Some Americans (White Ones) Think They’re The “Most Equal” Americans Of All

The white, Christian, land-owning authors of America’s Constitution set us up for failure the moment they penned “All men are created equal” without actually meaning “all men”. They screwed the pooch just as badly (if not worse) by meaning JUST men. So, the fix was in from the start.

America was doomed because while aspiring to government of the people, by the people and for the people, we settled for a government of, by and for only some of the people. Let’s be kind and call it a rookie mistake. The men who wrote up our founding documents had never founded a country before. They were forward-thinking but only up to a point. Still, some did grasp America’s true potential – as when James Madison insisted we put “E Pluribus Unum” on our Great Seal. “Out of many, one” is precisely what makes America exceptional! That’s the thing that had never happened before in the whole history of humans. We created a new country borne of all the old ones, that aspired to give every citizen an equal shot at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Originalism (conservatism’s wettest wet dream) asserts that whatever those wealthy, white, Christian, land-owning men wrote down? That’s it. That’s the country America must always and can only ever be. Yeah, sure – the Constitution’s framers built in an amendment process (and even tossed in the first ten amendments, calling them “The Bill of Rights”) – but they didn’t foresee how “crazy” some of those amendments would be (like giving the vote to women and Black people). In the Originalist’s mind, America is a long-dead butterfly trapped in amber. Problem is, it isn’t a butterfly; it’s a moth aspiring to butterfly-hood. Nonetheless, originalists want that low-achieving moth revived and celebrated.

Want to stymie any conservative? Ask them directly: “what exactly is it that you want to conserve?” They’ll “hummina-hummina” about freedom and liberty and rugged individualism and how socialism is evil because even they can’t articulate what they want. But, it’s this: conservatives want to conserve the past – or as much of the past that’s still left in the present. Conservatives resist change. Many outright detest change. They want the world to remain as it is right now. If they could have made that happen yesterday – or the day (or century) before? They absolutely would have. American conservatives idealize an America that’s majority white and understands that their whiteness is what binds them together. Diversity – AKA “E Pluribus Unum” – terrifies them because all those “Pluribus” believe they’re equal to white people, a thing a full one third of America cannot tolerate.

In their defense, the white people now insisting on the Big Lie have all lived in the shadow of another “big lie” – the one where America t said “All men are created equal” while knowingly not meaning it. That “big lie” hung over America like a secret we were keeping from ourselves. Slavery, first and foremost, is stolen labor. The slave master gets the slave’s work product for nothing (minus the cost of feeding, clothing and housing the slave). Stolen labor was the basis for almost the entire Confederate economy. If the cotton, tobacco and sugar cane businesses had all had to pay fair wages for the labor they needed to get their product from field to factory? For one thing, there never would have been an American Civil War.

Alas, things didn’t go down that way. Instead, white people dug in their heels. They resisted sharing power with Black people by repeatedly either denying them the vote outright or by making it almost impossible to vote. Denying citizens the right to vote in a democracy is how you destroy the democracy. That assumes, of course, that you want to preserve our democracy.

The simple fact is, the GOP doesn’t want to preserve our democracy because democracy’s just not working out for them. Wanna win in “the marketplace of ideas”? Start by having a few ideas other than “let’s go live in the past”. But then, the past is where conservatives and white people (apparently) lived their best lives ever. Probably because, back then, they were all created equal while the rest of us weren’t.

The Bill Of Rights Says Originalism Is BS

The US Constitution — as originally written and ratified — did NOT include freedom of speech or the press or religion or assembly or any of the other specific rights enumerated in the Bill Of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Did you catch that word — “amendments”? The Constitution’s framers built the framework with various means to alter and improve the Constitution because they knew at the start (they argued about it relentlessly!) that the work of crafting it was not nearly finished and might never be. The Constitution’s framers knew as they were framing it that the Constitution would always be a work in progress.

Originalism has two fatal flaws (at least).

The first is the ludicrous (and, frankly, offensive) notion that we have to understand laws only as they were understood by the men who wrote them regardless of the fact that the circumstances under which they lived (and under which they wrote the law) and the circumstances under which WE live are totally different. Originalism compounds the ludicrousness by pretending it can creep inside the minds of the framers where, originalism assures us, they wanted this document to be followed to the letter no matter what.

The very existence of the Bill Of Rights trashes that idea completely. James Madison, future 4th POTUS but, at the founding a member of the brand new House of Representatives, put the Bill Of Rights before the brand new American Congress on June 8, 1789. Having seen the original document’s flaws and deficiencies, Madison stressed “…that the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their Government, whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution.”

Even the original originalists didn’t go along with originalism.

Second fatal flaw — arguing that we’re bound to a document written by white, Christian, land-owning men who thought only white, Christian, land-owning men had rights is such a white, Christian, land-owning man thing to argue. The rules were set in stone by rule makers who wrote the rules strictly for their benefit. To go along with that kind of thinking would make everyone not white, Christian, land-owning and male a member of a permanent under-class — without many rights to “speak of”. Well, screw that!

Originalists pick n choose the Constitution the way they pick n choose which Biblical passages to follow.

Perhaps the biggest, most important, most far-reaching decision originalist di tutti originalists Antonin Scalia ever wrote was “Bush v Gore”, the SCOTUS decision that stopped the recount in Florida and literally HANDED the 2000 election to George W. Bush regardless of the fact that Democratic votes in Florida remained uncounted and — most importantly — Bush had lost the popular vote by a ton. Antonin Scalia took a huge, steaming dump on James Madison’s idea that a Government “inadequate to the purposes of its institution” had rights greater than the Peoples’.

In handing the election to Bush, Scalia noted that he was stepping outside the boundaries of originalism — just this once but that we weren’t going to be allowed EVER to step outside those boundaries ever again. Only originalist Scalia could set originalism aside — so as to protect originalism’s tender illusion of relevance. Horse. Shit.

No — worse than horse shit. Bullshit.