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GOP Platform’s Hideous Plan to “Rebirth” the Constitution

* The following is an opinion column by R Muse *

If Americans weren’t so inherently ignorant, all of them would understand that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. If all Americans were aware of that rudimentary fact, they would likely better comprehend why an overwhelming majority of actions the Republican Party base and funders support are patently unconstitutional and violate the 227 year old ‘Law of the Land.’

The problem with Republicans, and there are many problems, is that not only do they violate their sworn oath to defend the Constitution, they have demonstrated as of late that they fundamentally reject the Constitution as the law of the land. This is not conjecture anymore because according to a section of the 2016 Republican Party official Platform, the Constitution as the immutable law of the land is a principle they reject out of hand; and they have a plan to “reshape” the founding document to fit their tyrannical theocratic and plutocratic vision of American society.

There is a world of badness in the GOP Party platform, but nothing as dangerous to America’s 238 year existence as one overlooked section devoted to “reforming” the Constitution. Republicans do not love the Constitution as they are wont to iterate and now it is officially part of the party platform. In fact, they are so opposed to the “current document” that the official party platform dedicated seven of 66 pages to a revealing sectioned called “A Rebirth of Constitutional Government.”

In order to “rebirth” the 227 year-old “Law of the Land,” Republicans combined “the most radical ideas offered by modern day libertarian scholars with the rhetoric of Christian conservatism” in their vision that will “rebirth America.” Subsequently, this “rebirthed” Constitution idea fundamentally reforms the current Constitution, and American society according to “a distinctly Republican version of the Constitution:” one that allows them to rule according to religion, Koch-style libertarianism and oligarchy.

The official Republican plan to “rebirth” the Constitution opens with a decidedly theocratic declaration of set-in-stone Party principles:

That God bestows certain inalienable rights on every individual, thus producing human equality; that government exists first and foremost to protect those inalienable [god] rights; that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights; and that if God-given, natural, inalienable rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rights, God-given, natural, inalienable rights always prevail.” (author bold)

As is typically the case with anything Republican, their reshaping the Constitution platform includes claims about what they determine are the nature of god-given natural rights, the least of which is that only Republicans understand and are authorized to mandate what god natural rights entail. For example, besides a ‘god-given’ right to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections, there is the ‘god-given’ natural right of organizations to “set their own membership standards” free from Constitutional anti-discrimination laws.  And, there is the theocratic god-given “freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs;” even when those beliefs call for defying long-settled federal or state laws and the Constitution.

Those examples, according to Republicans, are just a small sampling of rights that Republicans claim are “not given to us by the government, but are rights they inherently possess” because they are naturally from the Christian god. They therefore automatically supersede any and all federal and state laws and of course naturally nullify the one document Republicans lust to reform because if prevents them from ruling according to what they say is god-given rights, the United States Constitution.

Buried within those seven pages toward a new Constitution is what Ian Millhiser at Think Progress rightly asserts is “the Platform’s single most radical line.” In addition to claiming that the First Amendment protects the god-given natural right to spend unlimited money on elections despite campaign finance laws, or commit discrimination in the name of religion despite the 1st and 14th Amendments,  Republicans included “this remarkable statement: The government cannot use subsequent amendments to limit First Amendment rights.” Radical, although an apt term, does not quite cover the encompassing danger of a prohibition on the government passing laws, constitutional amendments, or judicial rulings using the Constitution to protect against tyranny.

This should be an outrage of epic proportion to all Americans because not only do Republicans, by way of their “theocratic Platform,” unilaterally interpret the First Amendment according to the Koch brothers and evangelical extremists, it “proclaims that the Republican interpretation of the First Amendment is impervious even to a new constitutional amendment that repudiates this [Republican] interpretation!”

What that means is, for example, a Democratic Congress and the states somehow ratify a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United v. FEC. However, the Republican position is that the amendment would automatically be null and void according to their godly natural rights concept explained in the GOP 2016 platform. It also means that interpretation of the Constitution is the sole purview of the Republican Party and its corporate and religious overlords, depending on how they invoke their idea of what are their ‘god-given’ natural rights. Neither the Supreme Court, federal district and appellate judges, nor the United States Congress will have any say in overruling the GOP’s interpretation of what “god-given” natural rights are in perpetuity. This concept should frighten every American who draws a breath.

Now, many will say that a political party’s platform is more of a guideline than a set-in-stone agenda, and that is fundamentally true for Democrats. However, this idea of rewriting the Constitution to comport with religious extremists, fascists, and plutocrats is not a guideline because it has been a long-standing Republican goal; they just failed to come up with a clever means of seeing their mission to fruition. In fact, to demonstrate how open Republicans believe their base is to reshaping the Constitution and American society, this past week former Florida governor Jeb Bush said that if Democrats fail to go along with the Republican agenda, then Republicans will be “calling a constitutional convention of the states.”

As much as Republicans claim they love the Constitution, they have slowly built a means of ‘reshaping’ it to better fit the evangelical and corporate vision of America with Republicans playing god. They have systematically crushed Democrats in the states and are just 7 state majorities away from giving the Koch brothers and evangelical extremists the power to call for a constitutional convention; something the corporate and theocratic fascists have wanted for decades.

If any American believes Republicans will not invoke Article V of the currently-endangered U.S. Constitution to create a new god-centered law of the land, they are dangerously in error. The Republican Party platform’s section on ‘reshaping’ the Constitution is a temporary solution to sate vengeful evangelicals and power-hungry plutocrats intent on fundamentally creating a new nation and law of the land to better fit with what Republicans decide are the ‘godly natural rights the current Constitution does not allow.

There is no doubt Republicans have sufficient support among their religious, racist, and corporate supporters to ‘reform’ the Constitution to better fit their worldview, and this is not down to Donald Trump as the fascist nominee. If they aren’t constantly passing patently unconstitutional legislation in the states, they are railing on the judicial system as corrupt for ruling according to the law of the land, the Constitution. If Americans aren’t terrified of Republicans invoking god as the law of the land in their party platform, they should be quaking that Republicans have appointed themselves as the sole arbiters of what are god-given natural rights and they are not remotely afraid of publishing their intent in the Party Platform.

h/t IanMillhiser

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