On a recent segment of The View, The Nation’s Justice Correspondent Elie Mystal shared a feeling many Black people share about the constitution.
‘The Constitution is kind of trash,” Mystal said.
Six simple words carry the weight and fire of those who spent generations trying to push through the limitations built into a system that never considered their humanity in the first place. Speaking about his new book, “Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution,” Mystal told the ladies of The View that his book offered a commonsense approach to the constitution and understanding democracy.
“This document was written without the consent of Black and Brown people in this country and without the consent of women in this country,” he explained. “If that is the starting point, the very least we can do is ignore what those slavers and colonists and misogynists thought and interpret the constitution in a way that makes sense for our modern world.”
While it has been amended over the years, there are gaping limitations focusing on adhering to the “original intent” of dead white men who lived over 200 years ago. But for Mystal understanding the law and contemporary efforts to roll back rights are within reach of everyday people.
“The law is complicated, not gonna lie about that,” he said. “But it’s not beyond the reach of most literate people…you can read, you can understand the laws that govern this country.”
He argues that if more people understood the degree to which democracy and individual freedoms were being restricted, they would be more outraged at the current moment. Some may claim to be offended at Mystal’s comments but remain silent at efforts to effectively limit freedom and access to American democracy for many people across the country.
Not to mention, Republican-led legislatures remain fixated on a new wave of cultural wars instead of addressing pressing issues facing impacted communities. The focus on censoring conversations about equity and injustice in public education, attacks on the LGBTQ community, especially trans youth, and anti-abortion laws are just some of the ways that states are interfering with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.
Medicaid expansion and addressing the crisis of hospital closures, fully funding public education, making childcare affordable and accessible are just some of the issues that should be top priorities for state legislatures instead of interfering with people’s freedoms.
And what would Mystal do if he were writing a new constitution? For starters, he said he would do away with the electoral college and let presidents be elected by popular vote. He also said states shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with basic rights.
“How about no state’s rights when it comes to healthcare, elections, policing and guns,” he said.
Watch the full segment below: