WASHINGTON -- It is that time of year when we depart for summer vacation. We head for the woods and mountains. Unless we planned to visit the Gulf, we head for the beach. Oh, what the hell. Even if we planned to visit the Gulf, let us head for the beaches. All the beaches I have seen there look pretty clean. So let us hit the beaches there, too. It is cheap! America is a vast continental country, so we have various locales to infest during summertime vacation. I prefer the beach, but maybe you prefer the mountains or even wander off to one of our great cities to tour. Barack Obama headed off to Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine for a few days. Good for him. Unfortunately, he came back.
Yet what are we going to bring with us on vacation? Lotions, picnic baskets, toys for the kids, high-tech and otherwise? If you are like me, you will want to bring a book. I am always surprised when debate begins among Americans about the educations of our young. Only a minority of American adults read, so why are we surprised that the young falter in school? Few Americans stress reading, and reading is essential for success in school. But you knew that or you would not be reading this column. What books will make up your list? Let me suggest a few for you.
Pre-eminently, I suggest "The Citizen's Constitution: An Annotated Guide," by Seth Lipsky, the founding editor of The New York Sun. Seth is a legendary newspaperman, but he is something more, a first-class writer and a student of the Constitution. As he says, "the country is in a constitutional moment." Limited government is the bedrock of our way of life. "With the Congress and the White House expanding government's grasp, we have only the Constitution to protect us." The Arizona immigration law, health care issues, gun control, gay marriage -- "all," Lipsky says, "are coming down to the Constitution." Lipsky has written a very readable explication of it, and it comes down on the side of the tea partyers, as the Founding Fathers would expect.