The Constitution: Law Of The Land Or Outdated News Essay, Research Paper
The Constitution: Law of the Land or Outdated News? Our constitution was written over a century ago, by our forefathers who had thebest intentions. But what they did not have was a way to predict how our society hasevolved, and how the Supreme Law of the Land would come under question. Many partsof the Constitution have been left open to interpretation due to the changing times andstagnance of the Constitution itself. How would our forefathers feel about new issuesarising? Their original intent is something we do not know. But different argumentsprovide many different opinions in the public, and cause argumentation whether or not theConstitution is still the Supreme Law of the Land . Some topics are more discussed thanothers. In my opinion, the right to bear arms is constantly under question. Free speech isalso being brought up, especially in the case of music and television. The First Amendment grants us the freedom of speech. This gives us as citizensthe right to say what we want, and to express our feelings. But lately, Congress seems tohave been criticizing many venues for free speech. Television talk shows, lyrics in music,and even some publications have been sources of controversy. But what can happen? Can Congress put a ban on these things? But no matter what the content of the talk showis, or how offensive the rap lyrics are, civil libertarians have taken no steps to regulatethese things, because of their belief in the Constitution. The Framers of the Constitutionbelieved that to have a successful democracy, there must be a free exchange of ideas andthoughts between all people and government. The First Amendment is a reflection of thisbelief. But did they picture Jerry Springer having the KKK on his show, or the 2 LiveCrew rap group calling women the B word, and using extreme profanity in all of theirsongs? It is hard to believe they did. And whenever talk of stopping these shows orgroups come up, so does the ever familiar words of the First Amendment Congress shallmake no law…abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. But there is someinterpretation of the First Amendment for our protection. Speech that is consideredobscene, false, or seditious is not protected under the First Amendment. Now the FirstAmendment does not say this in its words, but this has been the interpretation of it inrecent years. In the Woll reader, there is an excerpt by John Stuart Mill that discusses theFirst Amendment rights. He believes that although free speech and press is a right grantedby the Constitution, there must be boundaries placed on them. But this brings up anotherquestion. Where do you draw boundaries? Where does one draw the line that a talkshows content is too obscene, or a song is too vulgar to be aired? What is the definitionof obscene? Of vulgar? There are no discrepancies in the Constitution that define theseterms or the restrictions that should be used. It only says freedom of the speech and press. Period. So should we let these shows and songs to be aired to the public, free for viewingby our children and impressionable youth? One must also keep in mind the artist andwriters that have come under fire. These lyrics may be the voice of the musician, and thereason they are so vulgar is because that is all they saw growing up. Violence in ourinner-cities, coupled with the lack of a solid education can lead to people who know noother life other than an obscene one. So do they have the right to put these lyrics on ourstores shelves? If you were a strict constitutionalist, then yes these people have the rightto voice their opinion. More liberal views would believe that this garbage has no place inour society, and is a blatant abuse of the rights granted to us. To find a middle ground anda compromise is the challenge, but no answer is within sight. In colonial times, most men kept guns and firearms to protect themselves. Thereason for this is because often times, the only defense against the British and Indians werethemselves or local militias. This was seen as the best way to keep peace on order amongthe colonies. The Second Amendment was passed to ensure this right for these reasons. But the times have changed, and there are no longer local or state militias. We now havepolice forces, sheriffs, and other local law agencies to serve and protect us. As citizens,
and as tax payers, this protection is there for us whenever we need. We no longer mustdefend ourselves from British invasion, or will have to quickly organize our neighborhoodinto a force that is ready for battle. So there is no longer a need for citizens to keep andbear arms, right? Wrong. This is another amendment that has come under a lot ofcontroversy lately. Guns are a big concern of our society today. With gang violence, kidsshooting each other, and accidental deaths due to ignorant parents who do not lock uptheir guns, there have been major moves to get the guns off the streets. But this wouldalso force many responsible gun owners to give up their firearms also. The National RifleAssociation has been a huge supporter of the Second Amendment, saying it is theirConstitutional right to keep their weapons. Gun supporters say that many of them usetheir guns for hunting and recreational purposes, and feel safer at home against break-insbecause they have guns for their protection. But the issue of gun control also has itsbacking. The Brady Bill, passed in 1993, imposed a five day waiting period for handguns. Is this bill unconstitutional? I do not think so, but if there were a bill to ban all weapons,then it would be. But did the Framers have the society we live in today in mind when theywrote this amendment? I feel at the time, the bill was passed out of necessity, in order toprotect themselves. Not for gangsters to hold up liquor stores, or have shoot-outs withrival gangs. This amendment, like the freedom of speech and press, is up for debate, andis the root of a lot of controversy. There is no question that at the writing of the Constitution, the Framers had thebest intentions. They were trying to write a constitution that would withstand the ages. Aconstitution that would become the supreme law of the land, and set the framework for astrong democratic government superior to all others. But there was one thing missing thatwould have made the Constitution perfect. A crystal ball. The Framers had no way to seehow our country would develop and flourish. They wrote the best Constitutional possiblefor the time. Back then, there were no rap groups to abuse the freedom of speech. It wasjust a way to make sure the government could never silence the voice of the people. Theycould not know that we would develop an intricate law system, with strong police forcesin almost every town, and strong judges and courts backing these forces. We also have astrong national armed force, ready to mobilize at a moments notice, whenever ourcountries freedom is being threatened. The criminal justice system we have developedover the years is excellent, and makes the need to bear arms for protection and invasionalmost non-existent. It is understandable that there are responsible people who use gunsfor recreation, but once again, the Framers had no way of foreseeing these people, andother groups like the NRA forming. Although the Framers had no idea of what the future would hold for our country,they did have the right intention. This is what is most important. We must understandthat the Framers were doing what was best for our country. If we can understand that,then we can work for the future. If we can understand the basic concepts and purpose ofthe Framers, we can implement these same intentions to a more modern law. We canratify the Constitution to apply to the changing times, although it is very hard to do, butnot impossible. But we must first understand the original intent. We must not just passthe Constitution off as an outdated governing body. It is a foundation, to help form amore perfect law of the land, so generations after ours will be able to follow its writingsand teachings, both old and new. So what is the final verdict? Is the Constitution outdated, or is it still the SupremeLaw of the Land? Well, I believe that it is a little of both. If we were to take theConstitution word for word, then it can be seen as a piece of writing that cannot governour changing times. But if we can interpret it to fit our times, then it is still fine. I am surethat the Framers, if they could see how our world has changed, would be more than happyto let us interpret it to make it current. After all, when they wrote this marvelous work ofart, the had the best intentions for the people as well as the country in mind. By allowingthe Constitution to change slightly, we can hold the values that the Framers had, whichwas to do the best for our country.