The Myth of the Constitutional Republican

republicanmythI’ve said for a while now that Republicans really don’t love our Constitution, they only love what they wished it was.

It’s not uncommon to hear Republicans proudly boast about their resolve to protect the “Constitutional” way of life, but based on what?

They’ve shown time and time again that they have no issues supporting measures that either have proven to be unconstitutional or seek to infringe upon rights that have been ruled Constitutional.

The following are just a few examples:

Religion

They claim this nation is a Christian nation, yet our Constitution specifically omits any mention of Christianity, the Treaty of Tripoli directly states this country was in no way founded on the Christian religion and our First Amendment clearly states we have the freedom of religion—again with no mention of any specific religion. 

Abortion

They seek to ban abortion, though our Supreme Court (per the powers given to the court by our Constitution) says a woman’s right to choose is a Constitutionally protected right (Roe v. Wade).  Yet Republican politicians nationwide are constantly pushing measures to infringe upon that right.

Marriage

They want to define marriage as only between a man and a woman, based on some religious beliefs.  These proposed laws violate the First Amendment of our Constitution.  You know, that whole “freedom of religion” part.

Immigration

They’ve supported tough immigration laws that promote discrimination.  Laws such as those in Arizona which were deemed unconstitutional by our Supreme Court.  You remember that law, right?  Where law enforcement officers were allowed to stop whoever they wanted if they looked like someone who might be here illegally.  Even though this law was mostly struck down, Republicans across the country continue to push for strict immigration laws which continue to get struck down by the courts.

Health Care

The Affordable Care Act passed by Congress, signed by the President and upheld as Constitutional by the Supreme Court is the law of the land—period.  Yet, you have Republicans all across our country looking as hard as they can to find any sort of loophole to avoid complying with the law.

Sadly, the only amendment they seem to blindly support is the Second Amendment giving Americans the right to bear arms. Though they ignore the entire first part which clearly has the phrase “well regulated militia.”

Outside of the Second Amendment, which Republicans ignore the first half of, the only value they use to validate their patriotism is essentially a very subjective form of “freedom.”  Conservatives often never blink an eye when supporting freedoms for straight, white Christian males—but for everyone else, those freedoms are often debatable.

In fact, they’ll happily support restrictions on rights for Americans they disagree with.  So they don’t really support Constitutional rights, they support those “rights” of which they agree—while strongly opposing rights of which they disagree.

You see, Republicans really don’t like our Constitution at all.  They can’t stomach the thought that real freedom means supporting rights which you might not fully agree with.  Freedom isn’t saying that everyone must agree with you, be like you, think like you, love like you and follow religion like you.  That’s not freedom, that’s control.

What many Republicans worship is a distortion of two different written works.  First, a version of the Bible where 95% of what’s written inside is ignored, building their entire faith off a handful of quotes.  And second, they’ve created some version of the Constitution they wish existed—but never has.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Bob

    Outstanding Article! <3

  • jabberwocky

    You’re not getting our guns, commies.

    • I’m going to guess this is a joke.

      • Victoria Lamb

        Wrong!

      • Well, Vicki, if it’s not a joke, then it’s tinfoil-hat paranoia and willful stupidity.

    • nobody is trying to take them away, please pick up a news piece not labeled fox and try getting the ACTUAL facts.

  • AModerate

    Agreed on all points, now if the Democrats could stop getting so precious about language and words where EVERYTHING is now a bad word (please see 1st Amendment) we’d be heading in a better direction. Freedom of speech only if it doesn’t offend ANYONE seems to be the battle cry of the Left. Stop protecting me from myself. Nanny State be damned.

    • Juliet Neary

      You mean like the Republican douchebags in Tennessee who proposed the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation?

      • AModerate

        Although there are plenty on the Right who do this, the Left have become language sanitizing douchebags far and above the Right. If anyone is offended, then whoever said it must be gang-banged by an interest group that has 10 members and gets propped up by the mainstream media. It’s getting ridiculous.

