The Constitution and Life in America Today — We The People
By Larry Hawes
We the People live in difficult yet exciting times. The world seems torn apart by differing views, yet our common humanity will always bind us. That division seem to drive us as a world and as a nation in ways that may be wholly unnecessary and definitely unhealthy. For some reason that common bond gets ignored as we plunge down pathways that harm our nation and the people in it.
Why do we ignore those common bonds? Why do we ignore our common humanity? And in America, why do we ignore the single common bond we each have as Americans – our Constitution?
As Americans we live upon the foundation of The Constitution yet it is seldom mentioned in our political or personal discussions. Our politicians almost never mention it even though they take only one oath when assuming office, to uphold and defend it.
The media rarely brings it up and it is violated in so many ways by so many people on a daily basis as to render its purpose and intention near meaningless. Why? Why have we chosen to ignore the single document that can bind us all as Americans and give us common purpose and intention and clear direction for our future?
And if that might be true how could it serve as such a compass for our Country’s future? The answer lies in the Preamble. I don’t know the last time you read The Preamble but it’s a bit magical.
“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.”
Take the first words ‘We The People’ – that means you and I and everyone reading this. There are some legal definitions and battles surrounding the definition of ‘people’ but those decisions withstanding, clearly our government and our country was created at the behest of The People. Common ground – for everyone.
To ‘form a more perfect union’ binds us again as a nation with common goals and common directions. We can differ, but if our purpose and intention is to ‘form a more perfect union’ those difference can, if we allow them, make us even stronger as a more perfect union.
Establish justice. We are currently watching our modern day politicians thrash through a circus of misinformation, power struggles, petty political and personal manipulations and to what end? Is anything they are doing helping to establish justice? Why can’t we hold them to at least that common denominator and unify our country under that same banner of justice? We don’t need a perfect answer but to simply ask, “Is what we are undertaking helping to establish justice?” might help again to unify us under the Constitution.
‘Ensure domestic tranquility. Again not a simple task but if we focused together we can achieve ‘domestic tranquility’.
Provide for the common defense. These are not all easy terms to define and those definitions have changed over time and will change again but if we chose to re-define what our common defense is what would that look like? If we came together to do so we could have another clear reason to stand together as Americans – common defense and common ground.
Promote The General Welfare. Why can’t we as a nation also re-define what the general welfare represents and spend our country’s fortune and wealth establishing America’s general welfare? What if each person in a seat of power went to bed each night asking a simple question. “What can we do to create an America that works for everyone in it?” What answers would we wake up with? What America could we create, together, with those answers?
And the reason for all this is to secure the blessings of liberty, which, if we endeavor to create a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare should a natural result of those unifying efforts.
Will it be easy? Of course not but that’s not the point. The point is to use our Constitution for what it was designed for. As an umbrella under which every American can be protected from the reign of division and petty politics that drive us apart – to keep us dry and bind us together as Americans so we can recreate our Country as was intended all along, a government of, by, and for, We The People.