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Debates regarding the interpretation of the constitution have been present for decades and up to date, a unified conclusion remains to be realized. While the grammatical and ideological agreement may be unanimous, there is disagreement in the event of interpretation of the same.
Different scholars and politicians come up with varied interpretations which are guided by the theories they follow or their own personal beliefs. In the end, there has to be an interpretation of the constitution for it to become a governing law. This means interpretation whether good or bad has to be established with the majority carrying the day.
The American constitution, which is one of the world’s oldest, has been subjected to many amendments over the years due to ideological differences from one generation to the next. The feeling of the need for a change in governance in pursuit for a better mode of leadership system has been the driving force for this. This paper will set out to analyze a number of articles which discuss various aspects of the American constitution. The paper will discuss the differing opinions and offer my opinion on the matter of the US constitution.
Overview of the Constitution
The American constitution is arguably the most liberal and complex in the entire world. It differs with the rest of the western constitutions both in its length and the biblical influence. It finds most of its inspiration from the bible since majority of American citizens are Christians. Consequently, its interpretation has been revolving around the unbalanced religious divide.
The debate on the right of individuals to own fire arms prompted by Martin Luther king, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy’s assassinations were a major challenge with regards to interpretation of the constitution. In the second amendment of the constitution as pointed out by Hannan seems to offer a window for the formation of militia groups (4). This is however seen as a self-centered sentiment coined to manipulate the constitution to favor self interest.
In the constitution a lot of individual rights are mentioned and seem to be the top agenda in the composition of its text. The need to respect the original meaning and intention for every law therein is therefore vital. Amendments without considering the originality of the constitution have been the major cause of wrong and misguided interpretation of the law.
The interpretation of the constitution should not be left to the politically influenced judiciary. The high court should not form the highest authority on constitution interpretation rather this should be left to the people. These are national guiding and governance terms and should not be decided by an individual or a group of elite individuals rather should be an all inclusive activity in the best interest of the public.
Social Aspects in the Constitution
Prudently, it is a high level of ignorance to assume that the constitution is the unquestionable supreme power over the people. It also, like many other writings and principles, has a number of limitations with regards to its implementation. This is much evident on the sections that address social interactions. The interpretation of the constitution by different institution in the various fields attracts much attention and criticism.
It would be of much assistance to really trace back to the historical events that influenced the actual drive to come up with the constitution. A study carried out shows that a colossal percentage of the population in America is in the dark with regards to the contents of the constitution. Many do not even have the basic knowledge on law regarding human rights. This however is not blamed on the uninformed citizens but lies squarely in the leadership and the governance of the country.
Holding some practices as illegal on one hand infringes into the right of self acceptance and freedom of choice. However, allowing the same practices like same sex marriages undermine human dignity as far as sexuality and religious teachings are concerned. This calls for the original meaning of the constitution if this kind of duplicity is to be brought to rest. The urgency of this matter is proved by the vote out of office judges who supported gay marriages (Hannan 6).
The only way to find true justice in the current system of governance can only be influenced by the original intention and adherence to the spirit of the constitution. “Liberal legal scholars have tried different approaches in countering this argument” (Hannan 5). Hannan points out that “democratic legitimacy is the measure of a sound constitutional interpretive practice” (5).
Explaining a principle without an understanding of the same can be quit difficult, hence interpretation is the first priority in the road to understanding the true meaning of the constitutional clauses. With this in mind then it becomes easier to come to an agreeable and contented conclusion. One that can have a majority backing from the public domain and not one that seems like a government project forced down the public’s throat. This is an assurance of a democratic form of governance that is of the people by the people and for the people.
Political Aspects in the Constitution
The constitution is a document and a set of laws to govern a nation in managing and guarding its political integrity and economic recourses for the benefit of all. The political elite therefore are charged with the responsibility of being the custodians of the perfect will of the people. The contents of the constitution represent the will of the citizens in general and should be guarded in integrity and in respect of the people’s dignity.
