The Hill:Time to update the language of the Constitution

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/505071-time-to-update-the-language-of-the-constitution

A UT-A Constitutional scholar posts an interesting opinion concerning the outdated language of the Constitution.

It appears to make some sense, especially with regard to gender and racial disparities of the language of the late 18th Century compared to today. …”its gender and racially-oriented language undermine the promise of equality it proclaims. Its gendered and racist words stand in the way of true reconciliation in this divided country and have no place in any modern society. It is the Constitution’s purpose to reflect America’s modern values of equality and inclusion.”

According to the piece, James Madison wanted the language to evolve over time. …”Had Madison won this battle generations ago, the Constitution would have an altogether different appearance today. No longer would it speak in racist and gendered terms. It would celebrate equality and inclusion, and give Americans a text proudly to call their own — one in which they would see themselves and their hopes reflected.”

However, as divided as the country is today, it may be difficult to reword it effectively where all can be proud of the re-“languaged” Constitution.

12 thoughts on “The Hill:Time to update the language of the Constitution

  1. Madison’s concept of an evergreen Constitution is interesting in an idealistic way. If enacted it might fulfill Plato’s hope that the young in a perfect republic would be inspired by virtues greater than themselves.

    On the other hand, the approach the Founders settled upon — adding the amendments at the end of the document while preserving the original language — achieves the same effect for anyone willing to study the matter. There is also the benefit of preserving a faithful record, the better to learn our history from.

    I count Albert’s opinion as pinheaded and frivolous, a kissing of the feet of cultural Marxism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The question Whether one generation of men has a right to bind another, seems never to have been started either on this or our side of the water… (But) between society and society, or generation and generation there is no municipal obligation, no umpire but the law of nature. We seem not to have perceived that, by the law of nature, one generation is to another as one independant nation to another… On similar ground it may be proved that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation… Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19. years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force and not of right.“

      T. Jefferson, 1789. The year our Constitution was ratified.

      He also said, paraphrased, the a man would not be expected to wear the clothes he had as a child. So the Constitution should not be a forever document.

      So this idea of updating the Constitution is not new, pinheaded nor frivolous. And Marx? Who was he in 1789?

      Jefferson had a lot of ideas about governance and what type of nation we should be. Not all were great, but he was a founder and he was incredibly learned. And I think he had a good point. That we should be bound by a document that was packed with compromises to address political realities of the 18th century might not be valid anymore.

      IMHO

      Liked by 2 people

      1. RE: “So the Constitution should not be a forever document.”

        It isn’t. Jefferson’s point about generations concerns a subtlety of parlimentary theory. Every new session of Congress deals with it as its first official act: Voting to adopt the rules of procedure that will govern its operations. Since the rules of procedure are the means by which the Constitutional design of our government is implemented, this action in effect ratifies the Constitution at the beginning of each new Congress.

        RE: “That we should be bound by a document that was packed with compromises to address political realities of the 18th century might not be valid anymore.”

        We aren’t bound by anything. New laws can be written at will. Also, the Constitution can be amended.

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  2. There is nothing in the piece about changing the laws, just the language. Apparently some here believe it is fine and dandy to remain racist and misogynistic in our language 200+ years later, even though even the way we speak today is so very different from the time of the writing of the Constitution.

    Not one statement explains why it is not OK to change the language to bring our primary rules into today’s language. Just an attack on the idea of the author that it is …”pinheaded and frivolous, a kissing of the feet of cultural Marxism.” The only frivolity and pinheadedness I see is in Mr. Roberts’ comment.

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    1. RE: “Apparently some here believe it is fine and dandy to remain racist and misogynistic in our language 200+ years later, even though even the way we speak today is so very different from the time of the writing of the Constitution.”

      The idea that language itself can be racist of misogynistic is pretty stupid. The idea in fact derives from the philosophy of cultural Marxism as taught in colleges.

      There is no practical need to rewrite the Constitution using contemporary syntax, vocabulary and grammar because the language in which it is written is still used and readily understood. The syntax, vocabulary and grammar would be the same.

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          1. Spoken like a true antagonist prick.

            My reply to you was based on the idea that, when written, the Constitution was written for white, male property owners. Deny that and you would be grossly mistaken and historically inaccurate.

            “The idea that language itself can be racist of misogynistic is pretty stupid.”

            OK then, the gendered and racial language of our Constitution as written in the 18th Century is out of touch with the realities of 21st Century thinking. There is absolutely nothing lost by updating the language to reflect our liberal society of today where the words “all men are created equal” truly and honestly mean ALL people.

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          2. Like I said in the original post: “However, as divided as the country is today, it may be difficult to reword it effectively where all can be proud of the re-“languaged” Constitution.”

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    2. I challenge you to provide any such “white property owner” language examples from the constitution. Any discriminatory law has already been dealt with through amendment. Is making up absolute racial baloney like a screaming toddler in the family genes or was it learned from the theory of the squeaky wheel?

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      1. We can start with the 3/5’s compromise if you want. If you want to ignore the history of one of our founding documents, feel free. It makes appear you illiterate and ignorant of the history of this country. But then again, I would wager you watch the Ken Burns Civil War documentary over and over, hoping and praying the end will change and the South won.

        As for your snide remark – KMA. I’d refer you to the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific and a particular song. But you’re obviously too rude to even consider it.

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