The Constitution's 27 Amendments in our daily lives
November 27, 2002 8:18 AM   Subscribe

“A nation is little more and nothing less than a conversation. [T]he conversation that is the United States has continued for more than 200 years as a lover's quarrel between equality and justice.” A gallery of ways this “conversation” is still taking place in the ways we live the Constitution’s 27 Amendments every day.
posted by arco (9 comments total)
Among the rights guaranteed by the Amendments is, apparently, the right to bear arms against dirty dishes.
posted by arco at 8:20 AM on November 27, 2002

A nation is little more and nothing less than a conversation.
werner erhard lives!
posted by quonsar at 8:30 AM on November 27, 2002

200 years as a lover's quarrel between equality and justice

So our political threads are Like Lover's Quarrels. This explains some things, maybe.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:46 AM on November 27, 2002

My political science professor in college expressed this in a very similar way. However, instead of justice, he explained it as a conversation between equality and liberty.
posted by trox at 8:53 AM on November 27, 2002

Conversations are destroyed when someone comes in and shouts everyone else down.
posted by rushmc at 9:09 AM on November 27, 2002

Or - an outside view - there's a more conventional polarity between liberal and authoritarian mindsets. A country that on the one hand celebrates life, liberty and pursuit of happiness - yet on the other can from to time throw up basically puritanical systems such as Prohibition. Or one that contains constitutional guarantees for freedom of thought and even for citizens to overthrow the system of government - yet which historically has produced episodes like McCarthyism based on an intense horror of certain thoughts and of those who might want a different system of government.
posted by raygirvan at 11:03 AM on November 27, 2002

Read the blurb on the 27th amendment. Apparently, Gregory Watson, while researching a paper, discovered this amendment awaiting ratification for 200 years!
posted by devo at 11:10 AM on November 27, 2002

Wow, this is cool. Who knew that a mainstream newspaper would devote newsprint to a civics lesson, in this day and age. Pretty encouraging.

For completeness sake, here's some debate on the "missing" 13th amendment, supposedly ratified in 1819, that prohibits people with titles of nobility from serving in federal government. Neoconservatives think this means that since attorneys are called "Esquires", all lawyers should be kicked out of elected office. Which would make things quite interesting.
posted by PrinceValium at 12:15 PM on November 27, 2002

PV, the people who think that are not neoconservatives, so far as I know. They're a fringe anti-tax, anti-state right faction. A true neocon might endorse it with a smirk, but the difference is that he'd know better.

Although I've heard there are literally hundreds of potential amendments introduced into Congress over the years, only a few have actually passed and been proposed to the states (for instance, the GOP makes a point of entering a balanced-budget amendment bill the first day of every session, and there are also frequent proposals regarding flag desecration and abortion). The House maintains a list. And the article was wrong; under the terms of that first-introduced amendment, today's House of Representatives would have fifty-six hundred members. They'd need that retractable dome after all. Maybe the right should gin up a movement to pass that one; a Congress that big couldn't get anything done at all.
posted by dhartung at 3:10 PM on November 27, 2002

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