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Author Topic: Why is it Americans are so stuck on their constitution?
Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 23:20      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dude, you make that sound so dirty.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 23:44      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Besides, it's all about the nitrile, right? [Wink]

/quit sleep...and I can't think of a better joke

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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted January 11, 2008 00:29      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Colonel Panic:
I am not as cynical as Steen.

The appreciation of the American Constitution goes beyond hyped mythology.

The founding of this nation came at the dawn of the industrial revolution, and was heavily influenced by thinking that drove Adam Smith to write "The Wealth of Nations" -- a document that described how an industrial economy would work. Fundamental to that thinking was free speech, individual freedom to determine one's fortune.

It also was conceived with an extreme distrust of organizations ---whether that was organized religion or government. And it described a form of government where the shortcomings of organized institutions were pitted against each other.

Ultimately, it set the individual above organizations, setting the groundwork for the legend of rugged American individualism.

It is not a perfect document. Among a spectrum of individuals no perfect document can be described. But it delivers enough promise that a college dropout can become the wealthiest man in the world, and a couple of kids in a garage can put all my music in the back of my pocket.

I think that is pretty cool.

Colonel Panic

I doubt I've ever agreed with CP more on anything more than this. (See, the Constitution really does have amazing powers!).

While I realize that America-bashing is the trendy thing to do on this forum, you really have to look past what you want to think about the U.S., and look at what really is there.

The Constitution is, as has been said before, the groundwork. It's like the libc of the United States; it manages a tough balance between the necessary evil that is a Federal Government, and the potential incapacities of the states to work together peacefully.

Is the Constitution invoked (often with the Founding Fathers) to further political agendas? Of course it is. "Hey, the Constitution seems to have worked out fairly well- seeing as to how it governs the most powerful nation on the face of the planet, and has been an example for several others; maybe if we can get people to associate that with our political ideas, they'll be more open to them!"

You can't honestly tell me that your respective politicians don't try to associate with something that resonates with your people on a national level. Just because a country isn't the US doesn't mean its political process is based upon sunshine and happiness.

Are there idiots in the country? Yes, there are. ( I'm talking about you, evangelical christians). Is there ideology asinine? Yeah, I think so. Is it a shame that their majority is enough to influence national policy?

Truly, it is. But isn't that kindof the beauty of the system? I mean, no matter how perverse, backwards, irrational, incomprehensible and defiant their ideology is, nobody can force them to think any other way. They believe what they want to believe, despite an intellectual environment that is, to say the least, hostile to their infatuation with hocus-pocus.

I used to think Germany was a pretty cool country. I still do- they do neat things with alternative energy. But then I read about their laws regarding free speech and the Holocaust.

Basically, it doesn't exist. While I can think of no rational reason for somebody to want to publicly deny the holocaust, if someone did they shouldn't have to give a reason.

We don't have that here. You can be as much of an anti-semitical douchebag as you please, and nobody can do anything about it- so long as your douchebaggery is restricted to the verbal. The right to swing your fist ends at my nose, so to speak.


There is no denying that the Feds have done some disgruntling things recently; wiretapping is just one of them. The keyword, though, is recently. It can change. Hopefully, it will. The most unfortunate thing about the whole political climate is that the one alternative party that might have a chance at reversing some of the idiotic things the current administration has implemented via the Federal government is the same party that generally espouses a larger Federal role in, well, everything.

The reason I don't like the Feds having power is because limited power directly inhibits the ability of previously-mentioned lunatic majorities to dramatically impact how I live my life; if I wake up gay one day, I probably want to be able to get married. If my girlfriend gets pregnant, I'd rather have the option of trying to convince her to get an abortion before pushing her down my staircase; other people may not choose that route (the abortion one).

On the other side of the all-to-narrow political spectrum, we have people who want to take my money and give it to other people, many of whom really don't deserve it. Institutionalizing Robin Hood kind of takes away from the magic, doesn't it?

These same people also want to tell me that I can't own a gun, and that they should know about any guns I already own. Because, you know, some gangsta a thousand miles away decided to go on a drive-by and kill somebody's kid. If the cities (or even states) in which these things happen want to outlaw them, then I guess that's their prerogative. But at least it will be a decision made by the people who live there, not some politicians thousands of miles away who are really just trying to get in the good graces of the "Nosy Soccermom's Association".