      • Juliet Neary

        Where? Give me an example of the Left legislating what you can say, because that’s a nanny state. I gave you the example from the Right. Can you reciprocate?

        However, public disapproval (including media dogpiles) of what you say is part and parcel of freedom of speech. You have the right to use racial slurs, profanity, etc. And people have the right to tell you back what a dickhead they think you’re being. That’s not government chilling your speech. That’s you not liking being disagreed with.

      • “Although there are plenty on the Right who do this………” What AModerate really means that it is only okay when the right does this and that he can only live by the rules of the right as long as they say so!

      • Juliet Neary

        Thank you for explaining that. They live in such a different world than I, it makes it hard to understand what they mean. I need a Republican-to-reality translator app.

      • I’m so sorry! It must be hard for some of you to be told its not cool to call black people “niggers”. We should be apologising for the intolerant view of thier intolerance.

      • AModerate

        wow, thanks all of you assholes (Glen/Veda) for putting words in my mouth and making colossal stupid assumptions. You couldn’t be more wrong. First of all to Juliet, it has NOTHING to do with legislating, I never said legislate, you did, it has to do with behavioral inconsistencies and trends.

        Volkswagen does a superbowl ad with white people doing Jamaican voices and people with a very specific political agenda on the left who weren’t even Jamaican pipe up when even the Tourism Group of Jamaica was cool with it. These kinds of people are race-baiters but use political correctness as their shield.

        We’ve come to a point where everyone wants to be a protected “class” for some reason or another. Frequently they don’t even see or experience the words or comments that are made, are reading them from some bloggers biased opinion site and then go after the artist, company or comedian in a witch hunt. We see this on both sides be it the Catholic League and Bill O’Donoghue admitting on tv that he didn’t see, read or hear the comment but is just reacting to it cuz he blindly protects his beloved Church or GLAAD not understanding that comedy is supposed to be outrageous and ironic and shaming people for making jokes in a comedy club where people pay to laugh and be challenged but clearly forgot about that when they came through the door.

        You have freedom to speak not the freedom to not be offended and there is this growing trend to want to forcibly SHUT PEOPLE UP because they offended someone. The smart and brave ones stand up to this and the others cave in giving these small interest groups a feeling of more power that they really don’t have if they were honest with themselves.

        Yes, I fully believe in freedom of speech on both sides here but there’s freedom to speak your mind and then there’s the slimey hangers on who take what may not even be an issue and use it for their own agendas. Unfortunately as we see, these people tend to be more on the LEFT than the right because there’s this overwhelming need to protect everyone from anything offensive or that may hurt their feelings.

        I’m AModerate for a reason so before you judge I’m mostly a social liberal and a fiscal conservative although there are parts on both sides that bleed over. So before bashing me, get off your damn high horses. Then again, you have a right to say what you want and I can respond in kind cuz we all have freedom of speech, just wish you’d keep your freedom to judge in check until you know more facts.

      • Juliet Neary

        The government is the only entity that can infringe on your freedom of speech, which it can only do by legislation. Individuals and businesses can dislike it and call you out on it, but that isn’t infringement. You can’t have it both ways — complaining about the Left infringing and people wanting to be in a protected class, and then also say you weren’t talking about legislation. They go together. Again, people on the Right are the only people legislating what people can say and can’t.

        I’ll type more slowly, next time, so you can understand better.

      • Well said. I didn’t mean any offence earlier, I too need that book more often!

      • Juliet Neary

        I took no offense! I was playing along.

      • You have a way of putting the blame on the left, since before the 2012 election the right has done their level best, I mean by legislation to stop the voices and what they say(not to mention their way of thinking) of millions from their vote, healthcare, VAWA, Fair pay act, Roe vs Wade……This week the voices, and what 90% of the Americans that said out loud, wanted and called for more gun restrictions. If you find that the left stand up to the average bully and name caller, and consider that to be comedy, you have not spent much time with many humans.

