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Political Column: In the Constitution We Trust…Maybe

Daniel Caccavale

The Constitution of the United States of America is the basis for all of our laws. It describes certain rights and freedoms that every citizen is entitled to and it establishes some very crucial and irrevocable laws that no one is allowed to break. It sets up our three branches of government. It is also so brilliantly written that it allows current day courts to use it as a basis for all of its decisions, even though it was written over two hundred years ago.  Here is the problem though, of course it is not exactly a new document and it hasn’t quiet caught up to current times yet. It leaves almost too much room for interpretation.

For example, the First Amendment guarantees freedom of press, which was fine back in the late 1700s when newspapers and pamphlets were the only kinds of press that existed. Now we have dozens of kinds of media, including bloggers. The debate whether a blog constitutes a protected form of press is yet to be resolved and a solution doesn’t seem imminent in the near future. Why is it a bit more complicated? It could be because the majority of Congress is made up of representatives who are a bit out of touch with current trends and technologies and who don’t really know what to do or they are too busy arguing to get anything accomplished. It also doesn’t include newer ideas that are debated, like marriage rights, abortion laws, health care, or capital punishment.  But our Constitution has many other issues that need to be addressed.

The wording of our Constitution matches the time period it was written in. That is fine for those who wrote it then, but now it leaves a lot to the mind of the reader. For example, the Second Amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Is anyone else really confused as to what exactly that says? It could be saying a few things, the first is that a militia within the state can have their own weapons, or that everyone in the state can have their own weapons. It’s one of those things that may never be figured out, especially when the people that would know the answer have been dead for around two hundred years.

So what do we do? Our oldest and possibly most important document is outdated and tough to interpret. To get new amendments added to the Constitution is almost impossible. The law would not only have to be voted and agreed on by a two-thirds vote in Congress, but then three quarters of the states would have to agree that it is a good idea. As we all know, each state has its own population in which each person has their own points of view and its own ideas. Trying to edit and add to the Constitution to update it is just not practical and would probably take decades to accomplish. Perhaps, if Congress could just pass a series of laws that would make some of the questions a bit more clear it would be possible, but even that could take years since they are too busy arguing for party rights and who has seniority over who.

Honestly, the first step is purely about raising awareness. Nothing can get accomplished if no one knows about the issue. So take the initiative and start to raise the awareness. Write a letter to your local representatives, to your senators, and let them know that you want to see changed, that you want them to do their jobs and make our world a better place.

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