Thursday, September 2, 2010

Give me Liberty: Defend the Constitution

This was published in the Gainesville Daily Register on Sunday, August 8, 2010.

After declaring independence from Great Britain, our forefathers set down the Articles of Confederation as a foundation for free government. But eleven years later, it wasn’t working. Young America was on the verge of collapsing, the thirteen states anything but united.
“Something must be done,” said George Washington, “or the fabric must fall, for it is certainly tottering.”
A convention was called in May of 1787 to solve the problem. Through the long, sweltering summer, delegates from each state struggled with each other and themselves to discover a way to rescue the drowning republic. Finally, perhaps due to divine inspiration, our founding fathers produced an ingenious document – our Constitution.
Our Constitution is the oldest operating document of its kind in the world. It has been called the greatest political document in history. But it’s much more than a historical document. It is a definition of our freedom and a guard against anything that would threaten our way of life.
The Constitution defines our freedoms in this way.
We are not ruled by any aristocracy or royalty. We elect our own leaders. We can speak our opinions publicly. We can gather in public to protest. We have the choice of who we will worship, and if we will worship. We have the opportunity to work hard and make a difference in our own lives and in the lives of others. We will not be hindered by social ranks, racial inferiority, or tyranny. We are guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
However, we are not guaranteed wealth, prosperity, or happiness itself. We recognize the equality of each person in the sight of God, but not every person is guaranteed equal status.
Some people will have to overcome poverty. Some will have to fight even harder to succeed and reach their dreams. No life is perfect. But every life is free.
It is crucial that we understand the freedom our Constitution lays out for us, so we can recognize actions that might threaten our way of life. Defending our Constitution is a serious deal. The President and Congress are required to take an oath to defend it. We the people have the power to choose our own leaders and live our lives the way we please. Having that power, we should be aware of the foundations laid in our Constitution, so that we can defend it as well.
In defending the Constitution, we must realize that it is not a “living, breathing document,” contrary to what some may say. Perhaps that sounds pleasant, but something that is alive can be changed. To change our Constitution is to expose our freedoms to the threat of tyranny. Remember, the Constitution is the oldest operating document of its kind. Other nations have modeled their constitutions after ours. It has worked in preserving freedom in America for these two hundred and twenty-one years; why would we change it now?
In defending the Constitution, we must also ask ourselves questions like this.
Will handouts, like government healthcare or welfare, really produce freedom? These things may not seem dangerous at first, but to accept favors from the government is to be beholden to the government, and that produces bondage, not freedom.
Will granting amnesty to illegal immigrants produce freedom? It may seem like a nice gesture, but in the end, it will produce confusion and dissention among all residents, not freedom.
“In God We Trust” is the national motto; not “in Government We Trust.” Should we ever forget that, our nation will “totter” as it did in 1787. And then it will be our turn to say, “Something must be done.”
Will you defend your Constitution?