As we move into the Holiday weekend, it is time to pay tribute to our founding fathers and the principles on which this country was founded. Principles that have been under attack lately, by people who have vaulted themselves into positions of self-importance. Because they grew up with the privileges and freedoms afforded them, and ironically because of the very principles they are attacking. Seems ironic I know, but we do love and embellish our freedoms, especially free speech.
But this holiday is set aside to honor the founding of our country, which of course started with a declaration to the King of England that we were forming a new country and severing ties with his country. To me, this is the fundamental defining document of the United States founding. By referencing the language in this document, and applying the same logic to the Constitution…AND…the Bill of Rights, it becomes quite easy to interpret the intentions of our founding fathers and thus the core principles of our country.
First off, we are a self-proclaimed Democracy. Many debate this but the founding documents prove this to be true. Meaning, we are a country that is intended to be governed by the people or the rule of the majority…Majority is the key word we will discuss later. Webster defines it as:
” a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and
exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of
representation usually involving periodically held free elections
Let’s start with the first full paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. After the introduction it states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
One must absorb and define every word, as it was used in 1776, to understand the meaning.
· “WE” – meaning every member or citizen of this country.
· “hold these truths” - meaning we believe in every statement written in this declaration as being truthful and beyond reproach.
· “Self evident” - meaning exactly as defined and with no embellishment and/or further interpretation.
· “All men are created equal” – everyone everyone everyone is equal and there is nothing more to say to this.
· “That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” – Notice the capitol “C” in creator - meaning that God himself has given everybody life and His blessing freely and naturally and that these rights are impossible to take away.
· And that among these rights are life itself, liberty meaning freedom, and the pursuit of happiness, which we all understand and covet.
Also, amongst the attacks, of course, is the often-bantered interpretation of the Constitution. So many people profess to be constitution experts and we all agree that the constitution should be our country’s “Bible,” if you will. So, I thought we would look at the preamble to the constitution to interpret for ourselves.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure 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.”
First off, notice what letters are capitalized – meaning a critical point of emphasis.
· “We the People” – again meaning every member or citizen of this newly formed country the United States.
· “form a more perfect Union” – in an attempt to be MORE perfect – not perfect and a Union meaning all of us together as one country
· “establish Justice” – build a justice system based on the rules to follow for all or “We”
· “insure domestic Tranquility” – provide for an environment that leads to peaceful lives and co-existence
· “provide for the common defence” – meaning defence for each person and the country as a whole
· “promote the general Welfare” – allowing everyone the ability to be safe, healthy, and provide for themselves
· “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Prosperity” – make sure everyone is free and secure in that freedom and that we can grow in life, career, or whatever chosen pursuits
· “do ordain and establish this Constitution” – meaning to officially invest and establish by decree or law – these are the rules of which this country shall operate.
Too often today many of us, and our politicians, try to find some way to whittle our beliefs and actions into these words, and say we are playing by the book. We find a statement that we kind-of sort-of align to and immediately proclaim we’re good, because we do what our founding fathers wanted.
But when you really dig into the facts, often times we have all gone a bit off track from those original intentions. So, we build laws upon laws to address these one-offs until we get so complex, that it’s no longer a democracy but a country where if the law does not address every single possible person or their feelings, then we have failed. This was never what the founding fathers intended.
Our country and the founding fathers knew people and how people act, live, behave, and their personalities. They knew you could never build a legal system that would address every single person, thus why they developed a Democracy for the majority. We don’t need laws built upon laws, they only overwhelm the courts and lead to more ridicule and debate. Discrimination is a great example. After the Emancipation Proclamation and the 19th Amendment, it became illegal to discriminate against any person. Then we added “protected characteristics” such as age, race, religious affiliation, etc. Now we are adding gender and LGBTQ to the discrimination laws – even though discrimination was already illegal regardless of who you are or proclaim to be.
As complex as we continue to build our country and its legal system, and the challenges this brings, I’m still quite glad to be an American. I am so thankful my parents were born in this country and chose to stay here. I love our history and our cultures. I love our freedoms and our people. I love our military and our police, fire, and medical professionals.
Yes, we certainly have our challenges and there are plenty of people that make it hard to love at times, but our country is still the greatest on the earth, and I am one proud American, that is not at all ashamed to say so.
Happy Birthday to the United States of America – And God Bless our people and our country!!! Celebrating Independence!!!