If one judges the age of nations by how old their constitutions and governmental structures are, Paul Ryan tells the truth when he says the US has the oldest democracy in the world. This is verified as True, even on PolitiFact. The US Constitution was ratified in 1788, and although it has been successfully amended 27 times, it has never been fundamentally changed since ratification. While many nations, almost all of them now, have constitutions, none of these have lasted as long as the American document, perhaps because while other nations (including the Soviet Union!) created constitutions modeled after the pattern of the US Constitution, they did not preserve the system of checks and balances that the US document has. These protect the document from change, making it exceedingly difficult for radical changes to the Constitution, and they also protect the nation from the whims of its own elected leadership, as it is the Constitution, and no one person or group of persons, that the holders of elected office in the US swear allegiance to, “so help me God.”
It may therefore come as a surprise to many people to learn that the United States of America is actually the oldest (constitutionally based) nation in the world.
Over the past two weeks, the strength of the Constitution has been put to its greatest test with the efforts of the Democrat party to impeach President Donald Trump. The House of Representatives brought two articles of Impeachment against the President: Obstruction of Congress and Abuse of Power being the titles of these two charges. The US Senate has been in the process of reviewing the Democrat-led claims against the President and hearing the arguments against their veracity as delivered by a real dream team of Constitutional experts as attorneys.
The process that the American government is following presently in the Senate displays both the function and the difference between pure democracy and a representative republic, and it displays the difference between the passionate and whimsical nature of the Lower chamber of Congress and the dispassionate view the Constitution prescribes and preserves for the people in the Senate as a check against the hysteria of the day, whatever that may be. In this case, of course the Democrat / globalist hysteria over President Trump appears to be breaking on the shores of the Constitution like water breaks on the rocks at the seashore.
It would seem that the Democrats are being forced to face this as well, as the Articles the Democrats presented for trial are resoundingly unconstitutional in nature, only having “relative” relevance rather than Constitutional relevance, at best. The arguments offered by Alan Dershowitz, Jay Sekulow and others in the Trump team’s response to the Democrat claims have really withered the illusion that the Democrats actually had something that would lead to the President’s removal from office.
We offer two videos – the first here below, of Alan Dershowitz’ entire speech regarding the unconstitutionality of the articles. These are lengthy, about three hours in total running time, but these are probably three of the most important hours anyone trying to understand the US could spend watching:
And this one, with several other attorneys representing the President, giving a mixture of both Constitutional and passionate rhetoric that does a good job at exposing the articles for the tripe they really are.
Most of all, these two videos show that when the US government gets down to brass tacks and gets down to basics, we see the genius of the Constitution as well as its great objectivity and strength.
In many of our political articles, even here, we often resort to rhetoric – some very skillfully stated, some not – and in many circumstances, the “spirit of the age” and “what things ‘ought’ to be” as far as what is right and what is wrong, end up dominating the rhetoric on any given issue. But the Constitution is about principles and not personalities, and thus far it has done a great job standing as an objective observer, judge and preventer of the nation’s political activities.
The Constitution had been under great assault for several decades by activist politicians and political action groups who sought to essentially transform America into something “more like Europe”, but such moves were being rejected by the American people. When President Trump was elected, he began weeding out activist judges and activist politicians, replacing them with strict constitutionalists, people who once again treat the Constitution seriously and literally, not seeking to “reinterpret the document “in light of our age.
Does this hold hope for the world in terms of geopolitics, or does it amplify the specter of American Hegemony?
Based on the efforts by the President to get the US out of places like Syria, Iraq and other places, and the internal dissolution of secondary and ternary government agencies, the US is gradually transforming into what it is when it is at its best: A free, constitutional republic, guided by principles that may not be enjoyed much, but which can be trusted precisely because they are not developed at your whim or mine. No matter how wise we ourselves might be, the document prevents sudden change on the foundation that the whim of the moment may certainly need to be heard, but it ought not be followed unless it passes all the tests that our founding document places on such bright ideas.
It has been rightly said that the American Constitution exists not so much to grant liberty to its people as to take it away from the government. This is the exact opposite of how most governments are formed, where power exists on high and the citizens get what is left over. This form of governance has been highly successful, yielding the oldest constitutional government in the world. The final point the impeachment trial shows us is that the US will last as long as its government obeys and adheres to the Constitution. The Trump team arguments show this clearly. The fragmentation of the United States in recent years has only been because the Constitution was not the reference of our elected leaders nor was it the source referred to by our citizens.
In this respect the Impeachment trial is an enormous civics lesson. The trial is something that ought to be watched and studied deeply in the context of the framers, and maybe a new respect for our nation and what it exists for would be born.
And such a nation would very likely stop meddling stupidly in international affairs, too. That would probably be a boon to many people in a great many nations who have been hurt by US idiocy during the time that America seemed more concerned with running the world than she was with seeing to herself.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.