Moultrie Observer

Opinion

April 9, 2012

The Constitution's challenges began on Day One

MOULTRIE — Quite often we hear the expression, “The Constitution is under attack.”

It’s mostly uttered when someone is opposed to a particular action by government, and it’s rather an automatic response to cite an amendment or two with the feeling that they are being misinterpreted.

But when we say the Constitution is “under attack” do we really mean that it is being “challenged?”

And if so, keep in mind that it has been challenged from “Day One.”

Some people think that our Constitution does not need interpretation ever since its inception. But also keep in mind that there was a time under the auspices of this Constitution when blacks were slaves and were not treated equally as voters or as human beings. They could not attend schools with whites and discrimination was the rule and not the exception.

Also, there was that time when women could not vote and when a criminal suspect could be interrogated for hours or days without benefit of a lawyer. And there were times when those interrogations were abusive to the point of coercing admissions of guilt.

Our Constitution has served us well for many years. And no one has ever said it was perfect. As someone once said about democracy, it might be the worst, besides all the rest.

And yes, interpretation is necessary as history has proved. We have issues and circumstances today that did not exist when these words were first put on paper. Our founding fathers could not even have begun to imagine the issues that would be broached.

And to challenge our Constitution is not a bad thing. Keep in mind that “challenge” is what brought this nation into being. Our country has been improved all along through challenge.

If “challenge” and “attack” are synonymous here, then so be it. We have a U.S. Supreme Court that is charged with measuring appeals of issues against this very fabric that has served us so well for so long.

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