Thursday, January 6, 2011

Censoring the Constitution

As you've probably heard by now, one of the first moves of the new GOP majority in congress was to call for a reading of the U.S. Constitution from the House Floor. And if you weren't paying attention, that's probably what you though happened today. The Las Vegas Sun, for instance, reported on the incident thusly:

Despite it being the government’s founding document, it’s the first time it’s been read out, every article, signature, and amendment, on the floor of the House of Representatives. But the event wasn’t just in homage to the founding fathers. It was also a sign of the new influence of the Tea Party, for whom adherence to the Constitution was -- as Nevadans will remember from Sharron Angle’s senatorial campaign -- a major rhetorical campaigning point during the 2010 midterms.

But was that what really happened? Was every article, signature, and amendment read on the floor of the House of Representatives? As a matter of fact, no, that's not what really happened. Rather, the Constitution of the United States of America was pushed aside so that members could instead read aloud the Constitution of... I don't know: La La Land, maybe? Whatever it was, it wasn't the Constitution of the United States of America that was read aloud today:

A Goodlatte aide explained that the Constitution will be read in its most modern, amended form. This will prevent lawmakers from having to recite politically uncomfortable portions, notably the provisions on the “three-fifths compromise” under which slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of taxation and representation.

So wait... what we're getting from the Party of Constitutional Originalism is a reading, not of the Constitution of the United States of America, but rather, of a literary doppleganger that whitewashes this nation's history of institutionalized racial oppression?

Why doesn't that suprise me?

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