Maybe I can’t tell you how to build a great, strong society, but I can tell you how to destroy one. Just figure out the building blocks that made that society great and vaporize them with the blowtorch of ridicule.
Families? Dismiss them as boring, vacuous, terminally square, and glamorize 14 alternative lifestyles. Strong work ethic? What kind of a sucker are you? Haven’t you got the brains to understand entitlements? Good character? Don’t make me laugh; look at TV and the tabloids and get a load of the behavior of the people everybody really admires. Patriotism? You idiots; we’re the replacement Nazis. Religion? Oh, please!; if you can’t control your superstitions at least learn to keep them to yourselves. And so on.
Do you remember when the Bible actually seemed to radiate positive pulsations up there on the shelf of honor and prominence? And have you noted how few people today even bother to write the word with a capital “B”? The next target – and don’t call me a tactical genius for knowing this; the attack has already begun – is the U. S. Constitution. And those out to flood the lowlands know that once you pooh-pooh the Constitution into impotence you’ve removed the centerpiece of the entire dam.
The joke may not be hilarious, but it’s apt and useful. The new recruit to a super-strict Buddhist order, after he completes a whole year of silence, is permitted to climb to the mountaintop where the guru resides. The guru then gives him this bit of wisdom: “Life is like a well.” After another year of silence he again climbs the hill, and this time it’s his turn to speak. He asks the guru, “Why is life like a well?” After another whole silent year, there he is again, ready to listen to the guru, who says, “You know; you may have a point. Maybe life isn’t like a well!”
For years I’ve heard intelligent Americans proclaim, “You know, the Constitution is really a remarkable document!” “What a remarkable document!” “Wow! Our Constitution is such a remarkable document!” And for years I clucked along in zombified agreement. One day I quit. “Wait a minute!” I thought. “Our Constitution is not a remarkable document!”
Have you ever read the Soviet Communist constitution? Now that’s a remarkable document; a masterpiece of political architecture embracing every imaginable freedom, protection, guarantee. If you’re sentimental, you’ll need Kleenex to wipe away the tears from the edges of your eyes. The Soviet constitution makes ours look like a loan-shark agreement – until you try to invoke any part of it in your behalf or defense! A cobweb is as good as a cable when there’s no strain upon it. Not one single person the Communist Party disliked was ever protected by the Soviet constitution.
England, on the other hand, doesn’t even have a written constitution, and British democracy is neck-and-neck with America’s, and now and then half-a-hair ahead. During World War II an Italian in London, an enemy alien, mind you, felt the British government was unfairly depriving him of property. While Nazi bombs were falling on London, the British court, all a-bristle with barristers and their powdered wigs, upheld the enemy alien!
My point is, our American Constitution is not a remarkable document. We, the American population, are a remarkable people. Without our “way,” our national manner, our habit, our instinct, our inclination toward justice; without our hardened history of meaning it, our Constitution would not afford any of us any more protection than the Communist one.
Understand the enemy’s target correctly. It’s not the “Constitution.” It’s the reverence and respect for our Constitution that’s under attack. Big time. Right now. Press reports tell us that Illinois Democratic Rep. Phil Hare tossed aside all concerns about the health law’s constitutionality with an attitude slightly damper than couldn’t-care-less. He reportedly couldn’t cite which part of the Constitution justifies that law and, when challenged to pinpoint the legal authority for that legislation, replied, “How about ‘Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’?” When reminded that those ringing words issue forth not from the Constitution, but from the Declaration of Independence, the congressman reportedly replied, “Doesn’t matter to me. Either one!”
Bad. Wrong. Danger. When a high elected official scorns the very notion of the Constitution, it sets up a disruption-force similar to what I remember in the Bible Belt when the preacher was discovered in the bramble berry bushes behind the rectory with the wife of one of the sextons.
The Constitution is not what’s remarkable. We the people are what’s remarkable. But if we surrender our reverence and respect for the Constitution, we thereby announce our intention to abandon our unique history and fade away into the crowd of ordinary, interchangeable nations. Can you think of a better quote than Thomas Jefferson’s?; namely, “Let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
Let the Constitution become no more than an antiquated document of no more than mild historical interest and we’re done. We’re no longer remarkable.
We’re then about as remarkable as a people that considers patriotism the new pornography and hard-core pornography as the new “freedom of expression.”