When it became clear that our Articles of Confederation were too weak to ensure the survival of our new nation, representatives met to create a new Constitution to improve a new concept of government of the people that would only exist with the consent of the people and be strong enough to ensure the entire Union would prosper. Thirteen individual states could not survive on their own; a strong union was needed then as it is now. So they went to work.
“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, secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”
As a high school student 40 years ago, we were all required to memorize and cite the preamble in our civics class and be able to explain it. Sadly most of our schools don’t teach civics anymore and the true meaning of the preamble has been lost.
Broken down, what do these words mean? I found this from The Beacon Learning Center:
|Right and/or Responsibility||Words of Preamble||What the Words Mean|
|We the People of the United States||All citizens of the US|
|In order to form a more perfect union||To make everything in our country as perfect as possible|
|Yes||Establish Justice||Begin fairness for all|
|Yes||Insure domestic tranquility||Promise that everything in our country will be peaceful|
|Yes||Provide for the common defense||Give protection to everyone|
|Yes||Promote the general welfare||Care for those in need|
|Yes||Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity||Make sure freedom and fairness continues for ourselves and all our children and their children and their children and every generation to come|
|Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America||Approve of and begin the Constitution of the US|
As I was starting to write this rant, I posted some of my material I planned on using on Twitter and had received a response questioning the above as being factual. He says he’s a colonial historian from Texas and that our Constitution was nothing more than a power grab for centralized government and that the Articles of Confederation were a success as “proven” by Merrill Jenson’s “New Nation.” Essentially Jenson offers a conflicting opinion of what the majority of historians of the period have concluded over the intent of the minds of the framers. It’s interesting if not dry reading but boils down simply to his opinion, which he is entitled to. I however liken it to a majority of Climate Change scientist are convinced this is man-made compared to a minority looking at the same data concluding it isn’t. I go with majority views unless something can convince me otherwise.
So what does the Preamble represent that those in the Tea Party appear to miss? The Tea Party faithful claim to be constitutionalists but also feel that depending on who you are, you aren’t entitled to all the “blessings of liberty” spoken of in the Preamble. If you are LGBT, if you are Muslim, if you are a woman, if you are “other” then you are not entitled to those things. Further, the “Establish Justice” appears to only apply to those in the Tea Party, no one else. So we don’t have to be fair to anyone outside the Tea Party. Nor do we need to provide for “the common defense” if you are not part of the Tea Party. You get no special protections, or any in some cases.
Those who follow me and see my avi know I’m a Star Trek fan. Though somewhat corny, there was one scene in one episode of Star Trek that actually makes a compelling argument for what the Preamble says, what it means and who it applies to. Here’s the scene:
Perhaps the most patriotic reading of the Preamble by a Canadian actor playing a fictional Starship Captain to an alien people.
“They must apply to everybody or they mean nothing!” These words must apply to all who are citizens of this country regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, political ideology, etc. That is, or at least should be the promise of a more perfect union of the people, by the people and for the people. If you want to eliminate some of the people for some obscure reason, you do not understand our Constitution.
In my opinion the Tea Party will slur the true meaning of the Preamble because quite simply they don’t know better. They do what they’re told to do, say what they are told to say by their leadership who represent the Corporate interests like the Koch brothers. An educated and hopeful people who know their true rights are an impediment to business and profit. If people starting claiming their rights, profits may suffer.
Time to bring back Civics as a requirement of our educational system. Further, it’s time to make sure that those who would deny the constitutional rights of ordinary people in order to make those rights the sole property of the rich and corporate entities of the nation no longer remain in government.
Call this rant hokey if you will, but if you really want to consider yourself a patriot, then pick up some beliefs worth being patriotic over. The word means nothing if it has nothing inspiring behind it. At least that’s my opinion Michael (inside joke)