Reflections on the constitution

The constitutions of both Switzerland and the US (and many other countries, for that matter) are a fantastic thing. They provide us with unalienable rights and freedoms that are essential to human life and human activity. I firmly believe that these laws are a great force for good. The rule of law, based on these documents as the supreme law, is a worthwhile thing to uphold. Supreme law means that these rights cannot be diminished or taken away by passing conflicting laws on a lower level.

The year 2020 has been a terrible year for constitutions. The authorities of many countries committed gross violations of their constitutions with various kinds of measures against the pandemic. Regardless of whether you think that the measures were justified given the circumstances, it is clear that the rule of law has largely been suspended not only in individual countries, but around the entire globe. As someone who cares deeply about freedom and justice, this concerns me. The ends do not justify the means, not if something as important as the constitution is on the line. Things were done this year, fundamental human rights violations, that I did not believe possible in Switzerland and many other countries prior to the pandemic. And these measures are still ongoing in many places.

This year, my belief in our public institutions has been shaken on a fundamental level. It is shocking to realise how little people care about their constitution and the rule of law. How little it takes to throw everything over board and go into panic mode. How science is abused for post hoc justifications of measures taken when the evidence either does not exist or is unclear. How informal online polls seem to replace the vote and are used to legitimise unconstitutional measures. What is so shocking to see is that when the general public doesn't feel like respecting them, human rights mean absolutely nothing.

For how long will they keep staining our constitutions? When will Lady Justice return to her rightful place? I don't know. This year set a dangerous precedent. Next year, it will continue. We can only hope that those in power wash their hands after wiping with the constitution. We wouldn't want them to spread any germs.

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