Raleigh—NC Hours before President Obama’s State of the Union address, Tea Party Republicans took to twitter trashing him, his administration and his policies as unconstitutional. Some even used words like Marxist and totalitarian. Well, they can have their own opinions, but they can’t have their own facts.
What concerns me primarily is the Tea Party’s lack of effort to understand the truer nature of our Framers intentions and where the original signers compromised to create the greatest democratic shift the world has ever seen.
For the first time in the history of the world—and yes, the world was watching—everyday people in thirteen states where given a chance to vote for delegates ,sending them to a specially convened convention to vote on ratification.
Compromise is not a dirty word–
What the states were asked to ratify was a document no one person (and no original signer) agreed on one hundred percent. There were compromises in the language of the draft and compromises (as it turns out) on who could even vote for state delegates to send to the separate thirteen state conventions.
Up until this time, only free white men who owned property could vote.
So, what happened? The Compromise:
Ratification was so uncertain in New York that laws were changed to allow all free men—black and white (whether they owned property or not) to vote for delegates. Even with that change, the vote ended up being 30 for ratification and 27 against. Interestingly, North Carolina and Rhode Island didn’t originally ratify—that’s right, it took the Bill of Rights to bring them along. Virginia also had problems with ratification, but that’s beyond the scope of what we’re talking about in this article. The point I’m trying to make is that in 2014—we take for granted the history of ratification and assume everybody agreed on every little thing—they did not! It took compromise, and even then, nobody was completely happy.
Where does that leave us today?
Tea Party advocates have an idea—I’ve actually heard some say this—that it’s better to quagmire the government, creating such extreme gridlock, that nothing can get done—than to have laws passed that go against their ideology—their version of what they believe is “unconstitutional.” The recent government shutdown is a fair example of the extent they will go to derail government until they get what they want.
The Tea Party believes that because the Constitution does not specifically address education or healthcare, it should not be federally funded. They’re wrong. In the TP (Tea Party) world, they would privatize Medicare, Medicaid, all educational institutions, environmental protections and basically everything other than national defense. Even national defense can be a tricky issue if you’re a strict interpretationist.
In the last six years, Congress, primarily Democrats and “real” Republicans, have had to work around the TP to create as much meaningful legislation as they could—to improve job markets and mend the economy. They’ve compromised in the right way, the way the original Framers compromised to get the Constitution ratified in the first place. But, even those efforts have been stymied because since the TP invaded DC, no specific or meaningful jobs bill has been able to get out of any subcommittee.
The real tyrants–
I would argue—based on the above premises—that the real tyranny rests within the TP itself. And, the President has a “felt” responsibility and a Constitutional right to use his Executive Powers—when possible—to enact executive orders that will take our country forward: forward in the creation of jobs, the creation of an affordable healthcare environment and forward to protect our economic future. The Tea Party has shredded our Constitution enough. Maybe it’s time to change the slogan of “Take Back America” to “Take Back our Constitution from the Tea Party.”