How to Help the Constitution Survive Part 2
This is the second in a series of articles about breaking down constitutional principles and applying them to our lives.
The Constitution of the United States is the foundation of our political system. When there is a question over law or how it applies, the Constitution is consulted, and a ruling made. This is different from other forms of government where one leader or an assembly makes that assessment.
This has worked well for a couple centuries, but it doesn’t mean it always will. If there comes a time where no one believes in the document, where the principles contained are no longer respected or cherished, the Constitution cannot hold sway.
Sitting here in Southern Utah, what can you and I do to support and sustain this founding document. I would argue the first thing you should do is simply believe in it. The more citizens who do, strengthens the foundation of constitutional principles in this country.
I also feel that a belief in the principles should reflect the ideas behind them in one’s life. If you don’t live it, do you really believe it?
Let me take the first portion of the first sentence of the Constitution as an example. “We the people of the United States,”. Other documents at the time started with “We the commonwealth of Virginia,” or some other entity, but it doesn’t do that. It includes all the people rather than a state or entity, and it implies a common goal for all citizens. No one was left out and all people had a right to what the document would protect.
How does this apply if you really believe it?
We all have people or groups we disagree with. Whether it's politics, religion or a hundred other ways we divide ourselves. How we think about the opposition reflects our belief in this line from the Constitution.
Can we see others common humanity even if we profoundly disagree? Can we acknowledge others deserve the same rights and privileges guaranteed by our laws? Do our actions reflect these beliefs?
If we would rather see certain groups removed from having a voice and possibly even no longer be a part of the nation, we aren’t in harmony with this very first line in the Constitution of the United States. You have to be able to acknowledge others' value as a human being no matter what they think, or you don’t really buy into it.
It take a conscious decision to recognize where we may fall short and make the changes in our thinking so that the way we speak about and treat others reflects our belief in the "We the people of the United States," line.
It's my contention that by making a choice to integrate the ideas presented in the Constitution into our daily thought patterns and actions, it will actually help to sustain and preserve that document. And I think the need to uphold the Constitution of the United States is vital at this time.