Following the lead of France and the Netherlands, American voters are widely expected to reject the US Constitution when they go to the polls later this summer. While the Constitution was once held in great acclaim by voters, its popularity has slid in recent years as it has lost market share to more muscular governing documents, including the Ten Commandments and the Patriot Act.
Most voters say Bill of Rights is 'out-of-touch'
By Deanna Swift
WASHINGTON, DC—Just weeks after French voters said a decisive 'non' to the European Union Constitution, Americans are preparing to follow their lead and vote down the US Constitution. Experts predict that American voters will reject the country's governing document by a wide margin when they go to the polls later this summer.
While the US Constitution was once held in great acclaim, it has lost some of its luster in recent years as other more muscular governing documents, including the Ten Commandments and the Patriot Act, have captured the attention of voters. Now, say experts, the Constitution's waning popularity, declining market share and lack of name recognition could hurt it at the ballot box.
Constitution vs. Commandments
Observers predict that the Constitution's toughest competition is likely to come at the hands of the increasingly popular Ten Commandments, a list of religious and moral imperatives against murder, theft and house coveting written by Moses upon two tablets of stone. Unlike the Constitution which is lengthy, abstract and cluttered with amendments, the Ten Commandments are easy to follow and glamorous enough to have been the subject of a 1956 Hollywood feature film starring Charlton Heston as Moses.
Commandments now 'Moore' popular
The Ten Commandments have yet another leg up on the 'grey lady' of governing documents, say election officials: a symbol that is immediately recognizable to millions of voters. Unlike the Constitution, which few voters have ever seen or read, the Ten Commandments are now an icon as familiar as the Nike 'swoosh,' thanks to the efforts of Roy Moore, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama.
Chief Justice Moore's 3,500 pound statue of the Ten Commandments has been touring the country since last summer, making 164 stops in 21 states—a record that the Constitution simply can't touch. "Do you think if you took the Constitution to 21 states that people would come out to see it?" asks Lorraine Dittie, a get-out-the-vote coordinator for the Ten Commandments in Pennsylvania. "I'll give you ten good reasons why not and we're going to see for ourselves come election day."
Don't rule out Patriot Act
But not everyone believes that the Constitution will go down in a clear defeat to the Ten Commandments. The Patriot Act, the popular measure passed in the wake of September 11 that reigned in out-of-control civil liberties, is also expected to do well in the contest. While the so-called Bill of Rights, which includes the freedom of speech and other civil liberties, is widely perceived as a drag on the Constitution, the Patriot Act's elimination of some of those rights and liberties could boost its standing in the polls.
Church and state: back together at last
The anticipated rejection of the Constitution is just the latest sign that American's may at last be tiring of their country's experiment with democracy. A poll released earlier this spring found that the majority of Americans would like to see their elected government replaced by a theocracy, in which a handful of religious leaders make decisions for all people based on divine guidance. According to the Polltronics survey, 62% of Americans now believe that God intended for the United States to be a theocracy.
Why do you believe that the US Constitution should be voted down? Talk back to email@example.com