So you finally did it. A couple weeks into school, and you finally picked a weekend to make a trip into the District of Columbia.

But when you get to the Metro, you find that your excitement about seeing panda bears has given way to befuddled confusion.

Picket signs, anger towards the system…is the Million Man March today?

Never mind, all these people are white…is the Klan having a rally?

Nope, no hoods; there are lots of crosses though.

Then, as the doors on the train close behind you, you see a “Beck-Palin 2012” bumper sticker stuck to the back of a USS Ronald Reagan cap; you then realize that you’ve just bought a ticket with the Tea Party.

“I can make the best of it,” you think, as you attempt to make casual conversation with the man to your right, wearing an “Eliminate the Fed” T-shirt.

You ask the man about his views, to explain the shirt, how he disagrees with the current administration, and one term keeps coming up again and again: pro-Constitution.

You look around, and there are signs, T-shirts, stickers, all talking about restoring or supporting the Constitution.

But what does that mean?

Technically, aren’t all elected officials required by the oath of office to protect and uphold the Constitution, thereby making the term innocuous?

The term first became a salient political position with Ron Paul’s rise to national prominence during the 2008 presidential election.

Paul based his campaign around his interpretation of the Constitution, which was simply that the Federal government ought not to act unless the actions are explicitly permitted by the Constitution.

By this interpretation, if Paul were to be elected president, he would veto any bill that failed to fit the criteria, dissolve most of the federal government and leave the rest of the responsibilities to the individual states.

Personally, it sounds to me more like a scam to get the U.S. to pay a man $400,000 per year to essentially take David Spade’s role in a Capital One commercial. But with my fears aside, there is still another problem with Congressman Paul’s position: it only accounts for one very narrow interpretation of the Constitution.

During the debates over the national health care reform bill earlier this year, a particular Tea Party sign caught my attention.

No, it wasn’t this racist one or that racist one; it had two pictures, one of the health care bill (with a page-count somewhere above two thousand), and the other, the Constitution, (touting how it was only one page).

There are many reasons why one is so much longer than the other, but for the sake of relevance, I present the issue of interpretation.

The reason why bills are so large is because some will spend pages upon pages defining different words to constrict interpretation at a later date, in order to close loopholes which may otherwise result in the bill being used in a way other than intended, to clarify purpose.

The problem with the Constitution is that it leaves so much room open to debate that it can be interpreted in many ways.

For instance, there are two types of justices on the Supreme Court: constructionists, who believe that the Constitution should be interpreted exactly as it was intended by the Founding Fathers, as well as developmentalist justices, who see the Constitution as a “living document” which should keep in pace with a society that is continuously growing and evolving.

Unfortunately, as a result of a media that places the emphasis on the sound-byte and the 45 second video clip, a complex and nuanced subject such as the Constitution has become nothing more than a buzzword casually thrown out at Tea Party rallies.

To see the link between Paul and the Tea Party, one need not look further than Paul’s own bloodline.

When Rand Paul ran for the Republican Party’s nomination earlier this year, he received endorsements from personalities associated with the Tea Party, especially Sarah Palin and FreedomWorks, an organization responsible for helping organize the Tea Party.

Rand Paul, following in his father’s footsteps, invoked the Constitution as the basis for his positions, and with his victory came others.

Many other candidates to emerge from the Tea Party have touted the Constitution, such as Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, Nevada’s Sharron Angle and Alaska’s Joe Miller.

From an outsider’s point of view, this tactic seems to work for these candidates, as it implies that the opposition has an anti-Constitution perspective, all while invoking patriotic images of the basest nature.

This tactic has worked to mobilize those already in the Tea Party so far.

We’ll have to wait until November to see if this tactic will work to win over the vote of independents.