The U.S. Constitution, R.I.P.—almost
A copy of the Constitution is seen among the debris at Grace Baptist Academy after an April 2020 tornado in Chattanooga, Tenn. The real Constitution was threatened with destruction by the Trump coup of January 2021. | C.B. Schmelter / Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP

The U.S. Constitution almost didn’t reach its 234th birthday, which will occur on September 17.

That was the day in 1787 when the Founders completed and signed the basic text of U.S. government. Amendments, additions, and court rulings have added—and sometimes subtracted—from its basic tenets. But there have been a few times in U.S. history when the Constitution was in danger of dying.

The latest, and the worst since the Civil War, was January 6.

Need we remind you what the invaders of the Capitol intended to do that winter day? They wanted to overthrow the government and install their dictator, Donald Trump.

Their method: Invasion, violent assault, injuring and killing defenders, threats to hang Vice President Mike Pence, and maim or kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who were second and third in line for the presidency. And, most importantly, stop the counting of the electoral votes which would certify Democratic nominee Joe Biden beat Trump in the 2020 election.

They failed, narrowly. It wasn’t for lack of organization or trying, and certainly, Trump urged them on. That Oval Office occupant, like all other federal workers—from Army privates on up—swore to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” He didn’t. And the Constitution almost died at the hands of his rebels.

So celebrate the Constitution’s birthday this year, but please, for all our sakes, remember how close it came to death.

As with all op-eds published by People’s World, this article reflects the opinions of its author.


CONTRIBUTOR

Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.

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