Everything Old is New Again: The U.S. Constitution is Back in Fashion
What next, knee breeches and powdered wigs?
For years in political discourse a resort to quoting the U.S. Constitution was treated as a gasp of musty air from an irrelevant past. People turned their faces away. Scholars at places like the Claremont Institute tried to rouse the few who would listen with readings of Federalist # 51 and published books for eager students gathered by groups like ISI, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. But since the days of Prof. Woodrow Wilson, Ivy League universities taught that the Constitution should be interpreted as a "living document," which meant essentially that it had to change with the times. (And guess who got to decide what the "times" required?)
Then, about two years ago, ordinary people started reading the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and those hallowed old commentaries, the Federalist Papers. Talk show hosts like Glenn Beck, however eccentric and avuncular, started teaching about the Constitution on the air (are they allowed to do that?). Books about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who revered the Constitution, gained larger audiences. The Tea Partiers in 2010 started injecting the Constitution into everyday campaign speeches. Last month, the newly elected members of the House of Representatives opened its term with a serial reading of the Constitution--with members from both parties.