This week is Constitution Week and perhaps this year it’s more important than ever, that we celebrate it, reflect upon what it means and even take time to read parts of it. It’s being trampled, probably even as you are reading this column.
I’m always amazed at how much foresight the founding fathers had. They could only have been guided by God for such a document that has withstood the test of time. It still is relevant today. It’s the politicians who have shattered its guiding principles and who trample all that it stands for these days.
And “we the people” allow it to happen. Perhaps because we don’t understand why we have a constitution in the first place or have come to take our freedoms for granted. This document came about during an era of government oppression and tyranny. Look at us today, we are being oppressed by our own government.
The formation of the Constitution which established our government and spelled out each function, is an accomplishment that is highly underrated by most. It created a new form of government which consisted of three co-equal branches with checks and balances. It created the House of Representatives which provided representation by population and the Senate which gave every state equal power.
Our Constitution limited the government’s power. It was purposely designed that way to protect the people’s freedoms. There were no changes the first four years but then the 10 amendments, The Bill of Rights, were adopted.
Originally the Constitution was only just over 4,000 words. Short, sweet and to the point, but powerful. These days laws are more wordy and are confusing — probably on purpose — and expand the size and power of government.
Government leaders all take an oath to uphold the Constitution. But, once they have uttered the words, it seems they have already forgotten that fact. The legislative branch was to be responsible for making laws. Now both the executive and judicial branches make laws to override the Constitution, usurping not only its power but corroding its very core.
Government leaders ignore the short, sweet and precise wording of the Constitution when it suits a political agenda. Until the American people actually care enough to hold them accountable, that will continue to be the case. Today our government has and continues to turn into something the founding fathers never intended.
The Constitution established a republic form of government. Benjamin Franklin, one of the signers, when asked about the form stated, “A republic, if you can keep it.” How right he was, because government is starting to not resemble even a shred of what it was originally established to be. And if you can find a handful of Americans who are not inexcusably ignorant of the Constitution’s history, its relevance and how amazing the document is, it would be close to a miracle.
Instead of researching for ourselves, we listen to media and others without even checking validity or facts. People even try to change the original purpose of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. For example, the words “separation of church and state” are not in the Constitution and were intended to keep the government from interfering with how you choose to worship, not that you couldn’t worship at work or other places people seem to take offense with these days.
The Constitution gave us the civil liberties of Freedom of: religion, speech, to media access, to assembly and petition. It also gave us as individuals specific rights such as the right to possess guns and to question arrests and property seizure without warrant; the right to a public trial for criminal offenses; the right to question excessive bail or unusual punishment. And there’s more which you need to read for yourself.
Those who attack our Constitution, see it as an obstacle to their design for an America remade in the image they prefer. That’s actually what the founders intended.
This is what Benjamin Franklin said of it: “I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe further that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an Assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies.”
VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org