American Elephants

Happy Constitution Day! by The Elephant's Child

Today is Constitution Day, September 17, celebrating the ratification of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787.  If you are unfamiliar with the day of celebration, you may be forgiven, for it was only established in 2004, and to further confuse matters, if it occurs on a weekend it is celebrated in schools and government offices on the closest weekday, so they supposedly celebrated yesterday. Check with your child if you have one in school.

The law establishing the American federal observance was created with an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004, and mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions, and all federal agencies provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on September 17, 1787. It is also Citizenship Day, commemorating the coming of age or by naturalization, of those who have become citizens. (What? You’re not a citizen until you turn 18?)

Iowa schools started celebrating in 1911, and there’s a long history of attempts to make it a national celebration, which aren’t really important anyway. What is important is that a recent survey determined that most college students had no idea who James Madison was, or why he was important. And were astonished to learn that slavery was not practiced only in the United States. No idea of Muslim raids on the British Isles to capture British slaves, or of Muslim slave traders caravans up from ‘darkest Africa’, nor of  American Indian slaves. Schools across the country have become very lax in the teaching of American History. And our college students have no idea why the Constitution is a big deal. Oddly enough, the institution that makes the most of American history and the study of the Constitution is Hillsdale College, which receives no federal funding at all. Here is Dr. Larry  P. Arn, President of Hillsdale College explaining why they study the Constitution.

Happy Constitution Day! by American Elephant
September 17, 2014, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Conservatism, History, Pop Culture, Television | Tags: , , ,

I’ve known the Preamble of the Constitution by heart since I was a little kid because of Schoolhouse Rocks, which used to come on in between Saturday Morning Cartoons–so they had a captive audience. Great Way to introduce your kids to our founding document. Can you recite the Preamble by heart? If not, you probably didn’t grow up with Schoolhouse rocks. Try learning the chorus. And teach it to your kids.

223 Years Old, And Still Going Strong! by The Elephant's Child

For over a hundred years Progressives have been trying to persuade Americans that times have changed, and that browned and aged document we call the Constitution badly needs updating.  Our founding documents were all right back in the 1700s, but over 200 years later this is a different and modern world.  Why, they didn’t even have Blackberrys.

Shouldn’t the Constitution change and develop to fit our evolving society?  The Liberals really like the notion of a “living constitution.”

I find it fascinating that newly elected Congressmen, after long exhausting weeks on the campaign trail, come to Washington to be sworn in as new public servants — senators and representatives — raise their right hands and swear allegiance to the Constitution, then start figuring out ways to get around it or change it.

There is a major reason for that.  Ronald Reagan explained:

I had a copy of the Soviet Constitution, and I read it with great interest.  And I saw all kinds of terms in there that sound just exactly like our own: ‘freedom of assembly,’ and ‘freedom of speech’ and so forth.  Of course, they don’t allow them to have those things, but they’re in there in the constitution.

But I began to wonder about the other constitutions — everyone has one — and our own and why so much emphasis on ours.  And then I found out, and the answer was very simple.  That’s why you don’t notice it at first, but it is so great that it tells the entire difference.

All those other constitutions are documents that say that “We, the government, allow the people the following rights,’ and our Constitution says “We, the people allow the government the following privileges and rights.”

Today, Attorney Joseph W. Stuart in an essay on Constitution Day, writes about his own legal education and a course in the philosophy of law.  The essay is delightful and thought-provoking.

The only text we had for the course was the U.S. Constitution. It served Professor Weiss well as a means to help us inquire into legal and political philosophy, into rights and powers and liberties, and their limitations. For the first class, he read from the top of the text: “We, the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union . . .” Then, leaning forward on his cane, he asked, “Who are ‘we’?” We — meaning the small “we” of a handful of students and our teacher — spent the entire first session on that question, and the next several classes on the Preamble alone. We had good reason to do so, because it told us much: that the drafters of the document intended that it be an agreement by and from and among the people, and that it united them with their descendants, securing the justice and liberty just won.

The “living Constitution” is another one of those euphemisms I have been writing about.  Liberals don’t like the current Constitution and want to change it because it limits what they can do.  We, the people of the United States of America, have granted the government only these limited powers, and they don’t get to do whatever they want.  When they start telling us what kind of light bulbs we must use, what cars we must drive, what kind of health care we are allowed to have — they’re way out of line, abrogating power to themselves to which they are not entitled.

Our country was not predestined to prosper; it did so through choices made at its Founding and renewed every generation since; the choices of freedom over rule, property over collectivization, the liberty of the individual human spirit over the dictates of the enlightened few.  We should be thankful for the wisdom of our ancestors in creating this heritage, and mindful of our stewardship as we are called to carry forward this idea called America.    (James Robbins)

Sing Along! by American Elephant
September 17, 2010, 3:45 pm
Filed under: Conservatism, The Constitution | Tags: ,

Happy Constitution Day!

(thanks to Gay Patriot for the reminder.)

Andrew Klavan Explains the Constitution. by The Elephant's Child

People are noticing the extent to which the political class feels constrained and  — annoyed — by the Constitution.  And of course, there are those who have never bothered to read the Constitution, and have little idea what all the fuss is about.

In 2004, an amendment sponsored by Senator Robert Byrd attached to the Omnibus Spending Bill changed the name of a holiday known as “Citizenship Day” to Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.” The act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American constitution on that day.  In May of 2005, the United States Department of Education announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind.  (Federal employees don’t get any time off).  Universities and Colleges nationwide have created “U.S. Constitution and Citizenship Weeks” in order to meet the requirements of the law.

For all those who have never heard of it, the holiday falls on September 17, or on the nearest weekday if it falls on a weekend.

For those who doubt that Constitution Day or Constitution Week has had much influence on their children or the young people they know, Andrew Klavan explains just what the Constitution is all about.

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