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In Contempt: Progressives and the Constitution

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Progressives hold the U.S. Constitution in the highest regard. That’s not a line you hear often outside of a parody or a conversation with someone who has recently suffered a closed-head injury, but it’s true. Progressives hold the parts of the Constitution they like in high regard but only when applied to other progressives. The rest, particularly the parts they like to use against conservatives, are held in contempt.

I got to thinking about this after reading a piece in The New York Times entitled, “’We the People’ Loses Appeal With People Around the World,” which made the case fewer and fewer nations around the world look to our Constitution as a model for their own.

Frankly, this reminds me of the famous line of parents everywhere: “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” And the answer for the Times and for many progressives seems to be “yes.” Not literally – I conjured the same thought.

Why has our Constitution fallen out of favor with the rest of the world? Aside from the fact progressives in this country tell the world it’s a horrible document, steeped in racism and inequality, the Times suggests, “The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights.”

What the Times ignores, what all progressives ignore, but what a 5-year-old could understand from reading it, is our Constitution doesn’t grant or “guarantee” us rights. It prevents, or attempts to prevent, the government from infringing upon rights with which we were born.

The First Amendment doesn’t grant or guarantee the right to free speech or freedom of religion. It says the government can’t infringe upon it. That’s what the “Congress shall make no law” bit is all about.

This confuses the people at the Times. “The commitment of some members of the Supreme Court to interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning in the 18th century may send the signal that it is of little current use to, say, a new African nation,” the piece says.

Only progressives could even think such a muddled thought. But then, only progressives could hear we have a record number of people on food stamps, then hear the phrase “food stamp president” and think “racism.” That’s because only progressives could hear that phrase and think, “black people.”

Only progressives could read, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” and think somehow “the people” means only the “well-regulated militia” mentioned earlier in the Second Amendment. This odd construction, of course, gives them license to infringe on this right as much as they see fit.

In reality, they know exactly what they’re doing. They know they can’t completely ignore the Constitution, so they chip away at the edges. Once one part is chipped off it’s easier to chip away others.

This week, the president wasn’t chipping … he was trying to take a jackhammer to the First Amendment. When he ordered Catholic organizations to provide birth control, sterilization and the morning-after pill to all their employees, free of charge, against church dogma, there was outrage. That outrage was justifiable.

Progressives cheered the order as a triumph for women, as if the free birth control pills given out at clinics across the country, the low price of condoms and the in-expense of simply not having sex were not option enough for people. No, the government had to go further. Without any sense of hypocrisy, the “keep-your- religion-out-of-our-politics” crowd lauded the insertion of government into religion.

But the destruction of religion by government was not the goal of this move; that will come later. This was the magician talking and waving one hand around to catch your eye while he slips the “disappearing” coin into his pocket with the other. When President Obama “caved to pressure” from people on both sides of the aisle, it was heralded as a victory for liberty. It was anything but.

So, the First Amendment was not jackhammered this week after all. But our liberty was.

President Obama didn’t force religious organizations to violate their deeply held beliefs. But in its place, he put the onus of providing what he wanted on insurance companies, who now will be forced to provide everything he wants for “free,” then past the cost on to us.

But the cost isn’t the issue. It’s the concept. While we were distracted by the waving of the one hand, we missed the other that had the president mandating coverage, coverage of anything, by health insurance companies. That’s a power that didn’t exist. It’s a power that shouldn’t exist, according to the Constitution.

The federal government has mandates in Medicare and Medicaid, which are both government-run insurance plans. But private sector health insurance is regulated by the states. Or at least it used to be. That’s why there has been a push to allow the purchase of health insurance across state lines. Some states mandate more things be covered than others, which drives up the price.

The news this week isn’t that the president “caved to pressure” and no longer will force religious organizations to violate their teachings. It’s that the president decided he simply could dictate what you, as an individual, need (and now will have to pay for) as far as your health insurance goes. And if he can simply walk off the golf course one day and will this into existence, what can’t he do?

Now that I think of it, what I tweeted out the other day is even more appropriate today. It was, “Obama wants birth control to be free because if he gets a 2nd term he plans on screwing the country even more & doesn't want the kids.” It’s funny because it’s true. It’s sad for the same reason.

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