This not withstanding, the people trusted with the custody of this document turn around and abuse the powers vested in them. The elite have turned against the same people who have trusted them with the power to oversee the implementation of the rule of the land. In his book The New Road to Serfdom, Hannan asserts that “no one familiar with the affairs of our government, can have failed to notice how large a proportion of our statesmen appear never to have read the constitution of the united.”
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Bad governance that lacks the interest of the electorates at heart is a major set back in the realization of the American dream. Realizing the long-term goal of the constitution goes beyond self-seeking political parties and political alienation for selfish gain. It is the reason of fulfilling the spirit of the constitution that should be the main cause of seeking political responsibilities as it is the sole duty of political leaders.
The constitution is the supreme law of the land and should be treated in due respect and only leaders with this kind of knowledge should be trusted with the responsibility to guard its integrity. Information is power and the elite know what implications this has, especially when the electorate knows their rights. This could possibly be the reason why the government is not keen to ensure the contents of the constitution are known to the public.
Under this misinformation the black people were taken advantage of and denied rights that they deserved by being citizens in the United States of America. Hannan says that the federal government was “made by the white men for the benefit of the white me and their posterity forever” (8). He goes on to point in his book that “there is nothing in the United States constitution that gives the congress, the president or the supreme court the right to declare that white and colored students must attend the same school” (8).
A sign in Boston reads “where in the constitution is the separation of church and state?” Legal education on the clauses of the constitution is paramount for the public to have it broken down by the legal experts on constitutional law. This is primarily due to the fact that the language used in its representation is not easy for the common citizen to understand. Hence, a simpler interpretation is required to have everyone onboard in the pursuit for the democracy.
This is the responsibilities of the government to inform the public and the citizens’ right to be informed. The government is doing very little to achieve this and it has been the trend throughout the subsequent governments. Time has come for the long awaited change of the status quo in response to respect of the rule of law.
Economical Aspects in the Constitution
Economical implications in response to political responsibility are enormous in such a time when the economy is experiencing difficulties in all directions. Political responsibility is key in ensuring a sound economic security and growth as well. Proper planning and innovative policies are what can save a crumpling nation economically.
The tragedy is with all the economic-sensitive provisions in the constitution, our government and political leaders are so busy pursuing their own personal gains at the expense of their constitutional responsibility. Economical Growth therefore seems like an unachievable milestone where else it is out of neglect in duty that the economy is subjected to this kind of set backs.
Corruption is a major disappointment and it greatly undermines the growth of an economy. The political elite are more than ever involved in corrupt dealings that rob our economy of the precious remittances that finance the public utilities. As Hannan puts it, “part of the problem might appear to be the distance between our location and theirs.” It would prove to be an unyielding endeavor to realize any significant economical steps ahead if the effort does not emanate from the leaders.
Our leaders are required by law to safeguard our sovereignty and our national resources. But that, all along, has not been the case as the same leaders are in a rush to grab as much wealth as they can from the public. Instead of working towards the benefit of all they are only concerned with their own selfish ambitions.
The constitution gives all the citizens in the United States of America equal chances and equal opportunity to benefit from the resources found in the country without any discriminatory procedures. But the elite have created their own discriminative procedures that deliberately sideline other citizens from the free benefit of being a citizen in the United States of America. This is brought about by the introduction of a new political order of “threats false rumors and extremist rhetoric” (Crain 11).
These turn of events in leadership has brought the obvious downplay of the rule of law as the leadership has been accused to be involved in the funding of insurgence. This is done blindly as a way of acquiring power but has proven to be a time bomb in waiting in the long-run.
This destabilizes the economy as corrupt and unlawful operations are given a blind eye as the insurgences work hand in hand with he custodians of the law. This in the long-run will cause a major break down in the economy and recovery may never be realized as fast as the breakdown happens.
The common citizen is the main shareholder in the political arena yet he or she is the most neglected by the same people who promised to provide fair leadership. In the light of the constitution, the common citizen does not understand the complex use of legal terminologies. What is the government doing about this and what measures have they taken to ensure that the American citizen is well informed and that he or she understands the contents of the document.
Does the government take this issue as a priority to inform its public on the governing law and the protection abound in the constitution? Is it in their interest to have the public taught by legal experts about the interpretation of this law? The government must take it upon itself to ensure there is a legal explanation and original unbiased interpretation of the law for the good and benefit of the public who double-up as the government’s employer.