  • nobody wants all your guns you psycho hillbilly

  • DWilli

    I am often baffled at the rubbish that liberals call intellectual. While it is clear that the author doesn’t know jack diddly about the Constitution and probably has never even read it, it seems to me that at least a few of you libs would be aware that your position on abortion, immigration, health care and gay marriage have absolutely nothing to do with being Constitutional, since the Constitution does not provide for any of these.
    This article should be re-titled “The Myth of the Intellectual Liberal”

    • Perhaps *you* should read the rationale behind the decisions in question, because it’s clear that *you* don’t have the faintest clue about them.

      For example, abortion isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, of course. However, the 14th Amendment’s due process includes a right to privacy component.

      “Decided simultaneously with a companion case, Doe v. Bolton, the Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment
      extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion, but that right must
      be balanced against the state’s two legitimate interests in regulating
      abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting women’s health.
      Arguing that these state interests became stronger over the course of a
      pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the trimester of pregnancy.

      The Court later rejected Roe’s trimester framework, while affirming Roe’s central holding that a person has a right to abortion until viability.[1] The Roedecision defined “viable” as being “potentially able to live outside
      the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid”, adding that viability
      “is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur
      earlier, even at 24 weeks.”[2]

    • Juliet Neary

      Let me explain this as simply as possible. In our system of government, the legislative branch writes the laws, the executive branch implements and enforces the laws, and the judiciary interprets (a/k/a decides the constitutionality of) the laws. “Our positions” are those that have been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court to be constitutional. You people just don’t like it. Therefore, you run around idiotically yelling “It’s not in there!” Particularly, if it happens to be the phrase “well regulated.”

      I understand you’d prefer everything be written out with monosyllabic words in crayon, but the Constitution (and life, in general) is more complex than that.

      • PhDMIT

        I think I’m in love!

    • and your post should be titled “dumb statements republicans make” Theres more things NOT listed in the constitution than items that are. but all of those things you listed fall under principles listed in the constitution. Believe it or not you right wing nut, most of us liberal can read too, and we vote, and guess what, we voted your people out, and were gonna vote more of them out. Go ahead and cling to your guns religion and double wide trailer. The rest of us are going to move forward.

    • You will probably continue to be “baffled”, DWilli, if you can’t even use common sense to deduce that someone most likely can’t receive a degree in Political Science without reading the Constitution. He may very well have more knowledge about the Constitution and politics in his little pinky than you have……..did you mention your background and/or degree?

    • hahahaha…you’re silly.

    • Victoria Lamb

      What drivel.

  • Brian

    The Second Amendment. If Conservatives were truly “Second Amendment Advocates,” they’d be the first in line to sign up to defend this nation with all those NRA guns. Yet they are the first to viciously oppose that notion instead just wanting the right to own guns for everything but national defense.

  • Brian

    Article One, Section, 8, Line 12 which limits defense appropriations to only two years at a time to prevent the creation of a professional standing military. If Conservatives want to protect “We the People” FROM “the government,” then preventing the existence of a standing military is the best way to do it and just so happens to be exactly what the Founders intended when they wrote this portion of the Constitution.

    • steve

      James Madison opposed the idea of a standing army and also opposed a national bank. Then the War of 1812 came along and he changed his mind.

      • Brian

        As the 2nd Amendment makes clear, a militia of able bodied male citizens armed with their own firearms is the only lawful land defense and offensive force contemplated for America. It is to be supplemented by a standing navy intended primarily for defense, as provided for by Art 1, Sec 8. If it is regulated, we assume it has some military training and more uniformity.

        There is no provision in the constitution for any standing professional army. In fact, it was contemplated that the militia was to be the sole army and was to be assembled and regulated as necessary and disbanded otherwise. The founding Fathers strongly opposed a standing professional army. It was anathema and a threat to our freedoms.

        Article 1 Sec 8 grants Congress the power to raise and support such militia armies when needed but states that “no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years.” That was intended as a limitation on a standing army. Of course such an appropriation could be renewed as the continuing contingency of any on-going war necessitated. But the idea was for review for disbandment was to be considered after each two years of any wartime. Absent an on-going war, the regulated militia was to disband and any appropriation was to terminate at the end of that second year.

