Uncategorized

The history lesson we all need

States’ rights. Gun rights. Equal rights. We toss them around, selectively, as givens in our country, grounded in our constitution.  Yet we’re not quite sure how those rights came about and how they can peacefully co-exist.

Last night PBS aired the first episode of a four-part series called Constitution USA, taking a look at the document we all like to invoke, conveniently, as protection for our rights.  “Many of us don’t have any idea what the Constitution  says,” says host Peter Sagal (of Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me fame). “Of course, that’s never stopped us from arguing about what it means.”

Sagal traveled across the country interviewing lawyers and academics about the Constitution’s history and spoke to ordinary people whose lives have been directly affected by its interpretation — hoping, in the end, to remind us all how the Constitution, now almost 225 years old, continues to define us as a nation.

In the first episode, Sagal delves into the concept of federalism, the balance of power between a strong national government and independent states.   Along the way, he talks to those who think the federal government has grown too big and is infringing on individual rights. On the flip side, Sagal meets with those who point to the contributions that only a strong central government can make — building interstate highways, protecting food and drugs, and maintaining clean water and air — and reminds us how, in times of crisis, it’s the federal government that steps in to make a difference.

 

 

 

 

2 Comments


  1. Doug

    May 8, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Last paragraph….the interstate highways are truly a marvel of something the government was supposed to do and does reasonably well. Having an entity that can negotiate the various states works in that case. As far as the other two functions it is debatable as that is where government probably should not be to the extent that it currently is.

  2. gregflynn

    May 8, 2013 at 11:23 am

    We have a General Assembly redefining floors as ceilings. Since the state legislature is washing its hands of responsibility for safe food, drugs, air and water in North Carolina I’m grateful that we have the FDA and EPA as backstops.

Check Also

State Supreme Court rules retroactive application of teacher tenure repeal is unconstitutional

The state Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

Students, faculty and staff at UNC continue protest the Chapel Hill campus’ Confederate monument, “S [...]

On a sultry day last September, Megan Stilley arrived at Lanier Farms, a large swine operation in ru [...]

When North Carolina lawmakers approved what one Republican described as a “historic” investment in r [...]

Lawmakers late last week released two new versions of a judicial redistricting bill, making these th [...]

The General Assembly’s latest mashup legislation is an example of government at its worst In the com [...]

The post Tied up in knots appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Every day brings new reports that Congress is interested in further whittling away at the programs c [...]

When Congress finally passed a continuing resolution last month allowing the government to re-open, [...]

Upcoming Events

Friday, Feb. 16

12:00 PM

Crucial Conversation – Prof. Peter Edelman discusses his new book, Not a Crime to be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America

Prof. Edelman is coming to the Triangle to mark the 50th anniversary of Durham-based nonprofit MDC. His visit is the first of a series of MDC-sponsored events focused on ways that Southern leaders can work together to create an Infrastructure of Opportunity that shapes a South where all people thrive.”