The Washington Post: It's Time For Progressives to Reclaim the Constitution
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
I guess it depends on what you mean by a Progressive and I would certainly include EJ Dionne as an actual Progressive. But today's so-called Progressives seem to believe and are constantly arguing that the U.S. Constitution is outdated and outlived it's usefulness. And it should be scrapped for something else and we should perhaps even scrap our federal form of government and become a social democracy with a unitary government that is common in Europe.
Today's so-called Progressives aren't Progressives really and not center-left Democrats. But are really further left and people who would be called Social Democrats or Socialists in Europe. If anything they would scrap the Constitution all together and go to a complete majoritarian rule society where the majority always rules. But if you want to talk about real Progressives, or EJ Dionne, or Lyndon Johnson who I believe is a better example of a real Progressive better than Franklin Roosevelt, then we can talk about what a progressive Constitution looks like.
I blog a lot about the differences between Liberals and Socialists and even to a certain extent the Liberals and Progressives. But here is one area where Liberals and Progressives both agree on. We both at least generally support the United States Constitution and our federalist form of government. That limits government especially the Federal Government. We both believe in most if not all of the amendments to the Constitution. And we both believe the Constitution needs to be interpreted in a way that makes sense with modern American life and keeps up with the times.
To me as someone who wouldn't technically qualify as a Progressive at least today, but I'm definitely a Liberal which again is different, I guess the idea of a progressive Constitution is something that protects the rights of all Americans equally. It doesn't say some people have more rights other than the Constitution than others especially organizations over individuals. And that the Welfare Clause covers society and gives government the ability to look after society as a whole including individuals.
Progressives are more federal and nationally oriented than Liberals. But that doesn't mean that they are unconstitutional, meaning they are against the Constitution. It just means they believe the Federal Government has a major role to address all the concerns of the country. And not just leave it up to states, locals and private sector. And under the Welfare Clause and Commerce Clause you can make a case they are within the Constitution. As long as they are simply not trying to nationalize every organization and government program that has something to do with society's welfare.
And under this if you are a real Progressive it is not so much that you want the the Federal Government to do everything and try to manage the affairs of Americans lives. But that you believe the Federal Government has a role and responsibility to address the needs and concerns of Americans lives in more of a supportive role. And has a role, but not the only role when it comes to concerns that country as a whole. And to me at least this would be the view of a progressive not social democratic or socialist view of what the U.S. Constitution is and should be.