Sunday, June 10, 2018

We Won't Perfect The Constitution As Long As The Dead Hand Of The Founders Manipulates Our Imagination

I don't remember which day it was last week but sometime recently Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Leader in the Senate was, rightly, talking about the Republicans allowing Donald Trump to have a royal impunity from the law, allowing his crimes and those of his courtiers to go uninvestigated as Republicans in the Congress enable and collude with their cover up of those crimes and who enable the commission of the continuing crime spree which is Republican politics in the Trump regime.

That's certainly true.   I've got nothing against those claims.   What got me continually pissed off is that he made recourse to one of the worst arguments against that,  what the friggin' "founders" intended by way of a government of laws not of "reality" TV stars and fascist talk shows. 

It is the essential insanity that keeps the Federalist Society fascists in operation, that is the cry of libertarian crypto-fascism, of idiots like the teenage Ted Cruz who turn into the poisonous fungus he's turned out to be and up to and pretty much the entire fascist support that produced Trump that, somehow, the slave owners and corrupt Northern mercantile and banking interests who wrote the 1787 Constitution should dictate to us how we should live today.   It is why the many slavery-enabling features of that Constitution have been allowed to remain there and to be used to thwart the will of the majority, why Republican-fascists hold more seats in Congress and state legislatures than the number of votes they get should allow them to, how Trump became president after he lost the election.

The most excellent historian Paul Finkleman wrote an excellent article which enumerates the many, many ways that slavery was written into the Constitution, in those parts which were allegedly overturned in the Civil War amendments* but also in many, many other provisions which are exactly the ones which corrupt Supreme Court members and the many merely gullible ones have used to allow the conditions that produced Reagan, Bush I and II and now Donald Trump.   And which allowed Democrats like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama to act out of Constitutional principle while acting against the interests of the very people who put them in office.  It's an article which should be read by everyone because it is the distillation of the insights of the great abolitionists whose work is of continuing and complete relevance to fighting contemporary fascism in the United States and finally removing those things that have enabled it all along.

Having praised him, though, I am obligated to say that I disagree with Finkleman's concluding remarks in the article about the perfecting of the Constitution through the Civil War and the amending of it because I think the subsequent history of the use of those aspects of the Constitution after the Civil war and up till today have continued to prevent democracy and to install corporate, oligarchic rule.

We are, because of Constitutional idolatry, of the founders fetish, a nation of bad laws that put bad people into office and which thwarts democracy producing the  danger of Trumpism and Republican-fascism.  The idea that things changed because overt slavery was overturned is an illusion that almost all of the entire history of the thwarting of democracy through the citation of the remaining Constitution proves.

The founders fetish is as irrational as any deification of kings or emperors or any other mortals.  And that deification relies on lying about the moral character of the writers of the Constitution, who were, when looked at without deleting the evil in their lives, a pretty bad lot.  The article points out how it wasn't until 1840, when James Madison's notes during the various conventions that brought the Revolution and then the Constitution, the various writings of him, Alexander Hamilton, etc. were published,  it was a shocking eye-opener to the abolitionists because it showed that they intentionally, with open and full intent of their own self-profit and that of their fellow oligarchs, made the Constitution a "Covenant with Death."  And those parts of it which have produced the regimes of Bush II and Trump within sixteen years of each other, prove it still is one and will be until those are removed and their legacy expunged from American law.

*  The idea that de facto slavery ended with the adoption of the amendments overturning it is an illusion.  It continued throughout the Jim Crow period and, in some ways, still exists.   It is the obvious aspiration to continue aspects of it in the work of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Trumps Attorney General and in the Republican-fascists on the Supreme Court.  There might be piddling wages paid to the slaves but other aspects of bondage are fully in place, especially within the prisons.

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