Of course, I had to go. Especially since it was held on Constitution Day, I thought, at worst, they'd explain both sides of the two, main Constitutional interpretations; one is that it is a "living, breathing document" that changes at the whim of government; the other is "original intent", or "dead and stale", forever cursed to be interpreted with the meaning and intent given it two centuries ago... well, at least that's how the Living-Breathers explain the "original intent" interpretation.
I'm a Dead'n'Stale man, myself. I'll explain why in a moment.
It took forever to find where the event was being held, but my dad and I made it to the on-campus building and found that the crowd was mostly comprised of actual ESU students and elderly. I wondered why there wasn't a wider demographic, especially considering the sponsors of the event, the Emporia League of Women Voters, made it more than clear in their opening statements that their goal is to enhance diversity in civic life, especially in elections, by educating the public.
After a dry and microphoneless ten minutes of introduction (a note to public speakers everywhere: get set-up before event begins), the main speaker, a former Kansas Bar president and current Wichita Bar president, A. Jack Focht, stood and began an eloquent oration on politics. He even quoted from America, the Beautiful, which, itself, deserved an applause. Well, his speech remained eloquent and patriotic until he got to minute-marker 12, or thereabouts:
"But, these days, there are a lot of angry people, and there we have the teabagger vote..."
The word "teabagger" echoed in my head and Dad and I glanced at each other with knowing looks. The attorney went on to explain that Tea Parties are comprised of angry people who never read the Constitution, and that Kansans for Life, a Pro-Life organization, will undoubtedly, with malice aforethought, pass out voter guides advising people to vote out incumbent judges at churches and parking-lots. *Gasp!* And Kansans for Life should not do so, as that will cause judges to rule according to public opinion instead of the law, for fear of the vote.
After that, I was left wondering how someone so old and knowledgeable could say something like that. The man is the former president of the Kansas Bar Association, and is the current president of the Wichita Bar Association, so if a judge is afraid of someone's opinion, it should be his, as he is the representative of a judge's peers.
Mr. Frocht told of how he talked to Tea Party friend of his, who, in the course of a conversation, said he is angry and that we should restore the Constitution, but then ol' A. Jack explained that this friend probably never even read the Constitution and neither have most of the Tea Partiers.
Minutes dragged on as the speaker slammed original intent interpretations of the Constitution. For instance, the internet is something that Founders couldn't imagine, so how can we apply it to upcoming legislation that will regulate the internet? Frocht's answer is that we can't, so just ignore the Constitution, and get on with life! And if you don't like something in the Constitution, don't try to amend it like the law says to do; just have a judge rule on it the way he sees fit, because it's just too darn hard to amend!
And oh! how he hates the term activist judge, because that just means you disagree with the judge's decision. (That got an approving laugh from the crowd.) And abortion falls under privacy and individual liberty, he explained. Also, the Constitution's interpretations can and should evolve with society.
It was like a Constitution and Conservative roast, throwing in every insult and lie that came to mind. Needless to say, I'd had enough. We stood up to leave, and as we walked towards the door, footsteps echoing on the hardwood floors, one of the women speakers glared at me, eyebrows knitted, as if to say, " I know who you are, and you're a terrorist."
I didn't say a word as I left, but if I had, it would have been this:
Ladies and gentlemen, do you know why I'm leaving? Because my country's Constitution is being shredded before my American eyes, and I don't like it. More than that, I'm going to do something about it. I'm going to host my own event on the Constitution, where only freedom and rule of law are espoused. I'm going to tell my listeners what Thomas Jefferson said about that 'living, breathing document, that is ever changing', as you call it:
'On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.'
And people, that was what Jefferson said to a judge. No interpretation besides that which the framers explained to us, and that extends to every area of the law! Yet this cheeky fellow thinks he can stand here and destroy the Constitution and original intent, mocking and maligning patriotism? No! I'll not listen one more second!
John Adams said we are a nation of laws and not of men, but how can that be without a solid and resolved Constitution? Of what use is a Constitution if its supremacy is dictated by the inclinations of government or society?
Patriots are rising up all over America, and you can call them teabaggers, racists, or whatever lying, conniving thing you can think of to discredit them, but you will be the only one discredited in the end! Why? Because Americans are angry! We're mad! What's more, we're as mad as Hell, and we're not going to take this anymore! We're tired of your garbage!