The Constitution does encourage individualism- or at least it should, in my opinion. While American individualism and the "frontier personality" has been described as a myth on this board (a very eloquent piece of ego-stroking, if I do say so myself), it really isn't- at least not here, in the western part of the country. Those kind of people actually existed, and based their entire lives and families around that way of life; it's filtered down to us, their descendents, who have to balance it with a world in which dwindling resources and the very real threat of imminent demise as an industrial nation are always present. Those people who are not so weak-willed as to be able to survive without the help of the government are the ones who will prosper. The kind ones among them will aid their family, friends, community, state, and nation- in that order- on the path to greatness. I have no greater respect anybody, than for a person who has made their own destiny, speaks their own mind, and voluntarily helps those around them.

Thank whatever Gods you will that the Constitution allows that.

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted January 11, 2008 01:30      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I love how everyone reads what they want to into my posts.

I never said the constitution was bad. In fact, I'm of the opinion that it's the best basis for a government that I've seen. It's not perfect, but that's why we have amendments (and the amendments aren't perfect either, which is why we can and have repealed them).

Snaggy did not ask if the constitution was a good document, however... he asked why we're so stuck on it. I provided the explanation for why that symbol can be (and is) successfully misused by dishonest people in order to promote their agenda.

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted January 11, 2008 06:05      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Steen:
I love how everyone reads what they want to into my posts.

That is appropriate because in that respect they resemble the constitution itself! [Smile]

I don't want to drag out the rule of law/Guantanamo/torture arguments, but there are a couple of points to consider.

First that there is a substantial body of opinion that believes torture seldom if ever produces useful intelligence, so perhaps Red Five ought to be wary of claiming that its use has saved countless innocent lives, solely on the assurances of government agencies who have never been known to volunteer embarrassing information they could cover up. The trouble with this line of argument is of course that we will never know the answer until the relevant information is declassified, which will probably be never. Secondly IMO it is crazy to believe that a small number of Islamist terrorists could topple any Western democracy, and though of course we want to guard against terror attacks, I would rather live in a world that was slightly more dangerous and free, rather than one where police and security forces enjoy unchecked, and hence possibly arbitrary, exercise of their powers. I am not saying that we live in a police state, just that we have taken (IMO very regrettable and dangerous) steps in that direction.

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted January 11, 2008 07:12      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Callipygous ______________________ I usually agree with most all of your posts. However this last one so closely matches my feelings that I am totally in your camp on this one.

_____Thoughts from an old man, Back in the fall of 1966 I was stationed at the National Naval Medical Center. Bethesda Md. Johnson was President. The Hospital was the same one that did President Kennedy's autopsy. During my one year stay at NNMC I would often go down town Washington to see the sights, climb the steps at various monuments and walk through the museums. Climb the Washington Monument, it was free if you used the stairs.

______This past summer I and the Mrs took two of our Granddaughters to Washington to see the seat of Government. I was not prepared for the culture shock. Armed guards everywhere. To go up the Washington Monument you have to get tickets in advance and no using the stairs, where the individual States have their engraved stones, nope up to the top quick look, back down.

_____Smithsonian could not get in crowds to large to control, no we did not make arrangements to see our Congress person or Senators, Visit the White House, that requires a three month in advance request.

______I remember that in 1966 I could walk around the White House and get within about one hundred and fifty feet of doors and windows and still be on sidewalks out side the fence. Now a person can only get close to the ellipse fence and there are bomb sniffing dogs and handlers every where. Because it was approaching July Fourth the fireworks trucks were beginning to be parked around the reflecting pool and of course those had to be guarded.

______So Cally that is why I am in your camp.

That said there are a lot of public servants that think along the lines of "it's us against them," its not as if we pay their wages.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted January 19, 2008 23:02      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just in case any big fans of The Constitution were thinking of voting for Huckabee, I thought I'd throw in this little quote...

quote:
"I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that's what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards

-- Mike Huckabee, the American Taliban.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted January 19, 2008 23:24      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Okay...that's really scary. I mean, that's "scarier than W scary."

That's not a comforting thing to read before going to bed.

Still, I'm so glad I live in a blue state.

To borrow from touristy t-shirts: I [hearts] NY

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ASM65816
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Icon 2 posted January 20, 2008 23:43      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
January 08, 2008, 13:56
I don't quite understand why many people in the USA seem to revere their constitution as the be all and end all of all that is right, for all eternity.

(not specifically directed at the person quoted)
Many that comment don't understand (or accept) the fundamental reasons for:
  • Law
  • Government

FYI: If you basically "don't like government" then it makes no sense that you would care about (or admire) the US Constitution (or any other government's founding documents).

