My friend, Barry invited Mike, Regina and Me to Coco-Cola Park in Allentown to watch the Iron Pigs beat the Durham Bulls on a beautiful early summer evening. You all know I love baseball and watching a game at Coco-Cola Park is always a treat. Barry’s company has seats on the first base side of the field just past the foul ball protective screen. The view of the field is great.
As I said this was a beautiful evening in early summer which includes bugs. When the sun went down all the bugs in the Lehigh Valley congregated at Coco-Cola Park and fluttered around with intense purpose just above our heads in the bright lights of the baseball park. A young couple with two boys, probably around ten years old, had been entertaining us during the game with their conversation and efforts to catch foul balls and t-shirts. One of the boys made our evening complete when he looked up into the dense swarm of bugs, turned to his mother and exclaimed, “I don’t know what’s going on but the snow is falling up!”
I don’t know what’s going on, but, have you heard one of the candidates for President of the United States frightening his supporters by claiming that his opponent will do away with the second amendment if she is elected? The same candidate goes on to encouraging his supporters to vote for him because he will protect their second amendment? Really? Does this candidate know how amendments happen? Do his supporters know how an amendment happens? Do you know how amendments to the constitution happen?
The guys who drafted the Constitution where no dummies! They knew the knowledge and experience they owned was not enough to write a document that would stand ‘as written’ for ever and ever. Being smart guys they included a means to make changes to the original document. Pretty smart for a bunch of guys who could not in their wildest dreams imagine, railroads, automobiles, interstate highways, telephones, television, mass production, flying machines, weapons that could shoot more than one time without reloading, the internet or computers.
Here is how the Founding Fathers allowed for the original Constitution to be changed. The idea is brilliant. The process goes like this: Article V of The Constitution reads; “The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three-fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;”
They talked funny in those days! The basic idea, for those who have difficulty translating early American legalize, for amending the constitution begins in two possible ways. First, both the Senate and the House by two-thirds majority may propose an amendment. Second, two-thirds of the several (these guys were so smart they didn’t give the number of states because they didn’t know how many states there may be in the United States) States may propose an amendment. Simply proposing an amendment does not make it valid. The proposed amendment must then be ratified (approved) by three-fourths of the States or by Conventions in three-fourths of the States. Pretty cool. The writers of the Constitution allowed for changes to the document but made the process difficult enough to ensure the change really was necessary.
The process has worked well except for the 18th amendment, ratified in 1920 which made it illegal to manufacture transport and sell alcohol (It wasn’t illegal to drink it!) That mistake caused much pain and lawlessness before being corrected by a new amendment (21st) in 1933.
The truth of the matter is, the President of the United States does not have the power to keep or remove an amendment. I don’t know what this candidate and his followers think is going on but, as far as I can tell, the snow is falling up!