Ya know, I was a Democrat growing up. I hate to admit it now, but I voted for Bubba. Twice. What changed me? I bought a Smith and Wesson 686 more on a whim than anything - I just felt that The Poor Farm needed a bit more firepower than .22 rifles and a couple shotguns. It may have served Dad all those years, but I felt just a tad undergunned.
At any rate, the conversion began with this purchase. I realized the Democratic Party was pretty much after that wheelgun, and just about anything else as well, "hunting purposes" not withstanding. I started down the slippery slope of gun collecting. I figured I'd better get to buying or else I would be unable to get them later. Well, that was a revelation. The idea that the Constitution wasn't subject to "feelings" or "modern day revisionism" became more evident. Soul searching on issues became the order of the day. If I hold that liberals are wrong on the gun issue, then logically I cannot support them on so many other ideas. You can't sit on both sides of the fence. It's been an education for sure. The people I know who have embraced conservatism since an early age have it all over me as far as knowledge of issues and where they stand. I have to look at an issue and decide how it "fits" within my philosophy.
It seems to me that the Constitution is not a living document. The second amendment isn't a collective right - particularly since none of the others are. Plus, the Constitution doesn't give anyone any rights. It enumerates and defines the rights we are born with. The Bill of Rights was designed to tell our government to keep their sticky fingers out of our rights, not to give them to us. The idea of balance of power between the three branches of government was a finely tuned plan of action. The Founders looked for various ways the whole thing could go wrong, and tweaked their rules accordingly. Yes, it was written in the style of the time, which is somewhat confusing today. For instance, there is a very good reason for the electoral college. It keeps larger population centers from controlling the destiny of our great nation. The Founders saw the mood swings of popular sentiment controlling our government as a bad thing. We are not a democracy. We are a republic. We don't directly control government, but we do have a voice.
Then we come to the 17th amendment. It took effect on this day in 1913. Tam knocks one out of the park on her blog. The reason why we didn't have direct election of senators, and the ill effects of the change are covered very well there. Go and Read!!!!
This is one of the soul searching issues I ran up against several years ago. The idea of a popular democracy and citizens having a more direct involvement in government was an ideal that I subscribed to. However, it was just an ideal. In actual practice, the Founders had foreseen the popular vote as bad for the long term health of our nation. They were truly geniuses, and their document needs us to keep our greedy fingers off of it. So, if you haven't already, Go Read Tam.