The Watering Hole, Saturday, September 17, 2016: Constitution Day and Colin Kaepernick

Two hundred thirty-nine years ago today, all but three members of the Continental Congress signed what would become one of the most important documents in human history. A document without which we would not be able to enjoy many of the freedoms we Americans enjoy today. I’m talking about, of course, Martin Luther’s “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” also known as “Poor Richard’s Almanack.” I’m kidding. It was the United States Constitution. Once ratified and the first Congress elected, a set of twelve amendments were passed and sent to the States for ratification. The second of these Amendments concerned the pay raises of Members of Congress. Though it failed to get ratified at first, it had no time limit built into it and it was eventually ratified in 1992. Congress got around this by giving themselves annual COLAs,but since those are also a form of pay raise, a sensible Supreme Court will strike down an annual pay raise. The first of the proposed amendments detailed a strange formula for determining the number of US Representatives which, if enacted, could have required there be as many as 5,000 Representatives, possibly more. It’s good that it was never ratified. The House smells badly enough as it is with only 435 members.

The remaining ten amendments, numbers Continue reading

The Watering Hole, Monday September 17, 2012 – Happy Constitution Day, Happy 225th USA v. 2.0

The Declaration of Independence was adopted in Congress on July 4, 1776, and for this reason it is generally considered that July 4 is our nation’s birthday. Actually, that was the birth of the United States of America Version 1.0. The first version of the United States was governed under something called The Articles of Confederation. The Articles were a States’ Rights person’s dream. Under the Articles, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.” The Articles required that the thirteen colonies (now called “States”) would “severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.” In Congress, each State would have one vote, regardless of the number of delegates it sent there. There was one small problem. The Articles of Confederation didn’t work.

So, in May of 1787, a Constitutional Convention was convened. The delegates to the convention, many of them the same as those who adopted the Articles, recognized that things had changed and that their country would have to undergo some changes in order to adapt. Through the summer, they came up with a Constitution that had some significant differences with the Articles of Confederation. One of the most significant of these differences is that under the constitution, there would be a strong central government rather than a weak one. I believe this is the part most States’ Rights advocates do not wish to accept.

On September 17, 1787, the Congress passed the Constitution put forth by the convention. It was ratified on June 21, 1788 and when into effect March 4, 1789. Today marks the 225th Anniversary of the birth of what is, for all intents and purposes, the United States of America version 2.0. It’s not the same country founded in 1776, and is not based on the same principles as the first one. And no matter how religious the country and states were under Version 1.0, we have a Secular government under version 2.0. People may not be aware of this, nor be able to appreciate the marvel of it, but for the first time in history, a nation was founded with no official religion. In all other countries, the official religion was whatever religion the ruler of that country practiced, and most citizens were expected to support and practice that religion, also. Along came this upstart of a republic called the United States of America, and it had the crazy, unheard of idea that people could practice whichever religion they preferred, no matter what religion the President practiced. Personally, I would have preferred that the Constitution also specify that no person’s religious beliefs would be the basis of any Law in the United States. And I would have liked the gun thing clarified a bit more.

This is our open thread. Discuss the Constitution or any other topic you wish.

Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain