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If You Hate Political Gridlock, Blame The Constitution

Mar 21, 2017

Listen at 1pm on Tuesday.

The plane that crashed in a Pennsylvania field on 9/11 was likely headed for the U.S. Capitol. Had it hit its intended target and disabled - not killed -  multiple members of Congress, we wouldn't be able to look to the Constitution for answers on how to prevent the resulting chaos. It simply doesn't address it.

Our Founding Fathers couldn't foresee in the Eighteenth century the concept of using an airplane as a bomb in Twenty-first Century America. They couldn't foresee many things, such as how privacy would be challenged in high-tech surveillance or phones that hold personal data. Other omissions they likely left for future generations to decide, such as how to remove a president who exhibits mental instability. And some decisions, like the Electoral College, were compromises that today veer dangerously close to violating the Constitution. 

The Fathers had good intentions. But, some think the Constitution lies at the root of the political dysfunction that threatens the democracy the document was written to protect.

Yet, we venerate the Constitution to a degree that prohibits a closer look. Is it time for a new Constitutional Convention - or at least an amendment to make it easier to amend?  

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Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired on January 17, 2017.