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Chan Lowe: Egypt and the Tea Party


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To me, insistence on a punctilious, “authentic” interpretation of any document from another era is the safe haven of the small and fearful thinker.

We rightly esteem the legacy of enlightened reasoning and principles embodied by the U.S. Constitution, and the thinking that led to its writing ought to be revered and heeded as the philosophical bedrock upon which our way of life is built, but the act of divining the “original intent” of the authors from a 21st Century perspective is a form of freewheeling interpretation in itself.

Ought we modern readers to attempt to climb inside the heads of a group of men who never heard the sound of an internal combustion engine, who never conceived of machinery that could keep people artificially alive for months or even years, or who could translate “web” and “site” into Latin and Greek, but would be clueless as to the meaning of the two English words when combined?

I say “group of men” advisedly, for these same gentlemen, blinkered by custom, didn’t think enough of women to grant them voting rights in the document they crafted (or received intact from Above, depending on your point of view).

The framers’ inclusion of a mechanism for ratifying amendments tells us that they knew that their charter, while pretty good, wasn’t perfect. Future generations, in their wisdom, were given license to tinker with and improve upon the original, and to keep it relevant to the needs and challenges of their times.

In other words, the Founding Fathers were humble and visionary enough to pass down to us what amounted to an admonition that their groundbreaking work ought not to be preserved in amber. They trusted that in its elasticity lay its vitality.

Small and fearful thinkers, they were not.


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Comments

regarding the protesters in egypt...if mubarak did step down today...who would take his place? would they convene a constitutional convention? get delegates? who would seat them? who would be in power until the next election? why do i expect some massive, genocidal type deaths?

this is 300,000 protesters in a country w/ 80 million.

i keep reading comparisons (not in Chan's article) w/ the American Revolutionary...but we revolted against a FOREIGN regime. AND, when we revolted, our leaders signed their names to a document stating exactly what they were doing, why they were doing it & who was doing it.

I dont see that in Egypt at all...dont think the comparison is accurate.

And, a little observation here, Egypt has had some type of official govt for 5,000 years...and they still cannot get it right. Why? Why has the USA, just over 200 years old, provided more wealth, lifestyle increases, technological advances, medical advances, foreign aid (who helps everyone? who gives the most money?) and many of these protesters say we are the problem? Is it because they are muslim? Because they are in Africa? I don't know...i'm asking...gimme some answers.

i also believe that ALL of our elected leaders need to stop giving speeches & interviews regarding what mubarak should do

i assert that we are no better genetically than they ...BUT...our brilliantly designed republic allowed us to reach a human potential completely unknown & untapped before 1776.


OMG! I couldn't stop laughing. Excellent Chan. One of the best ever!


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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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