Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Constitution of the United States of America

My daughter announced she needed to learn the Constitution Preamble. She asked me for help, and I proudly began to quote it...just like Barney Fife.

Embarrassed, I YouTubed the School House Rock song. Now, it runs through my head, reminding me the humble origins of our nation. I don't mind though. It makes me proud, given my family history in the establishment of this country, to know the Wings and Snows (yes, probably the same origins as Olympia...) probably debated to construct the document and fought to preserve the infant Republic, these United States of America.

Many people think our Constitution dropped out of the sky (or Thomas Jefferson's ink well) without any debate or discussion. Hardly. After a LONG fight for our country's independence from Great Britain, it took almost another ten years before the penning of this precious document. Why? For the same reason why all good things take time. They wanted to get it right.

The United States Constitution was constructed on September 17, 1787 after months of conflicting views, heated debates and clashing ideas finally yielded to compromise and thoughtful reconsiderations. The founders of the Constitution were delegates appointed by the state legislatures to represent each state's welfare. They had first convened in the Philadelphia statehouse as a quorom of 55 emissaries on May 25, 1787. Of the thirteen original states, only independent-minded Rhode Island declined to participate. The group's express original purpose was to revise the Articles of Confederation, our nation's first constitution that was constructed in 1777 after the Revolutionary War with Great Britain.
Taken from

Debate was necessary to clarify the pro's and con's of what they were about to institute for all generations. It took time because the effort it required to get it right mandated all points of view to be considered. Farmers and businessmen, financiers and manufacturers, students and the educated, poor and rich all had to inject their positions so all might be incorporated into the document. As such, the debate then clarified the document we have today.

Debate will always be a critical component for the governance of any democracy. Our Founding Fathers knew this, and interjected the requirements of debate in the legislative process. But the debate isn't enough. Those who are in the debate must be willing to HEAR the arguments with careful consideration. Part of the whole debate process usually involves keeping an open mind. But if our Legislators enter the debate with a predetermined decision, the debate is rendered useless. In addition, the voice of the people must be heard by our legislators in order to weigh the information. We MUST keep this component at all costs. Otherwise, we will get things like a $1 Trillion dollar stimulus bill that wastes the future of our children's income. And we could end up with a Healthcare Reform system that cripples the country rather than cures it.

Today is the anniversary of this precious gift from our Founding Fathers. In their memory, and the memory of every soldier that has fought to preserve this document for our posterity, (which means future generations, not to be confused with prosperity, which is wealth) I am embedding it the School House Rock version of the Preamble so you all can have it run through your heads.

Surprise your kids with the song. Ask them to listen to the words. Discuss what they mean. Better yet, read the Constitution. Then ask yourself, am I willing to die to preserve this document, and its principles and values?

Finally, go to a veteran's website or memorial and say a prayer for any soldier who gave their life for the defense of this great country. Say a prayer for those who defend it today. And pray that George Washington's vision comes to pass. "While the stars remain, and the heavens send down dew upon the earth, so long shall the Union last." Amen.

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