Saying "no human being can judge another human being" indicates little or no comprehension of the importance and how Law and Judgment and Punishment came into existence over 3,000 years ago (and has remained ever since).

Statements about government have been equally naive, like: No one is an enemy until a certified legal document from said party stating "I hereby declare my status as an enemy, in accordance with regulations, subject to ratification, and/or approval by duly appointed witnesses."

Several reasons to admire or revere the founding documents seem rather simple. (It's just a matter of some quick comparisons to current and older works.) Who "admires" the Microsoft EULA or US Code Title 17, Chapter 5, Paragraph 512, subparagraph (a)? -- as examples to think about.

Fundamentally the US government is a Republic -- similar to ancient Roman or Greek governments with minor modifications reflecting different political, social, and economic influences when it formed.

quote:
January 11, 2008, 06:05
Secondly IMO it is crazy to believe that a small number of Islamist terrorists could topple any Western democracy .....

Please don't try to pass off some lie that no major governments nor large religious organizations support terrorism against Western democracy.

Your statement is as thoughtful as "a small number of Navy SEALs couldn't do much damage."

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Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted January 21, 2008 03:19      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
ASM honey, I apologize.
Can we kiss and make up now? [hearts] [hearts] [hearts] [hearts] [hearts]

 -  -

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted January 21, 2008 08:38      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ASM65816:
quote:
January 11, 2008, 06:05
Secondly IMO it is crazy to believe that a small number of Islamist terrorists could topple any Western democracy .....

Please don't try to pass off some lie that no major governments nor large religious organizations support terrorism against Western democracy.

Your statement is as thoughtful as "a small number of Navy SEALs couldn't do much damage."

Yes indeedy! Well done you understand me. That is exactly and precisely my point - absolutely no major governments nor large religious organisations that I am aware of support terrorism against Western democracy. And calling that statement a lie does not make it so. In the context of the other problems facing the world, terrorism is quite a minor concern. For example though I am not suggesting this should happen, the US could withdraw completely from Iraq tomorrow, and though the consequences there would be horrible, and the immediate region would become even more unstable than it is now, unless Pakistan has an Islamist revolution, which is of course quite a big if, there would be little or no effect in the West.

Please keep any reply down to a couple of paragraphs if you want me to read it and reply back.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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ASM65816
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Icon 1 posted January 21, 2008 09:58      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ASM:
Your statement is as thoughtful as "a small number of Navy SEALs couldn't do much damage."

My criticism is that you "didn't think it out."
  1. A small number of men can kill thousands. It's a result of technology.
     
  2. Essentially all Islamic terrorism has been directed by organizations (which in part explains half a century of "small" terrorist attacks).

If terrorists could not attack the World Trade Center with anything more than sharp, "pointy" sticks, then I would dismiss the threat of terrorism against a major government as trivial. However, that is absolutely not the case.

quote:
Originally posted by ASM:
Several reasons to admire or revere the founding documents seem rather simple.

  • The US Constitution (as an example) is not a bunch of twisted legal jargon -- because it was written "by the citizens, for the citizens."
     
  • Lawyers produce legal documents motivated by money (and more billable hours) -- whereas motivation for the "founding fathers" was the establishment of a government that served more than a tiny elite (self-interest, extended to "the masses").

FWIW: This may be my absolute favorite phrase:
           "We hold these truths to be self-evident...."

(Conversely, "because god said so" may easily be the most repugnant.)

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Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted January 21, 2008 13:52      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
ASM honey, I apologize.
Can we kiss and make up now? [hearts] [hearts] [hearts]

(I'll do that thing you like, you know - with the handcuffs and the feather)

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted January 21, 2008 16:45      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ASM65816:
quote:
Originally posted by ASM:
Your statement is as thoughtful as "a small number of Navy SEALs couldn't do much damage."

My criticism is that you "didn't think it out."
  1. A small number of men can kill thousands. It's a result of technology.
     
  2. Essentially all Islamic terrorism has been directed by organizations (which in part explains half a century of "small" terrorist attacks).


If terrorists could not attack the World Trade Center with anything more than sharp, "pointy" sticks, then I would dismiss the threat of terrorism against a major government as trivial. However, that is absolutely not the case.

