The Constitution is Still in One Piece
In an era where only the hottest takes survive, I am here to offer up a sizzling fajita platter of a take that will restore your (probably meager) faith in me as a person who randomly posts things to read on the internet. This take will hopefully be short and sweet, an amuse bouche to ease us all back into this literary space I inhabit. As one lowers their body incrementally into a hot bath so as not to scald, so too will I be gentle in re-immersing you into the Jacuzzi that is my world of takes. Without further ado…
The United States is not facing a Constitutional crisis.
But, but…how could you say such a thing?? You’re from Seattle! You went to a liberal arts college! You like IPAs and even kombucha, for goodness sake.
I know, you’re right. Guilty as charged, on all fronts. But here is the thing: The Constitution is better than it gets credit for in America. I say this with great confidence, for a number of reasons, but largely due to what polls tell us that most Americans know of the Constitution. Fundamentally, I find it hard to believe folks who say that a document they know strikingly little about is in crisis. The Constitution has lasted as long as it has for a reason. I tend to believe that reason is the ingenuity in its design, the foresight embedded. Perhaps you disagree, but what is your reasoning? This leads me to my second issue.
Now, obviously it is not just folks who know next to nothing about the Constitution who are lamenting its desecration; folks who know a great deal are also up in arms. I quibble with them as well. First, I don’t find the arguments on our looming Constitutional crises to be especially articulate. What is it exactly that is being torn asunder? The Constitution covers a lot of ground, and I think it’s a bit disingenuous to say that the bedrock of our governmental system is in crisis without specifically articulating which part is crumbling, and what is causing it to crumble. Donald Trump being President is not that. The President firing the director of the FBI is not that. These are issues that folks have with the way the government is being operated by those that hold their Constitutionally-granted offices. What I think is being meant by all this hubbub is that what is being done is illegal. Which is a different point entirely. Semantics, you might say, but I think semantics matter a great deal in this arena.
I just finished reading a biography on Abraham Lincoln. If you want to have a discussion on Constitutional crises, look no further. His entire Presidency was littered with questions of Constitutionality, proffered by all sides of the conflict. What is happening now is neither the nadir in American politics, nor the downfall of the Constitution.
What we are dealing with is a lot of things, and I don’t want to convey that I think that the current goings-on aren’t troubling or important to evaluate. But they are not a Constitutional crisis. I could go on forever about this, but it’s incredibly nerdy and rather esoteric, so instead I will leave it at this simple take. I would love to discuss it at greater length with anyone who thinks the take is wrong, or who wants to know how I came to it.