I’ll be honest, I think the US constitution is great, but the Washington State Constitution leaves a lot to be desired. To be specific, it has elements of socialism that I find disturbing. Plus, it’s too long.
Some people think of constitutional law as some sort of super-law, laws that once you get enshrined in the constitution, they are really, really hard to change. This is a silly idea, as if some types of laws are just like other types of laws, and the only thing important about a law is how many people think it is a good law. No, constitutional law should deal only with the constitution, the make-up, of the government, and not specific laws except those that pertain to that makeup.
A constitution should describe the exact purpose of the government, which is, and always should be, the protection of individual rights. It may list those rights, but any list it creates should not be too exact or limiting. That is, the constitution doesn’t grant citizens rights. That’s an awful view of things. Rather, the constitution recognizes the rights that people have whether or not the constitution existed.
Next, the constitution should describe the makeup of government, who holds what position and how they are appointed and how long they serve and what the limits of their service is. It should also have failsafes for what to do when the people in office inevitably exceed their bounds. Hopefully, the failsafes are strong enough and easy enough to access that they get used, but not so easy that it makes governing impossible. The people whose job it is to respect and administer these sorts of laws should keep in mind that while we’re debating with ourselves about who should serve in what position, the needs of the people for a functioning government is still ever present.
Constitutions should also enshrine what types of laws can be written and how they are written and changed. These laws should not be found in the constitution itself, but the constitution should tell people how they will be written and administered. For instance, here in Washington State, the constitution says that the state will provide education to all of the people, but it doesn’t do a sufficient job in how we determine what education is and whether the state is doing it. That leaves open the possibility of a lawsuit and then the state supreme court getting involved in the education issue by injecting their own interpretation of what the constitution means. In the end, you get a mess.
Governments serve a purpose. They have a role. That role needs to be clearly delineated in a constitution, but let’s not make any false ideas about the power of a piece and paper and the words on it. They mean exactly nothing if the people serving in government don’t care to read them or enforce them. That’s where the people come in to play. It’s up to us, the people, to understand the constitution and hold our government accountable for misusing it.
A prime example is the budget in the US government. The constitution clearly says that all taxes and spending must start in the House of Representatives. And yet, each year it seems, we all watch the White House to see what they come up for as their proposed budget. No, this should not be this way. If you serve in the house, your job is to put together the budget, and if you fail at that job, we need to find a good replacement. I am tired of hearing how the republicans in the house feel powerless to stop the juggernaut of the unlimited state when they themselves are feeding the beast. They pretend to be powerless and yet not a single cent can be spent until the House puts forward their budget. I have known that Obamacare could’ve been shut down a long time ago, if the republicans wanted to. What we see happening today is simply a continuation of what happened before, but now they don’t have a president waving the veto pen in the air. Now we can see their true colors as “socialist lite”.
As regular citizens, it is up to us to read and understand the constitution, and hold our elected officials accountable to our interpretation of it. We have a right to read it whatever way we like and we have a right to hold our elected officials accountable come election day. Let’s not forget that.
As for my district, we can’t seem to stop electing our democrat representative who plays the same old game every year of “But I’m trying to be moderate!” while consistently voting with the most retarded socialist democrats in the house. It’s high time we found someone else to actually follow through with their campaign promises rather than pretend they are powerless once they get to DC.