A more perfect union

The Second Amendment — probably one of the most sloppily written rights ever endowed to a people.

a more perfect union
From here: https://www.alumni.hbs.edu/stories/Pages/story-impact.aspx?num=7033

I came across an article modifying absolute adjectives. Think “more unique.”

“The general rule is that absolute adjectives can’t be modified. And yet … sometimes writers do it.”

“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union…” — The Preamble to the United States Constitution.

“To form a ‘more perfect Union’ is different from forming ‘a perfect Union.’ The accurate version implies that the People are attempting to get closer to perfect, not that they have created something perfect. It’s a subtle but important distinction.”

I thought about this as we suffered under the myth of Originalism from the current Supreme Court. If a right wasn’t enshrined by our very perfect founders in 1787 or 1791, it isn’t a “real” right?

You say you’ll change the constitution.

In The Boston Globe, Abdallah Fayyad noted that FDR argued “for what he called a second Bill of Rights — guarantees from the federal government for a base level of economic comfort for every American. Among those rights were health care, employment, housing, social security, freedom from monopolies, and more. Roosevelt did not go so far as to say that these rights required constitutional amendments; they had already become economic truths that the nation ‘accepted as self-evident’ as a result of the New Deal and therefore had to be guaranteed by the government if it sought to truly fulfill the political rights enshrined in the Constitution.”

FDR’s ideal was that we would become freer people. Instead, SCOTUS, in the last decade or so, has gone backward. The “logic” of Alito in overturning Roe is tortured. As I feared, post-Roe may be, in some substantial ways, worse than pre-Roe. At what precise point might the woman’s life be endangered, and will the courts agree with the doctor’s assessment?

A2

Fayyad continued: “Take a look at the Second Amendment — probably one of the most sloppily written rights ever endowed to a people. There are many people, including conservatives, who believe that the Second Amendment is unclear, but too few who speak seriously and earnestly about updating and clarifying it. As a result, the United States has the distinction of having the most heavily armed population in the world.” Kelly, too, noted how weird A2 is.

The Fifth Amendment is very important, even as djt mocked people who would embrace the right not to self-incriminate in the fall of 2016. I think it’s unfortunate that people assume the guilt of a person doing so. Still, I took some pleasure in reading that the case against djt may have become “immeasurably stronger” because he pled the 5th.

Understandably, confidence in SCOTUS has sunk to a historic low. I don’t know how to right the ship in the near term. Packing the court, which gets bounced around, is not going to happen because even people who would agree with the outcome would wince at the process.

Other than wringing our hands…

Ultimately, to create justice, we need to fight for it. Jon Meacham says, “The battle begins with political engagement itself.” Humanities Washington offers a “media project that explores the complexities of our democracy in order to help strengthen it.”

Adam Russell Taylor, president of Sojourners, wrote in his book, A More Perfect Union: A New Vision for Building the Beloved Community: “It is time to choose a path that acknowledges and repents for the ways we have failed to live up to America’s promise. It is time that we boldly pursue a shared vision of a future rooted in our most deeply held religious and civic values.

And “it is time to embark with even greater urgency on the task of building the Beloved Community, which will enable us to achieve a more perfect union and a radically more just nation.”

It won’t be easy. Happy day before Constitution Day.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

2 thoughts on “A more perfect union”

  1. The fact that the 2nd Amendment is so appallingly BAD on SO MANY LEVELS just exacerbates the degree to which our country refuses to get beyond its “Boys with toys” level of discourse regarding guns.

    I am honestly more and more convinced that our country’s “greatness” is owed to land theft, slavery, and geographical luck (i.e., tons of space and resources far enough away from Europe as to give us pretty much permanent independence once we decided we wanted it).

  2. The 2nd Amendment Absolutists seem to believe that what the 2A means is: “ANY one can SECRETLY have ANY kind of weapon they want, ANY time and ANY place, WITHOUT restriction.” It is a License for Individual Anarchy and supports their paranoid fantasies of engaging in HEROIC action, whether stopping a massacre at school or destroying, (cough) “saving” the United States. They ignore the possibility of collateral damage – there is MAGIC in gun ownership that turns the bearer into a focused, level-headed marksman – in in panicked crowd, in in rival gangs such as have reduced cities like Baghdad, Kabul, Damascus and Beirut into wastelands. They love Dupreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s “Heller v DC” Decision, finding that person + gun = “Militia,” but they pointedly ignore his appending caution that “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment right is not unlimited…. [It is] not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” These Absolutists ONLY care about THEIR personal Rights, not those of strangers, especially other’s Right to Live.

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