17 August 2010

ignorance is bliss, isn't it?

  While I hear debates rage on among my friends and family about Amending the Constitution for this or that piece of social change, I am forced to reflect on the purpose of this great document.  My GLBT friends are in favor of an Amendment guaranteeing the right to marry to ALL United States Citizens.  My conservative friends are in favor of an Amendment banning the same.  Well, I sit in a different chair, being in favor of neither, as I believe the Constitution already states that the government shall not deprive any U.S. Citizen 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'

This fantastic document was created to LIMIT THE POWER OF GOVERNMENT.  Not to dictate what the people can and can not do.  Amending it to define marriage in any form is a violation of the most basic purpose of the Constitution.  Marriage has, and always should be, the territory of the States.  The United States government is accountable and answerable to the States, and ultimately,, the people.  Should a state decide that they wish to allow a person to marry a person of the same gender, the Federal Government is then accountable to the state to provide the couple all rights and benefits it would impart to any other married couple.  The recent court case in Massachusetts reinforces this by declaring parts of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.  In effect, it fights the conservatives using their own premise of States' Rights (which I, as a liberal, heartily subscribe to as well, BTW) being protected by the documents that created our Republic.

In addition, I always find it funny when people say we live in a Democracy.  Have they never recited the Pledge of Allegiance?  In schools across the United States, each morning, children recite the words "...and to the Republic..." while being told we live in a Democracy.  In a Democracy, the votes of the people are counted individually.   Had we been a true Democracy, Al Gore would have been the 43rd President of the United States, simply based on the Popular Vote.  In this Republican system we employ, we use an Electoral College to speak for each state, a system of delegates that has the power to override the voice of the people from time to time.  So many people I know live in a state of ignorant denial about our Nation.  So many more live in a state of stressed out awareness.  I wonder which is easier?

I certainly sometimes wish I did not have the burden of awareness that research and reading and education have placed squarely on my shoulders.  Then again, if I don't use my voice, if I ignore my responsibility as a Citizen to stand and speak out for what I believe...I would be guilty of the same kind of crime so many others commit every day.  A crime of complacency.  Had our Founding Fathers been content to settle for 'Taxation Without Representation,' we would be living in a British Colony.  Had President Lincoln been content to allow the Confederated States of America remain a separate Nation, I would have been born a Citizen of a different Country.  So, I guess when it comes down to it, ignorance is NOT bliss after all...

1 comment:

  1. Post Script-Al Gore was not the first (nor do I think will he be the last) man denied the Presidency by the Republican System of Government we employ in the United States. In 1824, John Quincy Adams became President despite losing the Popular Vote to Andrew Jackson. Samuel Tilden was elected in the 1876 Election by the Popular Vote, yet Rutherford B. Hayes became President instead. Again in 1888, the People elected Grover Cleveland President, and the Electoral College named Benjamin Harrison President.

    This kind of discrepancy did not occur again until George W. Bush became President, 112 years later...