Many people seem to believe that the best moment at the Democratic Convention was the speech by Khizr Khan, in which he challenged Donald Trump, “Have you even read the U.S. Constitution?” Much as I dislike lots of other stuff that happened on stage at the convention, I strongly agree with this speech, which offered a strong defense of constitutional rights. The President of the U.S. takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, yet this presidential season has been remarkably light on talk about what that means. Another good example was given by Ted Cruz at the Republican Convention: “Freedom means free speech, not politically correct safe spaces. Freedom means religious freedom, whether you’re Christian or Jew, Muslim or atheist. Whether you’re gay or straight, the Bill of Rights protects the rights of all of us to live according to our conscience. Freedom means the right to keep and bear arms and protect your family.” But we’re not hearing that type of thing very often.
The problem being that neither major party seems to care much about the Constitution, and nor do most other people in government. Given the Article 12 thing, his promise to use torture, his threatened discrimination against Muslims, his apparent beliefs that as President he could unilaterally cancel or rewrite treaties, it’s fairly clear that Trump’s answer to the question would be no. But Khizr Khan could have turned to any number of people at the Democratic Convention and asked them the same question.
Hillary, you sponsored a bill that would have outlawed the burning of the American flag. Have you read the U.S. Constitution?
Bill, your administration repeatedly attacked freedom of speech and the press. Have you read the U.S. Constitution?
Congressional Democrats, you staged a sit-in to take away rights from Americans without due process. Have you read the U.S. Constitution?
President Obama your administration has attacked religious freedom and implemented policies that undermine free speech and due process for college students. Have you read the U.S. Constitution?
And for any government employee out there who’s arresting someone for free expression, or firing someone because of his religious beliefs, or punishing someone for speech, or torturing people, have you read the U.S. Constitution?
Perhaps in additional to all the various seminars and training for awareness of diversity and security and so forth that government employees go through, there should also be mandatory Constitutional awareness training. They should all learn that freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, trial by jury, ban on torture, and all other rights in the Constitution apply to all people at all times without exception.