Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Strict Construction Zone

Steve Benen wrote this past weekend about the Tea Party and the conservatives obsession with repealing certain amendments to the Constitution. They have targeted the 14th, the one that states that any person born or naturalized in the United States is a citizen and also reinforces the 5th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law; the 16th Amendment, which established the federal income tax; and they have also rather bizarrely gone after the 17th Amendment which provides for the direct election of senators as opposed to appointment by the state legislatures. (I’m waiting for an explanation how that one is an impediment to freedom.) It’s ironic that a group that claims to be for the rule of law has no trouble advocating meddling with it.

Steve also pointed out that the conservatives have no trouble proposing new amendments to the Constitution.

Indeed, by the mid-point of his presidency, George W. Bush was on record supporting at least six different proposed amendments to the Constitution: (1) prohibiting flag burning; (2) victims’ rights; (3) banning abortion; (4) requiring a balanced budget; (5) prohibiting same-sex marriage; and (6) allowing state-endorsed prayer in public schools.

Do you see a pattern in those proposed amendments? Three of the six would directly curtail the rights of American citizens, while the other three would tip the scale in favor of one group over another. Or, putting it another way, they would limit the rights of other people.

For a group of people that claims they love freedom and advocate for less government, they certainly do have a problem with people exercising rights and expressing views that they don’t like.