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The US Constitution

A number of recent items in the news -- in particular, Proposition 8, the Arizona illegal immigration act and the controversy regarding the building of a mosque a few blocks from Ground Zero -- have recently made me very appreciative of the Constitution. These issues have reminded me that there is always the hope that Constitution (the liberal interpretation of it, that is) will save this country from its citizens' worst excesses and impulses. Without it, we would face the very real possibility of a tyranny of the majority.

The fact that a majority of people support a particular law or cause is not sufficient justification for that issue. It's too bad that so many people don't understand this. The fact that judges can overturn laws as unconstitutional is a feature of our system, not a flaw, and I don't understand the fetishism that so many carry for rule of a simple majority. What I really find amusing, though, is the delicious irony inherant when conservatives who rail against activist liberal judges gush with enthusiasm when courts overturn liberal legislation that they vigorously oppose. I guess judicial activism is only a problem when you disagree with a particular result.

However, this doesn't mitigate the frustration I feel regarding much of American society. There are a lot of ignorant idiots and deceitful ass-holes in influential positions, and because of how well they shape the public discourse, my pessimism regarding this country's future does frequently get the better of me. But, the good news is that despite frequent setbacks, temporary reversals, and even lengthy periods of stagnation, so far we as a nation have continued to move forward in terms of ensuring equal rights for everyone. I need to remind myself of this more often, and not fixate on the hateful rhetoric and actions of those who seek to impede the progress we've made.

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