“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Thus speaks the Preamble to the US Constitution. There’s a lot of “meat and potatoes” in that single sentence of 52 words. The words are elegant, simple, and to the point. The Founding Fathers felt that high goals, subject to interpretation, would provide a lasting legacy upon which our Nation would grow and prosper. They saw in 1791 that the document ratified by the States in 1789 needed some change; thus the first 10 amendments were added. These constitute the “Bill of Rights” and have been, with the original Constitution as their underpinning, the very real, day-to-day, personification of our rights as citizens of this “union.”
To this date, the Founding Fathers have been proven to be amazingly correct and far-sighted.
Unfortunately, “We the people” have not lived up to our potential.
- We have grown politically “fat and lazy” allowing the parties to dictate to us what we should think about the issues of the day.
- We have grown complacent, allowing the politicians that we elect, to vote, not our wills, but their self-gratifying and self-indulgent whims tailored to whichever special interest group has the loudest “mouth” and the fattest bankroll.
- We have grown disinterested in every election in that we continue to return these same politicians to either Washington, our State Capitol, our County Board, or our City Hall to continue to do the same things that we complain about until we pull the lever or place our ballot in the box. This assumes that we even bother to vote.
- We can no longer see the “forest” of our country and the common good for the “trees” of ourselves. Few of us consider what’s good for the country over what makes us feel good.
As I celebrate this Fourth of July, 2009, I pray for our military members, who, above all, understand what the “common good” really means. I also pray that we, as individual citizens, again take serious the real meaning of those three words “We the People ” written so long ago.