I would like to propose a new constitutional amendment.
Simply put, my amendment would state that all “Constitutional Originalists” be required to live for one month out of the year as if it was 1788. That means no cars, no modern medicine, no fast food (this would literally starve about three-quarters of them), no Internet, no Internet porn (this would literally make me want to end my life), no TV, no radio, no electricity, and no indoor plumbing. Basically, nothing that remotely resembles 2016.
Why? Because they’re the assholes who want us to live like it’s still 1788.
Check out this meme posted by super-duper-famous college student/conservative deep thinker Will Ricciardella, who is a proud “admin” at Unbiased America, the most tragically unaware and ironically named Facebook page ever. Ricciardella is a favorite source of right-wing clap-trap for me. Because he, like so many conservatives, is so quick to boldly label all progressive thought as anti-Constitutional and he’s got a real Limbaugh-like hubris that’s fun to mock incessantly.
The meme’s quote from Robert Bork perfectly exemplifies everything I find cringe-worthy and terribly hilarious about Ricciardella and people like him.
For starters, he quotes Bork because conservatives see him as some kind of martyr — a really well-qualified candidate that was railroaded by vicious Democrats in the Senate. Ricciardella, like so many conservatives, just can’t fathom why someone would look at Bork’s ideas of how America should work and find him unworthy of the bench. Bork, for instance, didn’t feel anti-discrimination laws were necessary and he was staunchly opposed to abortion in every single instance, even rape and incest.
Bork was a right-wing hardcore ideologue and he wasn’t confirmed by the Senate not just because Democrats didn’t vote for him, but a handful of Republicans didn’t either. Putting aside how laughable it is that conservatives love to still defend Bork, let’s get to the nuts and bolts of the quote — the assertion that we should stick only to what the founders had in mind at the time of the writing of the Constitution, and not deviate from that course at all.
What an utter load of horse shit that is.
The men who wrote, signed, and ultimately ratified the Constitution weren’t perfect men. Many were slave holders. Many were virulently misogynistic — hence why women couldn’t vote until almost 50 years after slavery was abolished. So, why exactly should we value their views and opinions over our own? I’d be willing to bet thanks to modern education that even some of the dumbest among us are actually “smarter” and “wiser” than the Founders were. Like say, how many people today would presume that blood letting would cure a sickness? Because the Founders? A lot of them did just that.
Ricciardella is suggesting that we should move our society backwards by a couple centuries. Why? Because he’s been indoctrinated to believe that all that has failed him in life is due to liberal policies. And liberals are the ones who dared to look at the Constitution not as some holy text, but as a legal document that was expressly designed to not be a rigid, dogmatic decree of how life would now and forever be, but instead is a framework upon which we pivot and turn to help steer our country in the way that makes sense for our generation.
I love this quote from Thomas Jefferson, a man who was flawed as fuck but still had the right idea on a lot of issues.
“I am increasingly persuaded that the earth belongs exclusively to the living and that one generation has no more right to bind another to it’s laws and judgments than one independent nation has the right to command another.” (source)
Conservatives like Ricciardella want you to believe that they hold the only true knowledge of what the founders envisioned for us. But you know what? This quote shows us that at least one, and I’d suspect many, weren’t so arrogant to believe that they could or even should pull the puppet strings from beyond the grave. It’s just beyond logical to me why anyone would insist that the only way to make our country better is to dismantle everything that has actually made it better.
Here now is just a small list of the things that have been “fixed” in the Constitution since its ratification in 1788.
- Black people are actual people and not owned objects like furniture now
- People of color can vote
- People who don’t own land can vote
- Women can not only vote, but can actually decide when to reproduce
- Two adults can get married now, no matter what genitalia they share or don’t share
What really cracks me up is that people like Ricciardella want us to believe that going back to a time when people lived to the ripe old age of 40, owed their entire existence to a “company store,” had none of the things listed above, and largely had no say in how their government functioned…is a step forward. It’s genuinely hilarious to me to see him whine about the downfall of the Republic from his apartment while he’s never once set foot into the real world to see how the evil liberal policies he’s decried have helped not only people around him, but his own life.
What exactly do Constitutional Originalists think is going to happen if they repeal the 20th and 21st centuries? It will be pandemonium. We haven’t had a society set up the way they want since the late 1800’s for a reason. They’re so far up their own asses they don’t even realize they themselves wouldn’t function in their idealized cream dream.
So, no thanks, Constitutional Originalists.
I like modernity. I’m stoked as fuck I don’t have to hunt and kill my own protein. Internet Porn is amazing. And you know what else is rad? Living in a society that may not start out on the right side of history, but always, always hews to it once we get enough votes to drown out the shrill barking of people like Will Ricciardella and the Facebook pages he helps run.