Perhaps I was too harsh with the Republican US Senate primary candidates for Utah, Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater yesterday. You see, since Mike Lee states he is a “constitutional expert with deep Utah roots,” I took him at his word when he said, “The Federal government must be returned to the limited scope envisioned by the framers of the Constitution.” I was pretty sure he said the date of the document he was referring to was the one ratified in 1787 and thus before our “Bill of Rights,” which were added in 1791. Since both Mike and Tim are adamant about securing their 2nd amendment rights I now assume the “constitutional expert” had his date incorrect and was alluding to our 1791 Constitution.
We all make mistakes and what’s a few years anyway. I should have given him the benefit of the doubt and not made a point of his error. However, since the self-professed expert is such an authority, I have to take up some serious issues with his basic premiss of reverting back to America’s imperfect Constitution’s first couple of drafts. “Imperfect you say, how impertinent and unpatriotic.” Mike and Tim would argue. Perhaps the underfunded public schools they attended failed Mike and Tim, because there have been some pretty important Amendments to our Constitution beyond the first ten “Bill of Rights.”
I do not have time to cover all the 17 added Amendments Mike, and perhaps Tim, seem to think are not all that important so I’ll cover a few of the major ones, I think are important. Let us start with Amendment 13 which abolished slavery.
I suppose since Mike and Tim are state’s rights folks and patently anti immigrant (primarily from the south), they might be in favor of keeping slavery an option if they had their way. Theoretically they could solve at least two problems at once; creating wealth and eliminating the illegal immigrants. Just as in the south before the civil war, the exploitation of other human beings created wealth. Mike could make slaves of all the illegal immigrants and exploit them too. Oh, I guess to some extent this has already happened in many areas, so perhaps my point is moot.
Another really important one, in my opinion, is Amendment 15 which allowed all “races,” the right to vote. Since the demographics of this country are changing dramatically and Caucasians will soon be in the minority, Mike and Tim may want to reconsider eliminating this one too. Of course given the circles they run in I bet they would be in favor of keeping it out of their perfect document for as long as they could.
In many respects the 18th amendment, abolishing liquor, is still in effect in Utah. However as in the above paragraph the two may want to review this one because religions, other than The Church of Latter Day Saints, allow moderate and responsible drinking and in fact make it a part of their sacrament. In addition, since Utah is so heavily dependent on tourist dollars, and many of them like to drink, prohibition would not make sense economically.
Since women are in some sense second class citizens in the state of Utah as in other states dominated by patriarchal religions, I’m sure many men would love to rescind the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. As according to Utah’s dominant religion’s doctrine they have difficulty getting into heaven on their own accord, so why would women want to vote anyway? Besides if they could they would probably pick a sane woman like Claudia Wright, Democratic candidate for the US House of Representatives in the 2nd congressional district of Utah.
I’ll conclude with one from my youth, “Old enough to die, old enough to vote.” Amendment 26 set the voting age to 18 since young men were being drafted and sent to our very own hell hole in the 60’s and early 70’s: Vietnam. College, Canada or money kept you out of the military draft. However since young people are generally more liberal than their elders the conservatives did not want them voting. Unfortunately, the youth of today generally do not vote anyway and they volunteer to serve and perhaps die for their country willingly. Just today in my daily DoD email I learned that two more American soldiers just died in the service of our country, one marine and one army.
So if you are in favor of slavery, bigotry, teetotalers, or are anti feminist and do not mind dying without voting then, yes, our second draft is the Constitution for you. For me and millions of others, the Constitution is a living and breathing document guiding an experiment that is far from over. Our forefathers were wise and thoughtful but they could not predict the future and did not foresee all the problems facing future generations. It took over 223 years to improve on their brilliant framework and it required 27 more amendments. Amendments that Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater and others obviously do not think are important.
Instead of moving backwards, as Mike, Tim, Morgan Philpot and the Tea Party would like, we must move forward as a country to address the challenges of today as well as tomorrow. But to do so we must think and act rationally with compassion for those who have been marginalized within our society.
I didn’t like many of the things, soon to be retired Utah Republican Senator Robert Bennett stood for, but at least he was sane. What a great mistake the once great Utah Republican party has made in advancing these two candidates. Sam Granato, the Democratic US Senatorial candidate for Utah is looking better and better everyday.