There's a YouTube video out there showing an Illinois Congressman (Phil Hare, Democrat) saying (repeatedly) that he "doesn't care about the Constitution" (some of his constituents were asking him where the Constitution authorizes Congress to mandate health coverage). I was going to embed the video here, but honestly it nauseates me so much that I just don't want to have to look at him when I log on. The link, though, for those with strong stomachs, is here: Phil "I don't care about the Constitution" Hare.
The idea that the U.S. Constitution--which the Congressman swore to uphold, I might add--doesn't matter anymore ought to strike fear into the hearts of every American. Because the Constitution, you see, is sort of a contract between the federal government and us--the people. The document spells out all of the rights of the federal government and explicitly states that everything not specifically mentioned in the Constitution itself is reserved to the states or the people. Here is the language: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
The reason this document matters so much is that we really only have two choices in how we live our lives: we can choose to live under the rule of law, or we can choose to live under the rule of man.
History--and our knowledge of our own fickle natures--teaches us that men are not to be trusted. Today's wise king is tomorrow's evil dictator and power, once given away, is difficult to get back. Ignoring what is in the Constitution in order to do anything--whether it be providing "free" health care to 30 million people or stifling political speech by creating restrictive campaign finance laws--puts us on a slippery slope that leads away from the rule of law.
Amending the Constitution is a difficult process; this is by design. The Founders understood that today's burning issue might be nonsense tomorrow and if amending the constitution were easy the minority would be at the mercy of the caprice of the majority.
For most of my adult life it has seemed that conservatives have been obsessed with the Constitution while liberals have been obsessed with trying to make it say things it simply does not say (do some reading on the history of the right to privacy and you'll see what I mean). Anyway--this attitude by liberals has always seemed amazingly shortsighted to me. Sure, when you're the party in power it's fun to ignore the Constitution and to ram unwanted legislation down the throats of voters--but they're not always going to be the party in power. And once precedent has been established it's difficult to move the fences back in.
Every American, from the left to the right, should be fiercely protective of this Constitution. It was written to limit the powers of the federal government, after all, and to assert that the government cannot abolish or unduly restrict our freedoms and our rights. Ceding these rights for the entitlement of the moment is on par with Esau selling his birthright for a bowl of stew. Whether for ourselves, or for our children and grandchildren, we each ought to be jealous of this document and when we see its tenets violated we ought to holler.