        So, in the absence of a standing military, this nation would be protected by a network of local well regulated Militias. The Second Amendment was based on the Pennsylvania Constitution, which at the time, required all able-bodied adult males to be a part of their local Militia. The guns were kept in the local armory to be used only for training and for conflict.

        The Second Amendment wasn’t written to protect us FROM Government, because the central government was never intended to wield direct control over a standing military and thus couldn’t be a threat. On the contrary, the Second Amendment was meant to PROTECT the government because Government was intended to be We the People. WE would hold the power of violence at the local level by mandating that gun owners would be members of their local well regulated Militia that would train in weapons and tactics appropriate to defend this nation whenever Congress declared an Act of War.

        This isn’t “Big Government” or “Fascism” or anything of the sort. It is the actual Constitution as intended. (sidenote: The SCOTUS “Heller” decision is what Gun Nuts point to as their “proof” that they can have unregulated gun ownership. See below)

        Thomas Jefferson first suggested not having a standing army, and he wrote a series of letters in 1787, as the Constitution was being debated, urging James Madison and others to write it into the Constitution. He suggested three provisions: a constitutional ban on a standing army, a provision making every able-bodied male a trained member of a local militia that could come under national control if the country was attacked, and a provision making sure every male had a weapon handy at home if that day ever came.

        The topic was hotly debated, and Alexander Hamilton wrote an extensive article about it, first published in the Daily Advertiser on January 10, 1788, an article now known as No. 29 of the Federalist Papers:3

        “If standing armies are dangerous to liberty, an efficacious power over the militia, in the body to whose care the protection of the State is committed, ought, as far as possible, to take away the inducement and the pretext to such unfriendly institutions….

        [A citizens’ militia] appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it…” – Alexander Hamilton

        Need more proof?

        Article 2 Sec 2 defines the powers of the President —
        “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;” The President is the commander in chief of the forces that are sent to war by the Congress. The forces that the president sends are temporary militias in service for no more than two years, except as necessary by continuing engagement.

        This structure was designed to prevent a continuously funded standing army because the Founding Fathers feared such an army. They required use of militia instead.

        James Madison: “As the greatest danger to liberty is from large standing armies, it is best to prevent them by an effectual provision for a good militia.” (notes of debates in the 1787 Federal Convention)

        Thomas Jefferson: “Nor is it conceived needful or safe that a standing army should be kept up in time of peace for [defense against invasion].” –Thomas Jefferson: 1st Annual Message, 1801. ME 3:334

        Thomas Jefferson: “The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force.” –Thomas Jefferson to Chandler Price, 1807. ME 11:160

        Thomas Jefferson: “The Greeks and Romans had no standing armies, yet they defended themselves. The Greeks by their laws, and the Romans by the spirit of their people, took care to put into the hands of their rulers no such engine of oppression as a standing army. Their system was to make every man a soldier and oblige him to repair to the standard of his country whenever that was reared. This made them invincible; and the same remedy will make us so.” –Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1814. ME 14:184

        “I am for relying for internal defense on our militia solely till actual invasion, and for such a naval force only as may protect our coasts and harbors from such depredations as we have experienced; and not for a standing army in time of peace which may overawe the public sentiment; nor for a navy which, by its own expenses and the eternal wars in which it will implicate us, will grind us with public burdens and sink us under them.” –Thomas Jefferson.

        “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended.

        Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.” – James Madison

        “Concerning the Militia.” It addresses a general distrust in standing armies, and especially in national control of the same. A “militia” is a body of armed men who are not soldiers by profession, but have been called together for the common defense. Hamilton suggests that properly organized local militias, available for national needs, would make a standing army unnecessary.”

        As Hamilton points out, it would be thoroughly impractical to discipline all the militia (armed citizenry) of the United States. Therefore, it is not a suitable proposition for the general defense of the nation. However, the state ought to organize its own militia “of limited extent,” which ought to render a standing national army unnecessary. He writes:

        “This will not only lessen the call for military establishments, but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist.”

