The elected men and women sent to serve the American public in D.C. took a long needed approach in beginning this new phase, with what better than a reading of the United States Constitution.
“We the People”, began Speaker of the House, John Boehner, whose victory over former Speaker Nancy Pelosi caused a roar of applause on Wednesday, read with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle joining in, to remind us all of the prolific words found in the 222-year-old timeless treasure.
The endless bickering between the two parties was no exception during today’s remarkable decision to remember our country’s political past, present and future. Sections of the document faced scrutiny when Democrats questioned whether certain amendments, such as the three-fifths clause, deeming slaves only such a percentage of a person should be included. Echoing sentiments of a nation desperately needing to remember from whence she came, Republicans proceeded without reading sections later amended, such as Article I, Section 2.
The red team sounded off with vigor while the blue team, still reeling over their recent defeats, sounded a bit wounded at times. Despite a few minor sparrings, only one interruption occurred resulting in Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, calling a time-out. The temporary break was the result of a woman in the visitor’s gallery shouting a rebuttal to Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. reading “no person, except a natural-born citizen, or citizen of the United States”. The woman, whose name is not known at this time, was escorted out by Capitol police. Her remarks, of course, demonstrated the widely held belief that President Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen and therefore the Constitution is not applicable to him. In 2008, Obama’s campaign issued a birth certificate from Hawaii listing his official details. Still, the document has yet to gain acknowledgment of legitimacy in the eyes of many Americans.
While most would agree we need to find unity as a country, not all agree the reasons behind the reading of the Constitution were the most genuine in nature. Republicans, along with their comrades in the tea party, ran their respective races on the premise that Washington needs to return to its building blocks, which begins with the Constitution. Democrats, however, saw the decision to exclude select portions, particularly those mentioned above, as cowardly and worthy of raising a question mark.
An hour and a half after it began, the seven articles and 27 amendments of the Constitution were once again where they belonged—front and center on the minds of every Member, Republican and Democrat. And hopefully, as servants of the public from which they were sent, all will go home this evening with a sense of pride for upholding and reminding the country what it means to be “We the People”.