the best summary of the level of historical understanding within the liberal movement:
Nothing was so fundamental to the Revolutionary generation as character
If we are being historically honest, it should be
Nothing was so fundamental to the Revolutionary generation as the idea of freedom
because of the fact that that’s what the entire damn thing was about. Yes, men of good character were necessary for the Revolution to happen, and men of strong intellect and moral guidance were necessary for the construction of our fledgling nation, but the overall idea that people are the biggest part of what made us as a nation what we are is exactly what makes the Progressive Left’s arguments on government so laughable. “If we could just have the right leaders running the show, everything would be fine.” That’s what they think, whether it’s the U.S. or whether it was Soviet Russia or any communist nation in South America.
Salon is right to say that the system is broken, but it has reached the wrong conclusion. The system is not broken because it is a bad system. The system is broken because we have allowed leaders to break it while wielding unchecked power. It is time for us not to write a new Constitution, but find the right representatives to maintain and protect the system that was put in place and worked quite well until now.
We don’t need “leaders.” We need people who truly represent us, and that’s not a partisan statement. Both sides of the aisle feel powerless to stop what is happening, but we blame the other side without looking often enough at our own. The idea that power corrupts, and that power has corrupted the politicians, lobbyists, and elite of Washington D.C., is something we all know to be true. And we have to address the people who have succumbed to that power, not the document that gives us the ability to get rid of them.