Constitutional Ignorance

People should be made to take a test on the US Constitution before they can serve in any government post.

Karen Hughes, W’s whitebread image-stylist, is quoted at the Guardian:

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“Many people around the world do not understand the important role that faith plays in Americans’ lives,” she said. When an Egyptian opposition leader inquired why Mr Bush mentions God in his speeches, Hughes asked him whether he was aware that “previous American presidents have also cited God, and that our constitution cites ‘one nation under God’.”

The problem is, she’s an ignorant git. Our constitution cites no such thing. On purpose.

In fact, our constitution doesn’t explicitly invoke the name of any deity. Go to any text of the Constitution of the US and search for God or Deity or even Providence and you won’t find any mention. (Providence is mentioned once, but only as the name of a geographical area, not as invoking a deity.) Not even the Articles of Confederation, which was the first “constitution” of our country, contain the word “God.”

But wait… I think there was once a US Constitution that mentioned God … the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. Yeah, the slave states. Their constitution, which is sort of a bizarro-version of the US Constitution (much like a satanic black mass is a twisted version of a catholic mass?) adds the words “favor and guidance of Almighty God.”

Maybe Ms. Hughes is trying to secede?

Honestly, for myself personally, I had to learn about the US Constitution several times over my school career from primary through college before it really started to stick. I’ll admit it. The ideas upon which our country is founded aren’t super-easy to grasp. It requires at least a rudimentary understanding the history that made the document necessary, and a grasp of the differences in powers and how they all work together in creative tension to form a sort of word-machine (for that’s precisely what this constitution is; a machine invented by a group of diverse enlightenment rationalists).

An understanding of the Constitution should be required for everyone wanting a driver’s license, in my humble opinion. Except that, frankly, such a policy would probably be unconstitutional. Alas.

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