From local to national discourse, the terms "constitutional" and more often "unconstitutional" are thrown around like confetti at the Super Bowl.  We are probably more familiar with the U.S. Constitution than the Montana Constitution.  Or at least, You should read the U.S. Constitution!

I admit I have never read the state constitution.  So this series will take a piece of this important document for a little ride and comment.  Does it hold up today?

Disclaimer

I am not an attorney nor a politician; maybe can play one on TV.  My interpretation of constitutional provisions should never be construed as legal advice.  Consult with a lawyer for professional information.

The Preamble

We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this constitution.

Could the 1972 state constitutional convention have been cited for plagiarism?  Should they have used quotation marks?  I had to look up the U.S.Con. Preamble to compare:

"We the people of" and then they had to narrow the scope, from United States to Montana.

"secure the blessings of liberty" and then Montanans had to change the recipients to "for this and future generations."  Can only copy and paste so far.

"do ordain and establish this constitution."  Because they couldn't think of any synonyms for ordain or establish.  Didn't anybody there have a copy of Roget's Thesaurus?

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Credit: John Morrison, Getty Images, TSM Media Center
Credit: John Morrison, Getty Images, TSM Media Center
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There is some original thinking from the U.S. version:

"grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains,"  Now this is a nice touch.  I appreciate the long drives and the hikes in the countryside.  Maybe the framers were listening to the song "God Bless America" when writing this.

"and desiring to improve the quality of life," is noble, just wondering now what that looks like.

"equality of opportunity,"  Sure, we have that.  Not the same as equality of outcome, though.  No guarantees.  And you better be ready to work for the outcome you want.

Feel free to send me your insights.

Okay, this first article is in snarky good humor.  What do you think?  Please email me at travis.lee@townsquaremedia.com.  I'll post some of them below the article at a later time.  And more pieces of the Montana Constitution will be featured.  Please stay tuned.  Thanks and Have a Great Day.

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