No doubt, the Constitution of the United States of America was and is a special document that has served and continues to serve as a blueprint from which this melting pot nation has successfully been built and thrives. I do not plan to devalue this constitution, nor object to it in any way. Instead, I want to rebut the idea that the constitution is SO sacred and SO critical to our nation’s current well-being that any attack on the constitution in necessarily an attack on the citizens of this nation.
***NOTE: when I refer to “this nation” or “this country” or “America”, you can assume I’m referring to the United States of America. I hope this doesn’t cause offense. It’s just simpler for me as a writer.***
Picture this: United States of America, 2018. A 30 year old man is walking across the street. Suddenly, a meteor falls, killing him instantly. He had never read the constitution. He zoned out when teachers talked about the constitution. Yet, he was a decent human being. Except for a few traffic infractions, he never committed a crime. In fact, he was a very nice man. He held doors open for strangers. He let people pull out in front of him on the road. He never beeped at slow drivers. He donated to charities. He didn’t go to church, but he’d check in on friends and family who were going through difficult times. He was the kind of person people went to to vent their frustrations.
Again, he never read the constitution, nor was aware of any of its contents.
What about the people in the Starbuck’s down the street who witnessed this horrible tragedy? Nope, none of them had read the constitution either (or, if any, a very small proportion had). Walk into almost any college classroom and survey the students. Ask them about the contents of the constitution, and very few have knowledge of specific areas of the constitution (of course, the exception would be classes which explicitly require students to have such knowledge).
I will argue neither for the protection nor the abolishment of the constitution or any part of it. I only hope to focus on what for me has been an important observation: people are inherently good.
Go ahead, you can stop reading now.
This nation exists. Protests are promoted. Voices are amplified. People are eating (many excessively). There are an abundance of charities. Many of the problems we are protesting would be considered privileges or criminal offenses in other countries or in our country in an earlier time (include the choice to protest).
So far as I can tell, the constitution was primarily designed to do two things: protect peoples’ differences, and limit the government’s power to involve itself in the lives of citizens.
Today, as far as we’ve come, many of us seem to believe we not only continue to need the constitution, but that we also need a more intrusive government to enforce moral standards. Again, I don’t take partisan sides. The same can be said of many political parties, liberal and conservative (and everything between). Really, I just don’t care what these parties outwardly proclaim. They’re all just superficial mouthpieces who may or may not care about me or you. Since we cannot know, what are we to do?
Nothing new, really. Just be a good person.
Why did we “need” a constitution in the first place? Why did we “need” a government in the first place?
Governments arise out of one or both of the following:
Power-Hungry People who wish to control.
Citizens who demonstrated inability or unwillingness to peaceably associate.
At the birth of our nation, we might now assume that maybe our government grew out of the concern of a handful of wise people who feared that this newly heterogeneous collection of people might very well be incapable of peaceably living together. They also feared the power of a large government, so they did their best to build a government that was just big enough to act as a sort of glue and peace-keeper for its citizenry.
Hundreds of years later, how far have we come? How has the make-up of this nation changed? Based on these changes, should we see reflective changes in government/constitution?
Who am I to say? Who are you?
Is it possible in today’s America to properly define the “American Voice?”
I hope not. What a plain, ugly, boring country we’d live in.
I’d like to hope that we can live universally under one common creed that respects all peace-seeking people:
Do unto others as you’d have them do to you. Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you. – The Constitution of Mankind.