The United States Constitution was written in 1789, with the Bill of Rights added in 1791. Our courts continually look at it's terms to interpret the framers' intent. Really? Our courts look at this hundreds of years old document as if it were the Bible (which is fodder for another blog, but not one the subject today). Were the framers endowed with omniscient powers, able to foresee the future? Let's get real.
How were things different in 1791 as compared to today? In 1791:
1. SLAVERY WAS LEGAL AND HUMANS WERE PROPERTY (that's in all caps because I cannot over-emphasize what a different world it was in 1791). The framers condoned slavery. I know it was a different time, but we are revering these people and they said owning other human beings was not only okay, many said it was a necessary part of commerce and several owned humans themselves.
2. WOMEN - Only white men with land could vote. Women could not vote until 1920!!!!!!!
3. TECHNOLOGY - There have been great technological advances - in travel, communication, living. We have planes, the Internet, electricity, indoor plumbing. We no longer use leaches for medical care. We have traveled to the moon. We can kill millions of people at a time with our weapons, not just hundreds.
4. CORPORATE BUY-OUT OF GOVERNMENT - Those "persons" with rights were living, breathing, eating white men. Entities invented to escape individual liability, called corporations, were not "persons" given first amendment rights. A real live person has a larynx and can speak. He or she can write, either with a pen or computer. Thoughts come from a person's brain, an organ of the human body. Corporations have no such biological makeup.
What is the Constitution were written today, what would you like to see in it? This is what I would like:
A. EQUALITY - All humans are entitled to the pursuit of life, liberty, and property.
B. NO CITIZENS UNITED - Only living breathing human beings have rights under the Constitution, not corporations, not robots nor cyborgs. And rich people do not have more Constitutional rights than poor people. (No Citizens United - go Stephen Colbert!)
C. MORE EQUALITY - Humans in the United States cannot be discriminated in employment, commerce, public accommodations, or WEALTH, based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, sexual preference, etc.
D. EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT - All United States citizens are entitled to a free education THROUGH COLLEGE OR TRADE SCHOOL so as to continually be employable and not outplaced by citizens with more technical or other education in other countries. We will continue to make sure our citizens are employed and employable so that they can support themselves and their families.
E. TAXES - Rich people and entities cannot be taxed on income at a lower rate than people who have to work for a living. This means that wages and salaries are not taxed at a higher rate than investment income, dividends, or capital gains. People like Mitt Romney and Warren Buffett, multi-millionaires or billionaires, will not be taxed at a lower rate than nurses, and teachers, and mechanics.
I am no economic scholar, but I don't think it takes one to explain the current state of this country's economic woes. Rich people don't pay their fair share of taxes, especially since the Bush tax cuts and we have engaged in several wars costing taxpayers billions of dollars. Corporations and the wealthy can spend unlimited amounts in getting candidates elected. These candidates become politicians who write our laws and control our lives. Thus, they have lower tax rates than the common worker. THIS MUST STOP.
We are no longer fighting the British and supporting an agricultural system off the backs of human slaves. A woman no longer loses her rights when she is married. Hopefully, humanity has evolved. Our country needs to reflect this enlightened progress and stop rewarding the American quasi-nobility, the rich. We don't need another violent revolution, someone just needs to slap some sense into these overly entitled rich people. They are the ones truly receiving welfare and public assistance through the inequality in the tax laws. The very rich are the real welfare cheats. And don't get me started about the banking debacle. Come on. It's time for a change.