Under the gaze of gone giants, it’s our opportunity to make the hopes of the Constitution a reality
It’s time to not only vote this November, but to continue shaping our nation, every day, into the truly free country we know it can — and should — be, as written in the Constitution, guaranteeing impartial liberty and justice for all.
The Constitution of the United States was signed this month 233 years ago. It remains one of history’s greatest and most important documents. The preamble, in particular, reads like patriotic poetry:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.”
Form. Establish. Ensure. Promote. Secure.
These active verbs served as the pulsing beat of a new nation. The Constitution pioneered a fresh vision of power, peeking around the ancient corner of autocracy, daring to declare a system mixed of democracy and republicanism the government of the freest people earth had ever housed.
Sounding like scripture, the language of the Constitution speaks in ideals: a maxim that must be continuously sought after.
Unfortunately, the humans behind the Constitution fell short of the very words they wrote. They allowed their prejudices to overrule principle and common sensibility.
And as a country, more than two centuries later, we are still falling short of the preamble’s call “to form a more perfect Union” — a union of equal opportunity and treatment for all and by all.
The American dream has never been about securing a better life for only oneself and family, but rather, the American dream, much like Dr. King’s, is to successfully defend the heaven-derived rights that ensure a better life for every American. Our nation was built for the people, by the people.
Over the last number of months, we’ve witnessed the unfortunate passings of two social rebels who truly believed in the true American dream. US Representative and freedom fighter John Lewis, and Supreme Court Justice and women’s rights icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg both bid farewell to their mortal lives, leaving behind legacies for us to learn from, thank, admire, and follow.
Lewis and Bader Ginsburg were both denied “certain unalienable rights” by their nation’s leadership and the two chose to risk their lives and livelihoods to guarantee that, according to the law, “all men [and women] are created equal.”
They knew America had its share of problems, and they worked hard to solve them, teaming up with other dedicated citizens who longed to see the promises pronounced in the Constitution become a reality for all people.
Their deaths ought to be honored by each of us working together to continue their great hope.
But, as the people of the United States, we’re not getting along very well at the moment.
Across the nation, we have forgotten about decency and the dedication to being good. We have forgotten to love our neighbor. We’ve given up on listening and too often refuse to allow another person the chance to explain their point of view.
We used to have the expectation and standard that adults would act in a higher way when debating and arguing. We must reinstate the practice of peaceful disagreement if we ever want to exist together in harmony. Without opposing-with-respect, collaborative progress is not possible. Democracy dies when cooperation disappears.
We don’t need more violence. We don’t need more hate. We don’t need a deeper divide. We need a fairer combination of ideas, goals, aspirations, and plans. As Americans, we are ultimately on the same team. If your goal isn’t to make the United States a better place for all people, you are not an American, but a traitor, to our country and our values.
We need the free and the brave, both young and old, from every state and territory to consciously transform any apathy into all-out action, and to stop sitting silently by and to begin standing and speaking up.
It’s time to pause and pivot towards the ambitions of the preamble. The deep division of today will not be healed by time or chance. What the solution of legitimate inclusion demands is the letting go of predispositions and the prioritization of the community’s well-being over personal self-interests.
Both major parties hold people who seem to have lost their humanity. By how they speak and act, they show us that they don’t care about unity.
According to the Constitution, “we, the people,” are supposed to be in charge of ourselves, as a community, and the modern political practice of blind partisanship has made a mockery of the original representative democracy design.
But I believe every border, coast, mountain range, lake view, prairie land, valley, and riverfront have people who want what’s right for this country. I have faith in the ordinary person — in you, and the Constitutional “we.”
People over party.
Conversation over contention.
Humility over hate.
Dialogue over division.
The American burden is to fight for the protection of, “certain unalienable Rights,” for all citizens, allowing no governor or authority or legislation or declaration to deplete what’s been fairly and unselfishly gifted to each of us by, “Nature’s God…[our] Creator,” — including, “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
I call on all of us to be better people and better Americans. There aren’t many movements stronger than the efforts of the people of the United States. It’s time to not only vote this November (register here), but to continue shaping our nation, every day, into the truly free country we know it can — and should — be, as written in the Constitution, guaranteeing impartial liberty and justice for all.