Editor’s note: This commentary is by Deb Billado, chairwoman of the Vermont GOP.
During these 2020 presidential primaries, those who are watching have witnessed rhetoric from Democrat candidates that exhibits either a lack of understanding of, or a disregard for, our United States Constitution. It is only important to them when it furthers their narrative, and they are all too willing to ignore it when it does not. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land and was not intended to serve just the political motives of politicians. The Constitution needs to be followed as written and is the foundation of how the government is to function, and that does not change just because the politicians change.
Democrats and progressives seem willing to interpret the Constitution in ways that the founders would never have considered and surely did not intend. The First Amendment free exercise of religion is more often seen by partisan politicians who do not support religious liberty as not promoting religious freedom but instead freedom from religion. The right to bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment is daily being eroded by liberal politicians who could care less about what the Constitution says and means. There are many other areas where the Constitution is being ignored or subverted.
The Constitution is not a “living” document meant to be reinterpreted differently by every generation. The late Justice Antonin Scalia said that the Constitution is not a living document but a legal one and “should not be taken as a living, ever changing document”. This thinking ensures stability and certainty as to how government functions so our people can understand their place in the large scheme of being a citizen.
The Constitution was built to last and because it has and has allowed America to become the greatest nation ever to have existed on earth is testament to the wisdom of founders in making it hard to amend. There have been relatively few amendments to the Vermont Constitution in over two centuries but at present the supermajority Democrat legislature is considering nine amendments that are at various stages of consideration. Because of the supermajority power to have their way, we should be even more cautious about the changes in our foundational document that these partisans want. While the state constitutional amendment process is not as difficult as the federal one, it does present us with the opportunity to scrutinize and understand what they are up to and we should and will do that.
We should not be surprised in the hyper-political atmosphere we see in Montpelier that what is being proposed just may be more political than furthering of the best interest of the people. That is why it is so important that we elect conservative Republican members to the Senate and House in 2020 to provide a balance and prevent an abuse of the process in changing our basic guiding document. We must not be weakened further in our legislative representation and if we are, we can only blame ourselves for not running, encouraging those who do and most importantly, voting for our Republican candidates.