ALERT - President Bush is repeating the words "values" and "sacred" in his speeches. Through strategic repetition of these words, the Bush White House aims to undermine America's faith in the Constitution. The Constitution of the United Sates embraces all...

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Jeffrey Feldman, Editor-in-Chief
Frameshop, 02/03/2005

ALERT - President Bush is repeating the words "values" and "sacred" in his speeches. Through strategic repetition of these words, the Bush White House aims to undermine America's faith in the Constitution.

menThe Constitution of the United Sates embraces all people, defends every religion, upholds our communities, and stands guard over the great American principles of equality, prosperity and fairness. Unfortunately, President Bush treats the Constitution as an obstacle on the narrow path he is forcing America to tread--a path that leads to division, weakness and bigotry.

FACT - The following words do not appear in the Constitution of the United States:

  • sacred
  • values
  • God
  • marriage

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"...Sacred Institution..."
The Bush White House is pathologically hostile to the American values of equality and prosperity for all. They believe that America should be a two-tiered system--an apartheid system in which gays, lesbians and bisexuals do not enjoy the full privilege of American citizenship. This Bush vision America is rooted in the value of inequality.

Now...the big obstacle standing between the Bush White House and this apartheid vision of America is the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution is such a powerful founding and enduring part of America, that the Bush White House knows they would lose all legitimacy if they just ignored it. In fact, even though they do not believe in the principles of equality and unity that are the core of the Constitution (in which the word "united" and it's variations is mentioned over and over and over again)--they still believe that their radical vision of apartheid American must be justified by the Constitution.

So they the solution they have devised is to reframe the Constitution itself. Let's take a look at how they do it. Here is a quote from the State of the Union address in which the word "sacred" appears:

Our second great responsibility to our children and grandchildren is to honor and to pass along the values that sustain a free society. So many of my generation, after a long journey, have come home to family and faith, and are determined to bring up responsible, moral children. Government is not the source of these values, but government should never undermine them.

Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be re-defined by activist judges. For the good of families, children, and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage.

The "magic words" in this quote are "sacred institution." Is marriage a "sacred" institution? Some people think it is, there's no question about it. It's definitely "sacred" from some people's perspective.

The other "magic words" are "foundation of society." IS marriage the "foundation" of American society? Again, some people might think so. I think marriage is pretty cool. But I don't think it's the foundation of society. If marriage was the foundation of society, then without marriage, society would collapse. To my knowledge, there's no aspect of society that has collapsed because of the absence of marriage.

But here are the questions we should be asking: Since American Society is founded on the Constitution of the United States, then if marriage is the "foundation" of society--then there should be a clear statement in the Constitution about how imprtant marriage is to society. This seems logical.

Well, I checked the Constitution. Strange...the Constitution does not have a section where it discusses marriage as the foundation of society. In fact, the word "marriage" is not in the Constitution. That's right. The word "marriage" is not in the Constitution of the United States.

Hmmm. That's strange.

What about the phrase of "sacred institution"? Not in the Constitution.

What about the just the word "sacred"? Nope.

"Values"? Nyet.

"God"? (not in the Constitution)

"Religion"? Found it! It's mentioned once in the Establishment Clause. It says that our government should keep Religion and government separate. Why? So that people can be free to practice and enjoy religion. That's right: the Constitution protects religion by telling us to keep it out of government.

The Framers of the Constitution
Reframing the Constitution so that it meets George W. Bush's apartheid vision of America is hard work. But it's easy to spot the "magic words" that make it happen.

A gay marriage amendment to the Constitution of the United States will never pass. But the President's real goal is to drive a wedge between the American people and the American ideal of equality. That's what he's doing when he talks about "sacred institutions." Once Bush convinces enough people that equality is not a core value of America, then those State Constitutions will start to drop like flies.

It is quite remarkable that the President--who takes an oath to "uphold" the Constitution--has arrogated to himself the job of "framer" of the Constitution. Remarkable indeed.

To get to a new frame so we can think more clearly, all we need to do is read the Constitution:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

These are the core values of American society as listed in the Pre-Amble of the Constitution: The People, Unity, Justice, Tranquility, Defense, General Welfare, Liberty, Providing for Future Generations.

Sign me up! These are principles worth fighting for.

The President is working against--actively working against--every one of these values.

The People: This President hides in secrecy from the People.
Unity: This President divides the country to rule it.
Justice: This President hired a judge to write a memo making torture legal.
Tranquility: This president has invaded two countries.
Defense: Despite clear warnings from his own government, this President ignored Al Qaeda.
General Welfare: This President is pushing programs to dismantle all Social Welfare provisions.
Liberty: This President seeks to limit the rights of women, homosexuals, teachers and others.
Providing for Future Generations: This President seeks to eliminate Social Security.

The American Frame
Besides restating the Pre-Amble, what is our frame?

Well...restate the Pre-Amble! It's got it all. Maybe it sounds a bit old fashioned, but it still works.

Here's how I say it:

We believe in prosperity and opportunity; safe communities, healthy families and great schools; protecting nature; investing in the future; and leading the world with the strength of our example

Saying "we believe in values" is not actually an American value. The actual values we hold are clearly stated in our Constitution and as Americans, our job is to interpret them and apply them, not spin them away.

IF we get drawn into the debate about "sacred" institutions or about marriage as the "foundation" of society--if we go for that bait, then we will contribute to, not fight, the Bush White House effort to transform this country back into a full-fledged apartheid system.

© Jeffrey Feldman 2005, Frameshop

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