        Our British heritage certainly recognized the distinction between a militia and a standing army. Our Founding fathers had no difficult with the distinction either. What they contemplated and used during the Revolution War was militias, although Washington wanted more. What the British used on American soil was a regular standing army.militia and a standing army. Our Founding fathers had no difficult with the distinction either. What they contemplated and used during the Revolution War was militias, although Washington wanted more. What the British used on American soil was a regular standing army.

      • Brian, it’s likely because I didn’t quote the citations you have here, but I put up this exact same line of thought on another discussion yesterday, and was called ‘delusional’ and ‘unpatriotic filth’ for it. The nutjob trying to abuse me thus was a vet, who was 100% against ANY sort of ‘gun control’ that’s going around so hotly. It was really odd to me, because I’m also a vet!

        Thank you for saying so eloquently what I was TRYING to say!

      • Brian

        The irony of Gun Nuts is that they vehemently use the unconstitutional “DC vs Heller” decision as their justification for unlimited unregulated gun ownership and use. But the Heller decision, as erroneous as it is, recognized the need for certain regulation on gun usage and ownership. These same Gun Nut rubes who proclaim their so-called “natural right” to own any guns they want for any reason the desire have never bothered to actually read the Constitution, the Heller decision, the Miller decision, or the Federalist Papers. Their primary source of “information” are the NRA and the gun cite website.

        What’s most interesting to me is that the Gun Nuts are the ones who loudly proclaim that THEY are the ones who are most patriotic and LOVE this nation…. yet they are the first to reject the idea that gun owners should be the Citizen Militia responsible for national defense, just as the Founders desired via the Second Amendment. These “Patriots” fight tooth and nail to defend their “right” to own guns for self-defense, hunting, and target practice, but absolutely abhor the Second Amendment mandate that THEY train in well regulated Militias for the purpose of national defense.

  • Well done article, but it is just preaching to the choir I suspect ( see example below where whole point is missed )_ Maybe there are not enough monosyllable words or those on the right just don’t want to see the truth. Facts do have a Liberal bias.

  • kleehoff

    I am in love with Allen Clifton…can’t believe he is a Texan. If there were more like him there, I might never have left.

  • SHARING!

  • Hah, You all have fallen right into the trap. You are all separated. Too busy focusing on who is a republican and who is a democrat while they take your rights away using rubbish data and holding the ones you currently should have at bay. Constitution provides for complete freedom including freedom from the government. That was the whole purpose of this country. Now we are ruled by politicians who take it in the ass by corporations and bankers. We own ourselves, take self-responsibility knowing that. I am a libertarian.

    • You are an anarchist. The Constitution provides freedom FROM government? What orifice did that squirt out of?

      • poster1a

        The constitution is a document limiting the powers of government against the people. You are ill-informed.

  • LawsAngeles

    Though I agree with its general sentiment, this is pretty bad op-ed, based on a fallacy of misrepresentation. Conservative Republicans (and particularly libertarians) generally like to consider themselves “traditional constitutionalists.” That is, they tend to believe that the meaning of the Constitution is eternal and set in stone. The issues they have are with the liberal, “living constitutionalist” approach to certain judicial interpretations. The author cites several Supreme Court decisions as if those decisions are and always have been represented the same way. The fact of the matter is that those decisions are merely opinions; opinions which are rarely unanimous among all 9 justices.

    • BUT, these ‘opinions’ given by SCOTUS form the basis of LAW, so you can’t just dismiss them as such. Roe V. Wade IS the law of the land, and it’s TOTALLY based on SCOTUS opinion. These 9 people are not just some folks sitting around discussing the news and events of the day, they are chosen representatives of judiciary interpretation. They are EXPERTS, having accomplished enough in their professions of law to be considered as such BY OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS, WHO ACCEPT OR REJECT THEM FOR THEIR LIFETIME APPOINTMENTS.

