The implementation process of the US constitution has raised many questions into the minds of the citizens. Some feel that the constitution matters to some extent while others feel that the constitution is actually beneficial, and truly matters. However, some people do not believe the constitution matters. This essay addresses the constitutional issue through examining the works of two authors; “Does It Still Matter?” a book by Richard Stengel and “The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates that Define and our Country” by Howard Fineman.
In these two books, the argument is all about political grounds in both history and the present with arguments supporting the constitution and against the constitution. Fineman outlines 13 principal arguments that affect the politics of the US. On constitutional matters, Fineman looks at those who judge the Law and what the right balance is between local and national authority. Stengel, on the other hand, argues that the constitution is a guardrail meaning that it is just for guarding people when they are going off road that they may get back to track. He also insists that the constitution does not keep people moving down the center, to swerve all over the road without consequence. It is clear that the founders came up with the constitution to guide the country on each step it takes and not just to keep people on track. The aim of this context is to examine all these arguments and come up with the final decision if the constitution matters.
Many people were highly delighted when the founders established the constitution to guide every step the US government takes towards governance of its people. However, in the recent past, several doubts and questions have been raised over the implementation process of the constitution. The best example of people who came up with doubtful scripts that put question marks on the constitution includes Howard Fineman and Richard Stengel.
The two wrote “The Thirteen American Arguments” and “Does it Still Matter?” respectively. Stengel's book has several arguments that are against the constitution because he believes that the constitution is just but a guardrail meaning that it is just for guarding people when they are going off road that they may get back to track. However, the book by Fineman has several points and arguments that support the constitution although it also opposes some issues in the constitution. The aim of this paper is to examine both situations in the two books. The other aim is to provide relevant reasons that make the constitution remain vital to the nation and its people.
In the book “The Thirteen American Arguments” by Fineman, readers are ironically fortified above the fog of present politics. This is because it offers an extraordinary vantage tip to note that the arguments that model American politics are enduring and overwhelming. Fineman repositions effortlessly between alliances of Abraham Lincoln and Barrack Obama both of Illinois as stipulated he were a pilot flying high above history. Fineman was remarkably successful in mixing history with the present. He clearly implied that each debate from the founding of the nation to the current day is entrenched in one of the thirteen arguments in his book. The arguments provide resolutions to certain situations.
The arguments in the book are endless, and Fineman is happy about it. This is because that describes the citizens, inspires them and issues them with freedom. Often when the public differences appear to pierce, trill and insignificant, Fineman provides a convincing statement for cultivating the real American discussion. His arguments cover significant issues like description of a person. He asks a very straightforward question, who is a person? Several people including renowned writers responds to the question by saying a person is “everyone”. However, Fineman argues that it took a civil war, Civil Rights Act and other significant movements to make the authenticity. He further justified his point by posing another question, what about the embryos and prisoners in Guantanamo? It means that people are the government, and a strong constitution establishes a legitimate government meaning that a strong constitution ensures better lives of its people.
Fineman also initiated another argument about religion by asking what the role of faith is in a country. His argument was that no single nation is more lawfully worldly and still be more avowedly prayerful than others. He insisted on this point by stating that from earlier days of Thomas Jefferson, to James Dobson, the aspect perseveres. The question he asks here is, where does God fit in such governments? He implied that faith also plays a significant role in the spiritual concepts of a nation especially if its people believe in God as their creator. God is the source of peace, prosperity and advancement in all aspects; he provides the best leadership guide lines.
Therefore, since the US government has never valued the role of faith in its leadership from the ancient days to present, it has never been than peaceful and progressive in all its endeavors especially the financial and economic prosperity. Another important issue that Fineman looked into is America in the world. He addresses the aspect of change, and asks whether America is able to change areas like Iraq and everywhere else in the world. America should change such countries and ensure they respect its values in the best ways they can. He tried to bring up the issue of those who judge the Law and the connection between local and national authority.
He argues that some people judge the law by disapproving its ability to impose change locally, nationally and internationally. Clearly, if the law is respected and obeyed, it can bring much change to world. For example, Iraq has been hosting illegal militants such as the Al-Qaeda. If the law is correctly followed and respected, it can eliminate such groups and bring peace to the world by reducing terrorist fear in people. That is exactly what President Obama tried to do, and although Al-Qaeda exists, its strength was weakened when its leader Osama bin Laden was killed. That is part of change that Fineman talked about that can be reinforced through accepting and respecting the laws of the land and the world at large.
The argument by Stengel in his book "Does it Still matter?", is slightly different. This is because he emphasized on the point that the constitution was just a banister that keeps the US citizens on track, not to lose focus on leadership matters. However, it honestly does not do what it was intended to do by its founders. Stengel put forward several points to justify his stand. First, he stated that the three-fifths section was not signifying that black slaves from Africa were not valued as other citizens of the US . They were only counted in the census when verifying representation and this did not mean they were only three-fifths of a person.
Secondly, during the 18th century, women were not allowed to vote in any community. Denial of women's right to vote began during the period of women's suffrage movement in the United State that was there even before the formation of the constitution. Besides, the entire function of providing all states with equivalent representation in the United State's Upper House Congress was the outcome of the Connecticut Compromise. According to Stengel, this was the most controversial debate of the complete constitutional resolution.
The argument was that all the states be given equal representation in the legislature. On the contrary, Stengel argues that, that is not what was happening . On the same point, Stengel stated that the author who denoted that the constitution was written to reinforce the federal government was right to some extent. This is because of the demerits of the Confederation Articles. He again added that the author was also wrong because the constitution weakened the states particularly in matters pertaining equality.
The fact remains that the constitution still matters to the United States citizens because other than the facts highlighted by Fineman, the constitution also provides freedom of speech, expression, religion, movement, and voting. Through the freedom of voting, citizens are issued with the right of democracy where they are able to vote-in whichever person they wish. This helps in determining the leadership they want. Despite the fact that Stengel opposed several issues in the constitution, he also agreed with the fact that the constitution was scripted to strengthen the federal government. This means that the federal government obeys the guidelines provided by the constitution proving that the constitution matters.