Saying the Constitution is important is kind of like saying the sky is blue, and exactly what "the founders intended" might have been interpreted a little differently 200 years ago than it is today - but I digress.
One thing's for sure: If you're Joe Miller or Christine O'Donnell, I have a feeling the founders would have intended for you to stay awake in your civics class, lest you make yourself look like a fool, as each did on separate occasions last week.
Let's start with Joe Miller, the Republican candidate for Alaska's senate seat. On Oct. 17, Miller, a lawyer and tea party darling, held a public town hall at an Anchorage middle school. Following the event - which was publicly promoted and held on public property - Miller was approached by Tony Hopfinger, editor of the daily online news magazine Alaska Dispatch, who asked Miller about his record as an attorney.
Miller's private security detail approached Hopfinger and told him to stop asking questions. He didn't, and the detail placed Hopfinger "under arrest" for "trespassing."
Funny, since, you know, it was on public property and all. Funnier still that the security personnel, who turned out to be former Blackwater employees, had no authority whatsoever to place anyone "under arrest."
But the funniest part is that, when you look at it, it seems as if what the security team did is ... wait for it ... a violation of the U.S. Constitution!
The Fourth Amendment states: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
In layman's English: You can't arrest anyone without probable cause or a warrant, and unless you're a law enforcement official, you can't place anyone under arrest. (This wasn't "citizen's arrest," mind you.)....
But enough about that. Let's move east to Delaware, home of "Liberty and Independence," as well as Christine O'Donnell.
O'Donnell and Miller are much alike. They're both Republicans, they're both running for the U.S. Senate and they're both tea party favorites who have been anointed by Sarah Palin. And just as with Miller, O'Donnell doesn't know ... about the Constitution.
The morning of Oct. 19, O'Donnell faced off against her challenger, Democrat Chris Coons, at a radio debate. When the topic turned to whether creationism should be taught in schools, Coons said it was a religious doctrine and should not be taught in schools, as that would violate the "indispensable principle" of separation of church and state.
O'Donnell's response: "Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?"
For a quick refresher, the First Amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of
That's the First Amendment. The first one. The very first one. True, it doesn't say "church and state shall remain separate" in the wording, but that's the way it's been understood for generations.
But O'Donnell didn't stop there. The following is verbatim:
O'Donnell: "Let me just clarify. You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"
Coons: "The government shall make no establishment of religion."
O'Donnell: "That's in the First Amendment?"
(To be fair, aside from the separation of church and state, Coons couldn't name the four other freedoms and rights included in the amendment when O'Donnell asked him what they were, ....)
O'Donnell also couldn't clarify her stance on the 14th, 16th and 17th Amendments. Another winning quote: "I'm sorry I didn't bring my Constitution with me ... Fortunately senators don't have to memorize the Constitution."
That's true, but if you're going to wax poetic about a "covenant" based on "divine principles," you could have at least read the thing, which she clearly hasn't.
I don't profess to know the Constitution front to back - I do have a copy on my desk, a pocket copy in the mail and a desire, especially after the aforementioned events, to learn it as well as I can - and I'm not saying that everyone should. But for Miller, O'Donnell and their ilk, who so vehemently trumpet its importance, you'd think they'd have at least a cursory understanding.
You can find the original article here. http://www.theitem.com/news/article_ea2cdf5c-f845-512e-913b-a34d94a50b32.html
For your blog:
1. Stay focused and organized.
2. Use an introduction that tells us your views about this article.
3. Use details to explain your reasoning.
4. Use a separate paragraph for each new idea.
5. Answer all questions completely.
6. Edit your essay carefully for spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
This blog assignment is due on November 5th. Your graphic organizer is due on October 29th. Your rough draft, should you want suggestions, must be submitted by November 2nd.