Editor: The American Constitution is an awesome document, something that exudes authority and inspires awe. Even the mere mention of this 236-year-old sheepskin parchment can be used to add solemnity to any situation. Claiming to know what the Constitution says puts one in the same kind of powerful position as a priest who claims to understand the Bible. Our Congresspersons and Senators who mention the document often are hoping for just such worshipful regard from ordinary folks.
But mentioning the Constitution in a public speech or social media post does not automatically certify the knowledge level of the user. In fact, the word is used most often like a good card trick, to shock and amaze without imparting any wisdom at all.
The truth of this was demonstrated recently by a Constitution-loving January 6th insurrectionist who flunked a question about the Bill of Rights at his trial. He knew how to use the document to stir up the public but didn’t know much about the founders’ concerns when they wrote the document.
—Kimball Shinkoskey, via [email protected]