As ACS members know, our Constitution is under attack from tea partiers and other self-professed “constitutional conservatives” who have claimed the document as their own and distorted it to support their ideological agenda. Over the past two years, they have made increasingly extreme, and in some cases absurd, claims about our Nation’s charter. They started with calls to repeal a number of Amendments, including the part of the 14th Amendment that protects citizenship at birth. They progressed to claims that Social Security, Medicare, and portions of the Affordable Care Act are unconstitutional. It’s gotten to the point where it seems that many in the tea party believe the entire 20th Century was unconstitutional. Talk about a bridge to the 21st Century! The tea party movement seems to want to build a bridge back to the colonial era and the Articles of Confederation.
There is no greater threat to progressive values than this effort to make progress itself unconstitutional. This week, Constitutional Accountability Center and our partner organizations, including the Center for American Progress and People For the American Way Foundation, launched a coordinated effort -- Constitutional Progressives -- to take our Constitution back and rebut the constitutional fairy tales being peddled by tea party leaders. Our greatest assets in doing so are the text and history of the Constitution itself.
Constitutional Progressives celebratethe Framers for creating the best and most durable form of government in world history, but believe the Constitution today is better than the document ratified in 1789. Generations of Americans have made our country and our Constitution “more perfect” by ratifying Amendments that have eliminated slavery, protected liberty and equality, expanded the powers of the federal government, and secured voting rights for every adult citizen in America.
This story of constitutional improvement should inspire all Americans, and we’re asking people across the political spectrum to join Constitutional Progressives by signing the “Whole Constitution Pledge” -- a pledge to support the entire Constitution, including the Amendments adopted over the last 220 years. The Pledge can be signed on line, here. More than 15,000 people across the country have already signed. We’ve made a similar call to all Members of Congress, urging them on Constitution Day to reaffirm their constitutional oath of office -- their pledge to support the whole Constitution, not just the parts they like or find ideologically convenient.