So here’s the thing. I get the whole angle you’re going for—perky, great hair, a doe-eyed “awe shucks what do facts matter” attitude that has gotten the Tea Party [side note: the original “tea party” was for taxation without representation, not taxation with representation that you didn’t vote for but got elected through a democratic process, see: history [or has the Texas School Board excised that already?]) all hot and bothered as of late. It worked for La Palin and it might just work for you.
What really scares me is that a part of me thinks that you and those like you might get elected, probably not this term but perhaps further down the road, and not because of your political views but because a collection of voters will view your "treatment" (also see: politics in general) in the media as unfair and give you a sympathy vote. It’s kind of hard to be angry at someone when their act of malice boils down to pressing play on a tape recording and watching the words you said come driveling out of your own mouth.
What I am referring to is, of course, your debate today with Chris Coons in which you seemed bewildered at the notion of the First Amendment's involvement in the principle of separation of church and state.
I guess watch for yourself:
I mean, I’m pretty sure even Snookie’s bump knows the First Amendment deals with it. Snookie.. the one who’s brain is a halfway house for an aerosol residue carbon footprint Godzilla would be jealous of and enough ethanol to tranquilize an African wildebeest and still have enough left over for a piña colada strong enough to put even Señor Frog under the table.
And when I say deals with, I do completely admit that nowhere in the First Amendment does it specifically have the phrase “separation of church and state”, much like nowhere in the constitution do the phrases “separation of powers” or “checks and balances” appear and yet they have become a sort of legislative shorthand in reference to Arcticles I, II and III. I am not willing to deny that over a half century of supreme court cases *cough* Abington School District v. Schempp (1963) Allegheny County v. ACLU (1989) Bowen v. Kendrick (1988) Capitol Square Review & Advisory Board v. Pinette (1995) Edwards v. Aguillard (1987) Engel v. Vitale (1962) Epperson v. Arkansas (1968) Everson v. Board of Education (1947) Good News Club v. Milford Central School (2001) Hamilton v. Regents of University of California (1934) Larkin v. Grendel's Den, Inc. (1982) Larson v. Valente (1982) Lee v. Weisman (1992) Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) Marsh v. Chambers (1983) McCollum v. Board of Education (1948) Roemer v. Board of Public Works of Maryland (1976) Santa Fe Ind. School District v. Doe (2000) Stone v. Graham (1980) Texas Monthly, Inc. v. Bullock (1989) Tilton v. Richardson (1971) Wallace v. Jaffree (1985) Walz v. Tax Commission (1970) Westside Community Board of Education v. Mergens (1990) Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002)
Zorach v. Clauson (1952) *cough* has led to an establishment of what is generally referred to as the separation of church and state. I know, I know, I really should get that cough checked out before my audition this weekend.
True, the constitution and its interpretations are constantly changing, much like me when trying to decide which tie to wear to the opera. More specifically, which paisley tie to wear to the opera. I guess I have more of a problem with the way in which you dealt with the whole situation, which is representative of your campaign and the campaigns of more and more politicians these days. Instead of making a coherent argument and saying something like: "Excuse me, but no where in there does it have this phrase," you just kept snarkily asking: "You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"
Coons: "Government shall make no establishment of religion." (not an exact quote from the Constitution btw).
You: "That's in the First Amendment??"
New York Magazine's DailyIntel put it best:
For someone hoping to serve in the Senate of the United States, saying "You're telling me that [the establishment clause is] in the First Amendment?" is like a prospective astronaut saying, "You're telling me we can't breathe in space?" It's like a heart surgeon walking into the operating room and asking, "You're telling me there are four chambers in the pumpy thing?"
Even after Coons attempted to clarify by acknowleging it was the evolutionary process of the Consitution that has led to the idea of separation of church and state and not necessarily the Amendment itself you seemed incredulous. (Uh oh, I brought up the "E" word!! "It's the theory evolution, not the fact of evolution you pagans!" You know, just like it's the theory of gravity not the fact of gravity that tells me I shouldn't have this bowl of Blue Bell.)
When asked about your policy regarding Amendments 14th, 16th and 17th you had this to say: "I'm sorry I didn't bring my Constitution with me, fortunately senators don't have to memorize the constitution, can you remind me what the other ones are?" Now don't get me wrong-- I'm a lover of sass, but this isn't the race for the next queen of the Grapeland Peanut Festival (which is a real thing and happened to have happened this past weekend). There's just 27 of them... take each day in February and learn one and you can reward yourself with a vacay on the 28th. Do I know all of them? No... but it's also not my job to. However, if you wanna know the difference between a blacksmith hurricane and a double walled hurricane at the Barn then come sit right over here on this PB Comfort sectional and I'll tell you all about it.
But back to the subject at hand. The phrase originated from then president Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut (they really should eliminate the redundant redundancies in their name) in regards to concerns over protection of religious liberty and against a government establishment of religion. In it he states:
"...I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."
Forgive me, but I’ll take the author of our nations Declaration of Indepence’s view on the First Amendment over a woman whose most notable claim to fame is having dabbled in witchcraft. Or as SNL’s Kristin Wiig recently put it:
So yes, Mizzzz O’Donnell, you are correct as far as the semantics are concerned (and who am I to be anti-semantic). As far as your substance is concerned, though... well, I'm not too sure.
Artist: Audra McDonald/ Album: Build a Bridge
Artist: Audra McDonald/ Album: Build a Bridge