Social and Political Commentary

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The Constitution

... and the changing times

by Jerry Norton

It is generally agreed that our Constitution is probably the finest document
ever set down by the hand of man for the governance of a free people.
Unfortunately our founding fathers could never have anticipated how changes in
both technology and demographics would impact it and render some of its
provisions obsolete and, in some cases, destructive. To support this premise a
few areas of concern are offered:

The Second Amendment providing for a militia and the right of citizens to
possess arms was necessary at the time, given the dangers of Indian uprisings
and a wild frontier. They could never have foreseen the misuse of today’s
concealed firearms with their deadly firepower, range and rapid fire
capability which make wholesale mayhem possible. We are now more threatened by
ourselves than by an oppressive government.

The Sixth Amendment, guaranteeing a speedy trial and swift justice for the
accused has been greatly abused by those who administer the law. I am not
suggesting (as did Shakespeare in one of his plays) that we kill all the
lawyers, but their legal ploys have delayed justice in not only criminal but
civil cases as well. Indeed, they have turned the courts into their own little
legal technicality play pens. They have succeeded in flouting the intentions
of this amendment by frivolous motions and continuances. And they do
proliferate, as evidenced by their expanding listings in the Yellow Pages of
the telephone directory.

And how could our eighteenth century forbears have foreseen the abuses of
immigration into our country. Modern transportation and a porous border have
given rise to millions who lie and cheat their way into our society. Sneaking
across our borders and overstaying visas are convenient avenues for miscreants
to gain access, reproduce and then use their offspring as their anchor to stay
here. Enough already of “the huddled masses yearning to be free”, most of whom
are illegal and so should be their children who are born here. An amendment to
the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution would correct this oversight.

I have written previously about the pernicious effect of professional career
politicians at all levels of our government, particularly at the Federal
level. The concept of five-hundred and thirty-five members of Congress
spending nearly their lifetimes legislating for the three-hundred million of
us is a rebuke to the democratic principle. We have created an oligarchy of
the few to preside over the destiny of the many. The Constitution has been
amended to limit our Presidents to two terms and a limitation on members of
the legislative branch is long overdue. So much of what ails our society today
are our own individual (and corporate) interests imposed on others by venal
politicians anxious for our vote.

I am reminded of that ancient Greek, Diogenes, who walked through the street
of Athens in broad daylight holding aloft a lighted lantern. When asked why,
he replied that he was looking for an honest man. Human nature has not changed
much over the millennia.

September 3, 2010

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