Barack Obama, what are your thoughts on the Declaration and Constitution?”
“I-I-I think it’s a remarkable document –“ he began haltingly.
“Which one?” Helfrich interjected.
“The original Constitution as well as the Civil War Amendments,” he replied. “But I think it is an imperfect document, and I think it is a document that reflects some deep flaws in American culture, the Colonial culture nascent at that time.
“African-Americans were not -- first of all they weren’t African-Americans -- the Africans at the time were not considered as part of the polity that was of concern to the Framers. I think that as Richard said it was a ‘nagging problem’ in the same way that these days we might think of environmental issues, or some other problem where you have to balance cost-benefits, as opposed to seeing it as a moral problem involving persons of moral worth.
“And in that sense,” Obama continued, “I think we can say that the Constitution reflected an enormous blind spot in this culture that carries on until this day, and that the Framers had that same blind spot. I don’t think the two views are contradictory, to say that it was a remarkable political document that paved the way for where we are now, and to say that it also reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.”
Obama did not elaborate on the “fundamental flaw” that persists.