The political elite must realize their responsibilities and be faithful to keep their end of the bargain. It is very disappointing to be let down by the same government that one has trusted to take good care of the nation. A country that lacks an economical future is a country in trouble and lacks security. Financial security in a country is vital as it influences many different avenues that attract economical growth.
Financial security is a sure way to attract investors in the country and this translate to social and economical benefits with other countries. This is an endeavor to any reasonable government that has its citizen’s welfare in mind. Formulating trade laws that favor economic growth should be in every government’s consideration all through revising them more often to cease any upcoming advantage.
As ascertained by Crain, replacing the three pence duty on foreign molasses with a one penny duty was a relief to importers who would bribe at just about the same price (14). This brought to halt the loss of funds in the black market and eliminated smuggling. There has to be a significant link between the politically elite and the electorate. This is important if a mutual benefit is to be realized otherwise it will be just a matter of exploiting the electorate in the guise of unfulfilled promises.
Smuggling and illegal trade is a major hurt to the smooth running of the economy hence a threat to its growth as well. Government’s involvement in the business industry is paramount for traders as the government has the power to cushion traders during harsh economic times. If traders are not protected they stand to loose a lot in their merchandise and may be unable to comeback to business after the tough times are gone.
Development in any country depends on the commercial stability in the country hence it must be in the interest of the government to protect its business community. This is done by creating amiable business environment for business to thrive. Nothing gives a country the sense of security like financial security does and the United States of America is not different. The leadership has to embrace the challenge and give its citizens the security they so yarn for.
The constitution is the pillar of a nation and must be regarded as so in dignity and the law therein upheld and obeyed to the latter. The constitution is clear that no individual or institution is above its grip. Upholding the constitution is a gesture of submission and respect to our country’s sovereignty (Brooks 24). The elite living in harmony with the spirit of the constitution is the guiding principle in the pursuit for democracy.
It all begins with a political drive to reinforce policies that with influence growth in the entire country. With such systems in place, growth is inevitable in a receptive population in terms of investments and business interactions. The elite are elected to oversee the development of the people and to reinforce the will of the people. If the will of the people is respected then the running of the country’s economic affairs is in good hands and one can only project growth.
Better information as noted by Lepore, is key for development and mutual understanding in the society. Should this virtue lack, then trouble strikes-in in a way we might find it difficult to handle the repercussions. In the United States of America every one longs for better economic and financial dawn (Lepore 25). But this has been like a dream as the efforts towards achieving this are halted by the policies in place and misrepresentation of the will of the people.
In the wake of these tough economic times it is vital to have proper policies in place to maximize on possible chances to better our national income. This can not happen with the current policies and misinterpretation of the constitution. Proper interpretation must be provided to the public and the judiciary must have it right in the courts form free and fair justice to be experienced.
The constitution is an important document since it provides the basis upon which the country is governed. It is the only document that equalizes the citizen in the United States of America. The spirit of the constitution and its original intention was for the good of the people. However, the will of the people have significantly been ignored and replaced with self driven ambitions by those in power and assumed custodians of the law (BBC 21).
This is unfortunate but can be corrected by casting of votes to responsible and trusted people who have the will of the people at heart always. These are the kind of leaders who can lead the country into better economical heights with dignity and respect to the original spirit of the constitution.
In my opinion, leadership is the main drive to any achievements; be it economical or even political. When good leadership structures are achieved development is automatic. At all times leaders must be on the forefront to champion developments and better management of resources for the benefit of all. This is the spirit of statesmanship and good will.
BBC. Us constitution read aloud in House of Representatives. 2011.
Brooks, David. “The Wal-mart hippies.” The New York Times. 2010.
Crain, Caleb. Tea and Antipathy: Did principle or pragmatism start the American Revolution. New York: The New Yorker, 2010.
Hannan, Daniel. The new road to serfdom: The Tea Party Tradition. 2010.
Lepore, Jill. The commandments: the constitution and its worshippers. New York: The New Yorker, 2011.Print.