House Reading Amended Slavery-Free Constitution
Members of the House of Representatives, led by their new Republican majority, will kick off the 112th Congress this morning with a reading of the U.S. Constitution. The reading is largely a political maneuver, so it's no real surprise that the Constitution you'll hear read on C-SPAN this morning will be the politically correct version.This little bit of political theater will cost TAX PAYERS ABOUT ONE MILLION DOLLARS. How many lunches for poor kids will one million dollars buy? How many middle-aged jobless could get two years of community college and a new set of job skills for one million dollars? How many blue collar workers could get their dental work done for one million dollars? How many teachers would one million dollars employ for a year? Nothing has changed, Republicans learned nothing from the borrow and spend Bush years.
It's fairly likely that no elected politician wants to stand up and read aloud the Founder's vision of African Americans as equaling three-fifths of a white person, so the GOP has decided to leave that part, and others, out when the Constitution is read today.
From The Daily Caller:
Instead of reading the Constitution in its entirety, House members will read an "amended version" that only includes the sections and amendments that were not changed at a later date. The decision in part will allow members to avoid reading less pleasant sections, like the clause in Article 1, Section 2, which counted black slaves as three-fifths of a person.
The reading of the Constitution on the House floor has never been done before, and it's only happening today thanks to the tea party. Throughout the campaign last year, "returning to the Constitution" (in a vague and largely undefined way) was sacred to the tea party, and supporters of reading the document aloud today seem to hope that hearing the words in the House chamber will cause members to adhere to the document more closely.
Democrats and Republicans are expected to participate in the reading, but not all members of Congress think it's a worthy use of their time.
From a Washington Post interview with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY):
Nadler called the "ritualistic reading" on the floor "total nonsense" and "propaganda" intended to claim the document for Republicans. "You read the Torah, you read the Bible, you build a worship service around it," said Nadler, who argued that the Founders were not "demigods" and that the document's need for amendments to abolish slavery and other injustices showed it was "highly imperfect."
"You are not supposed to worship your constitution. You are supposed to govern your government by it," he said.
Whatever the motivation of the supporters of reading the Constitution today, it's clear that politics is playing a major factor in what's being read. So, what won't you hear about in the version of the Constitution entered into the Congressional record today? The DC's Chris Moody offers this rundown:
The Constitution contains nine parts that were later changed -- including an entire amendment, the 18th, which banned the manufacturing and sale of alcohol -- which will be left out of Thursday's reading. The omitted sections, which do not apply to the 112th Congress, include the so-called "three-fifths clause," the election of senators by state legislatures and the original process outlined for electing the vice president.
On MSNBC's "Last Word" Tuesday, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who's the man in charge of the reading today, defended the scheme -- and the decision to leave out some of the words written by the Founders.