  • Hunter

    I’m a left leaning moderate. I vote democrat. That said, all of you god damn hypocritical people make me sick.

    “You people need to get it through your heads that the constitution matters, you’re gonna have to live with people having rights you don’t necessarily agree with because it’s their RIGHT!”

    “Fair enough, but how does that not apply to a ban on weapons of any kind”

    “OH MY GOD YOU PSYCHO HILLBILLY GIVE IT UP, GUNS KILL PEOPLE YOU LUNATIC!”

    I don’t care if you don’t like guns, the ownership and operation of them is protected under the bill of rights. You don’t get to preach constitutional law until you stop trying to ban guns. And before you people come back with the response of “No one is suggesting that we just wanna ban SOME guns.” That still counts, a ban on assault weapons or magazines above ten rounds is still a violation of the second amendment.

    • Juliet Neary

      I have two words for you — well regulated. And that, Mr. Not A Constitutional Scholar, is why we can ban or limit assault weapons. The Constitution doesn’t say sh*t about magazines.

      Have a nice day.

      • Hunter

        I have three words for you. Evolution of Language.

        The definition of militia at the time included any healthy white male capable of operating and using a weapon, accounting for progression of civil rights and women’s rights it would now be something along the lines of “Anyone who can own and operate a weapon”

        Well regulated didn’t mean regulated by the state, it meant in observance of the natural rights of mankind. As for the comment about magazines, don’t even pretend your stupid enough to make that argument. Of course something written in the early 19th century didn’t provide for magazines, also please make at least SOME effort to understand something before you try to regulate it, the vast majority of handguns above a sub-compact class have a factory standard magazine size of well over ten rounds, and any company outside of America would not be required to manufacture magazines smaller than the default

        Once again, you don’t get to accuse people of ignoring the constitution when you do it yourself

      • Juliet Neary

        You can’t have it both ways. Language either changes or it doesn’t. It has to be literally in the Constitution or it doesn’t. But you can’t have one side when it suits you, then change when that position gets incovenient.

        I can accuse people of ignoring the Constitution whenever I want, but especially when they do. It’s a free country.

    • Wrong, pal, on one count; limiting magazine capacity is NOT a gun infringement. Wrong, pal, on another count; gun ownership is NOT an absolute right, and if you don’t believe that, go try to buy a full-automatic weapon without a Class III license. MY opinion is, these “assault weapons”, which are BY DESIGN a civilianized copy of military hardware, should be Class III as well. That isn’t a BAN, either, it’s a limitation based on QUALIFICATION. You can’t just BUY a Class III license, you have to check off some points on the list.

    • Not very educated on the Constitution are you?

  • wlchr5

    You haven’t even touched what they are doing in Michigan!!!

  • This article shows a poor understanding of the issues, of history, and of what people on the Right actually believe.

    • I do believe that there have been more than the fair share written on what the “Right actually believe”. Most of it is out of the Bible that has nothing to do with the Constitution and laws.

  • jmiki

    who do these guys think there are? Go away!

  • LibsAreStupid

    You left wing nut jobs are crazy. In this, clearly one sided article, it says that true freedom is the acceptance of others thoughts and beliefs. Obviously you idiots aren’t following your own teachings. You have no acceptance of my beliefs because you say that my beliefs are contrary to your beliefs, and around and around we go. It all boils down to the fact that liberals are very tolerant……..as long as you believe the way they do. Wake up. Your supreme leader is taking this country down the path towards destruction and you, the loyal followers, are too fucking stupid to realize it.

    • PhDMIT

      As the saying goes, everyone is entitled to their own set of opinions, BUT NOT THEIR OWN SET OF FACTS. I don’t care how fervently believe it, 2 plus 2 does NOT equal 5. The FACT is that 2 plus 2 equals 4. Science and math are not “lies from the pit of hell,” as famously said by a Republican on the House Science and Technology Committee!!!!

  • poster1a

    Please explain a well regulated digestive tract. It means in good working order not a hindrance of government.