9/11 was a one off. It happened because it was a completely new form of attack, and was hence hard to guard against. Also before it happened, I would guess that most people would find it hard to imagine that anyone would do something so completely horrific. Since we have been disabused of that notion, we are much safer. Terrorists will certainly pull off other attacks (in Europe anyway) such as the London or Madrid bombings, but the odds against another attack on mainland America, let alone something on the scale of 9/11 is remote.

In any event while in no sense do I mean to diminish the horror and tragedy of these attacks, in strategic terms they are merely theatre, rather than an attack that poses any serious threat to either the functioning of the state, or the economy. Even 9/11 only caused a blip on the stock market, which then promptly bounced back.

I am not sure what point your item 2 was making. It does not support your contention that "major governments and large religious organisations" support terrorism.

So yes I think you can dismiss the threat of terrorism against any major government as being trivial, and much less important than the threat represented by surrendering all the safeguards and checks and balances your constitution is supposed to protect.

Thank you for keeping your answer brief. If you continue like this our discussion can as well.

--------------------
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Chesty
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Icon 1 posted January 21, 2008 22:27      Profile for Chesty         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ASM65816:

FWIW: This may be my absolute favorite phrase:
           "We hold these truths to be self-evident...."
[/QB]

Isn't That the Declaration of Independence?
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Chesty
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Icon 1 posted January 21, 2008 22:40      Profile for Chesty         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Remember the Preamble from Schoolhouse rock?

The second paragraph of the Declaration is a great statement, though:
quote:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
I won't bold the "endowed by their Creator" part, because we can all see how important the Idea of men being created is - They Capitalized Creator!
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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted January 21, 2008 23:15      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dincha know? Those archaic old documents have nothing to do with America. Not anymore. They're like moldy and shit. I mean, look at that typeface on the orginal. No one uses that anymore. Get with the times man. [Roll Eyes]

--------------------
And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted January 22, 2008 01:13      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesty:
quote:
Originally posted by ASM65816:

FWIW: This may be my absolute favorite phrase:
           "We hold these truths to be self-evident...."

Isn't That the Declaration of Independence?
ROTFSMPL !

Thanks Chesty, without your help I would have missed that.
Best laugh I've had in ages. [Applause]

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Icon 12 posted January 22, 2008 07:31      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesty:
I won't bold the "endowed by their Creator" part, because we can all see how important the Idea of men being created is - They Capitalized Creator!

Let's take a bet, shall we? How long will it takes before the US constitution is rewritten to get rid of all religious references? (Exception made for freedom of religion, of course.) My bid is on 70 years. Which means I probably won't live long enough to see it done.

A "to be fair" aside: I must say that the Canadian anthem in English includes a reference to God, too, and that most likely won't change any time soon either. Although in French, it doesn't directly; there's only a part about "bearing the cross." Sure, it relates to the Christ's calvary, but it is now mostly a figure of speech meaning going through tough times, to bear a heavy burden without trying to get away from it. Well, that's what it means in French, anyway - no idea if it's any different in English. Oh, and that's this part about "strong faith", but without telling which one - it could as well be interpreted as faith in ourselves, or general faith (into a positive outcome) as opposed to suspicion or defeatism.

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted January 22, 2008 08:34      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
Dincha know? Those archaic old documents have nothing to do with America. Not anymore. They're like moldy and shit. I mean, look at that typeface on the orginal. No one uses that anymore. Get with the times man. [Roll Eyes]

[Big Grin] [Big Grin] You am funny lady! [Smile]

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Icon 1 posted January 22, 2008 11:32      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
Dincha know? Those archaic old documents have nothing to do with America. Not anymore. They're like moldy and shit. I mean, look at that typeface on the orginal. No one uses that anymore. Get with the times man. [Roll Eyes]

Times New Roman? [Wink]
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ASM65816
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Icon 5 posted January 22, 2008 21:04      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Doesn't it make sense that people feel a connection to the US Constitution because of the perception that it was not written by career politicians and lawyers?

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted January 22, 2008 22:25      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Please ASM, entertain us some more, I could do with a good laugh.

Tell us all about how Paul Revere led the South to victory in the Civil War...

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Icon 1 posted January 23, 2008 14:42      Profile for Chesty         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Maybe the fact that few have read and understand the Constitution is why so few cherish it.


Contitution of the United States of America

Read it - only then can you intelligently discuss it.

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Icon 1 posted January 23, 2008 16:01      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Why link to a copy on Amazon? They have the whole thing online, along with a few other constitutional documents.

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Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere. - C. S. Lewis

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