Time magazine cover features shredded U.S. Constitution, asks if it still matters

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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Provocative? Perhaps, but that’s nothing new for Time magazine with a history of taking iconic American symbols and using them to make political statements.

On Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Time magazine editor Richard Stengel presented the cover of his new July 4 issue, which features the U.S. Constitution going through a paper shredder and asks if the document still matters. According to Stengel, it does, but not as much anymore.

“Yes, of course it still matters but in some ways it matters less than people think,” Stengel said on “Morning Joe.” “People all the time are debating what’s constitutional and what’s unconstitutional. To me the Constitution is a guardrail. It’s for when we are going off the road and it gets us back on. It’s not a traffic cop that keeps us going down the center. And what our politics are about – politics are about conflict. There was no people who argued more about defining principles of America than the framers of the Constitution. They argued both sides of the most powerful issues in American history – slavery, states’ rights, central government. So to say that what did the framers want is kind of a crazy question, I have to say. I write about that in the piece.”

The cover is about a story Stengel authored dated June 23 and tackles issues of the day as they related to the Constitution, including Libya, the debt ceiling, ObamaCare and immigration.

Stengel concludes his article by saying it isn’t the document that is the U.S. Constitution that plays the prominent role in American society, but the people instead.

“The Constitution does not protect our spirit of liberty; our spirit of liberty protects the Constitution,” Stengel wrote. “The Constitution serves the nation; the nation does not serve the Constitution. That’s what the framers would say.”