The US Constitution is an ageless document


UNCW College Republicans

UNCW's College Republicans club with a table for Constitution Day on Sept. 17, 2019

Caroline Shaver, Contributing Writer

Constitution Day was on Tuesday, Sept. 17. My guess is that most students did not know that; it is not a widely celebrated holiday. After all, the only holidays college students know are the ones we get off from school, right?

Actually, Constitution Day is very important to some groups. UNC Wilmington’s College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom are examples of such groups. They celebrated last Tuesday by giving out candy and pocket Constitutions on Chancellor’s Walk.

Others are of a different mindset regarding our country’s founding document. One UNCW professor has characterized the U.S. Constitution this way (I’m paraphrasing in quotes):  “The Constitution was written by a bunch of twenty-year olds…so how great can it really be? In fact, since horses were the primary mode of transportation when the Constitution was written but now we drive cars, we might want to make a few modernizing changes to the Constitution.”

While I really enjoy and respect this professor, I do regret not raising my hand in that class to ask where horses are referenced in the Constitution. Did I miss that part? I should read it again.

I believe this professor was speaking a bit tongue-in-cheek, but some people genuinely believe this stuff.  For the record, James Madison was 36-years-old when he wrote the first drafts of the Constitution. Not only was he not a 20-something, but he was older than the current minimum age of eligibility to serve as president of the United States.

And what about that “horse and buggy” logic? Apparently, something about the fact that we have made technological advances suggests that we should re-tool the founding document which created the most free and most prosperous country in the history of the world? That assertion does not seem to hold water. Hopefully, nobody would argue that we should reconsider the 1st amendment because I am writing this article with a laptop computer rather than a quill and ink.

There are people at the opposite end of the opinion spectrum regarding the U.S. Constitution. Charlie Kirk, founder of the campus organization Turning Point USA, does not believe the U.S. Constitution should be scuttled or overhauled. Rather, Kirk declares that the United States’ Constitution is the greatest political document ever written, period.

For those in Kirk’s camp, Constitution Day is a big deal. It is the day Americans should remember the legacy inherited from our founders and the document that allows us to live with a degree of freedom like no other country ever before. Constitution Day should be something we all know and celebrate.

Kirk certainly has detractors who mock his praise of the Constitution. During his lecture at Arizona State University, Kirk was challenged by a student in the audience. The student asked how Kirk could hold the Constitution in such high regard “considering that the Constitution was based on racist principles.”

Kirk responded that this common misconception about the Constitution can be dispelled through actually reading the document. First, the Constitution says to provide for the welfare of all people. It does not say white or black, red or brown people; it says all people. Furthermore, our Constitution allows for an amendment process which allows for important modifications to be made. It was through the amendment process that slavery was abolished. The amendment process was used to gain women’s suffrage. The amendment process has allowed wrongs to be righted through careful and deliberate actions of our representative government.

Critics of the Constitution seem to miss the irony that, forgoing freedoms guaranteed by the 1st amendment, they would not be able to safely protest the government or our laws. Freedom of speech is not a right enjoyed by many countries. In some countries, you are unable to criticize the government and its policies for fear of being penalized or fined. Here, we criticize our government for allowing us the free speech to criticize.

To the advocates of diversity, you have won the lottery by being an American. Where else are different ideologies, religions and sexual preferences allowed to live in peace? The freedoms that you enjoy are a result of the Constitution and protected by it. To anyone who still doubts the greatness of our Constitution, I challenge you to produce a better one.

Happy Constitution Day, Seahawks!

For those interested in Charlie Kirk’s campus organization, a chapter will soon be forming on our campus. Email [email protected] for more information.