The spin around the recent first-time reading aloud of the U.S. Constitution by the Republican-dominated 112th Congress was a public relations ploy. The often tearful GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) has outlined an agenda for the new congress promising to put an end to the “business as usual in Washington” while drafting legislation more closely tied to the U.S. Constitution.
Ironically GOP Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the key proponent for the historical January 6 reading on the House floor, created a snafu just days earlier during a national TV interview when he did not know if past minimum wage legislation was constitutional. Goodlatte is a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over Constitutional amendments and other issues pertaining to the U.S. Constitution.
A couple of hours were spent reading the U.S. Constitution as some networks covered the spectacle live but not in its entirety. The fallout however was mixed. Many media pundits questioned the purpose of the reading even calling it a waste of time and taxpayer money but could appreciate the historical moment. Confusion and indifference pretty much dominated the responses from online chat rooms and messages boards.
Most Americans believe that Congress already should know the U.S. Constitution and were dumbfounded by the move. Be that as it may, most U.S. citizens don’t know their own history as well as the U.S. Constitution’s seven articles and 27 amendments.
No doubt the January 6 reading was pure pomp and circumstance. Regardless of the GOP’s motives, it’s vital that Americans know their history, especially the U.S. Constitution. Maybe the reading spurred renewed interest in history among the electorate. If not, then it will still be business as usual in America.