Shira Lurie’s WaPo Op-Ed Critiques Constitution but Provides no Alternative

The most serious flaw in Shira Lurie’s October 24, 2019 Washington Post op-ed, “The Constitution isn’t the cure for President Trump. It is the cause,” is that it critiques the United States Constitution but does not offer a better alternative. Ending an op-ed with a hand-wringing “It is high time to address the anti-democratic foundations of American government,” but not telling us how to address them is the hallmark of a poor op-ed piece, an op-ed piece that should not have seen the light of day. If a writer cannot offer solutions to the problems she brings up, she should not bother writing. At the least, she should admit she does not have a better alternative.Constitution_of_the_United_States,_page_1

It is true that the Constitution was a flawed document when written, and still is, in some respects. Howard Zinn and many others have told us that more eloquently than Lurie. Fortunately, built into the Constitution is the ability to amend it. While Lurie believes the Constitution has changed for the better and even admits that it is a restraint on President Trump’s power, she still seems to be fighting against the Constitution as it was in the 18th Century rather than the Constitution of the 21st Century.

Lurie does not like the Electoral College. Neither do millions of Americans. What is the remedy? Lurie does not tell us, even though the remedy is in the Constitution, an amendment to abolish the Electoral College. Many states have essentially nullified the Electoral College by requiring their electors to vote for whomever won the popular vote. Lurie, of course, does not present or critique any arguments in favor of the Electoral College. She simply assumes it is a bad thing and must go.

Attacking the United States Constitution has become a popular pastime. The document, like our republic, is indeed flawed. What is lacking, however, are better alternatives to the Constitution. The Constitution and its amendments have served us well for over 200 years, producing a republic which is not perfect but still a great place to live. Until Lurie and her ilk come up with something better, they would be better off not saying anything. If they do say something, the public would be better served by not listening, or by challenging them to come up with a better foundation for our government than the Constitution.

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