I think that public office should require a civics test, particularly testing the candidates’ literacy regarding the Constitution. I f you can’t pass a college-level forty-question test about the document that makes up your job description, you don’t get to be in Congress.
That would cut down on the number of times I want to punch my TV because some candidate, Congresscritter, or other Public Servant™ states that “the Constitution gives/doesn’t give people the right to do XYZ.”
Technically speaking, that’s a correct statement. The Constitution doesn’t give any rights to anyone. The Constitution doesn’t address citizen rights at all because the Constitution isn’t a List Of Things Allowed To Citizens. It’s a List Of Things Allowed To Government. It lists all the things we let our government do on our behalf, and it lists the exact ways in which the government may do so.
The Bill of Rights, being a list of amendments to the Constitution, does address individual rights, but not in the way a lot of people erroneously presume. If the Constitution is a List of Things Allowed to Government, the Bill of Rights is a List of Things The Government May Definitely Not Fuck With, Ever. It doesn’t “give” those rights, it just enumerates them, and it restricts the government, not individual citizens.
That’s how we roll in this country, at least in theory. We don’t need government permission to do stuff—the government needs permission from us to do stuff. And if it’s not listed in the Constitution, that doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to do it, but that the government doesn’t have the delegated power to do it. Of course, the employer/employee relationship has gotten a bit muddled in the last few decades, hasn’t it? These days, it’s a sign of dangerous extremism when you suggest that our government has only limited powers, and that there’s some sort of document about that somewhere.