Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I pledge allegiance - Part Two

This thread remains active in the LTE blog at the Greensboro News Record. I posted a couple of more times. It was actually an interesting and mostly thoughtful debate, surprising considering some of the flame wars I've seen over there.

They call it a blog, but it functions more as a forum with a cadre of regs and the occasional interloper such as myself. I don't post often, but I lurk more often than I really have time for, as I've become fascinated by this Greensboro Experiment. These are my neighbors in a manner of speaking, the people who live in my greater world.

In any event, the discussion evolved to the constitution as an instrument of law. For those who don't want to wade through to what was the 107th post when I put in my last word, here's the money graph.

As to the Constitution, I think it is, as it should be, a living document and the Ninth Amendment is why.
Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Think about it. You got this bunch of rich white guys, they're pretty smart, they had just fought a long war for independence and they wanted to write a constitution. This was a major political experiment. They had no idea if it would work and they were trying to write a set of rules that would last hundreds of years.

No way they could possibly think of everything, hence this amendment. What it says is - hey we got the big stuff but we didn't write down every single one.

It's not the 1700s anymore. The law must evolve with the society it serves. The founders recognized that by including this language that left our rights open-ended.

You want to know where in the Constitution it says we have the right to burn flags - read that Amendment again. The heart of it is right there and the interpretation of its meaning rests in a body of law that is now centuries old.

The constitution is the symbolic baby born from a birth of a nation. Our Founding Fathers meant it to grow, not to be graven in stone.
It's funny. Posting that left me feeling like I had finally celebrated Independence Day.
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