Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reading the Constitution

Consonants and vowels alike have tragically died as people write about the U.S. House of Representatives and its reading aloud of the U.S. Constitution -- for apparently, as best we can tell, the first time in history.  That alone is kinda interesting.

But whether this is a cynical gimmick or meaningful gesture, it probably depends in part on your political predisposition.  I'd side with gimmick, if only because the document itself is dense, disconnected from everyday policy, and will have little or no informative or educational benefit.  In other words, people won't suddenly learn anything by hearing it read aloud.  There will be no "Oh my God" moments, assuming anyone can stay awake long enough to listen to the thing.  It's a brilliant piece of writing and political thinking, but in terms of suddenly having people think a certain (or any) way about democracy and Congress and policy and laws?  No, no effect at all.

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