A More Perfect Union

USconstitutionWeThePeople.jpgWe 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, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We the people speak today as ordained by our founding fathers. Of course we all know that back when these words were written “the people” did not include women, blacks, Native Americans and others. Efforts to make our union more perfect and just have evolved over more than two centuries. We are still not perfect but constantly trying to get there. Today more of us are franchised than ever before. Millions will voice their opinions on who should lead our country. It is my prayer that whoever wins will remember his or her duty to all of the citizens, not just those from a particular base. “We the people” should be inclusive, not just we the women, we the college students, we the African Americans, we the union members, we the southerners, we the males, we the people from Hispanic countries, we the Christians, we the Muslims, we the Jews, we the gays and lesbians. Ours is a severely divided country and those at the helm must strive to secure our liberty for now and posterity by bringing us together in so far as possible. It will be a daunting task.

Ours is the most diverse country on the earth. We come from all over the globe. We are spread over a geographical area that includes plains, deserts, mountains, oceans, forests, big cities, rural towns, farms, mines. Where we live and how we work makes each of us just a bit different from the others. Still it was the grand hope of those who ratified our Constitution that we would somehow overcome the barriers that divide us in order to embrace the freedom that we all cherish. There were those who believed even as the founders were agreeing on the Constitution that it was folly to think that such a government would work for all of the people. They called themselves anti-Federalists and they predicted that we would one day be torn asunder when one group imposed its will on another. They believed that the most personal of the laws should be placed in the hands of those closest to the citizens, in other words the states. They lost the argument back then but their cautionary words are just as important today as they were when they first made them. We have to demonstrate a willingness to honor differences of opinion without the rancor that has become so common place.

Perhaps it is just a sign of age but I worry about the extremes that seem to be so prevalent in politics more so than usual. We can’t seem to find the middle road that brings satisfaction to the majority. We must learn how to hear arguments without becoming negative and personally insulting.

I saw a news segment featuring an old woman whose two sons had stopped speaking with each other because of their differing political views. The lady was quite upset that her family had been torn apart simply because neither of her children had been able to accept that we each have our own world views and we need not judge simply because one set of ideas does not match our own. Neither should we always feel compelled to change someone’s opinion. The mother wondered why her sons were so willing to turn on each other. Such situations are not that uncommon in the present super charged atmosphere. I have seen friendships end and quarrels become so devastating that a schism opened its wide jaws. That is not what was supposed to happen and I fear that if we do not begin to curb such tendencies our union will most surely be threatened.

We will soon know who our new President will be. I hope that we are all able to demonstrate respect for our system of government and for the person chosen to lead us, even if the vote is very close. I pray that the winners will not gloat and the losers will take the loss with dignity. It is not about just you or just me. It is about “we the people” and it is time for all of us to show the entire world that being a citizen of the United States means insuring domestic tranquility, protecting freedoms, and providing for the welfare of all. We cannot accomplish such noble goals if we refuse to even acknowledge one another. It is past time for us to make our country truly the United States of America. God bless America and guide us to becoming better than we have lately been.


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