Constitution Day: Three Things That Would Surprise the Framers, by Rita Peters

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We the People, US Capitol, Constitution

By Rita Peters, The Stream, Sept. 17, 2021

Rita Peters is a constitutional attorney, the author of Restoring America’s Soul: Advancing Timeless Conservative Principles in a Wayward Culture and co-host of the weekly radio program, “Crossroads: Where Faith and Culture Meet.”

Rita PetersThis Constitution Day, we celebrate ideas written on parchment that have stood the test of time. The structure crafted by liberty-loving men in 1787 is still the world’s model for government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

That said, we surely don’t do government today in the way the Framers expected. Here are the things I think would surprise them most.

1. Career Politicians

According to the Congressional Research Service, in the 19th century members of Congress came in with about three years of prior service. Today it’s about nine years — and that’s only the average. Half of today’s Congressmen have been there for 20 years or more. That’s a long time to “serve.”

While he did not help draft the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson’s attitude toward public service is a good example of the Founders’ thinking on this point. He thought we should elect “persons attached to republican government and the principles of 1776; not office-hunters, but farmers whose interests are entirely agricultural. Such men are the true representatives of the great American interest and are alone to be relied on for expressing the proper American sentiments.”  …

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