A search of the Emerald City archives leaves us empty handed when it comes to any documents regarding the rights of the good people of Oz. No declarations. No constitution. How fortunate we are to have such founding documents because they not only allow us to express our differences of opinions, these documents encourage public debate because without active dialogue and open discussion, we are not really free.
September 17 has been designated as Constitution Day. The opening words should ring a bell of freedom:
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.
Beyond those 52 words, I wonder how many of the full 4,400 words in the “ancient” document we aware of are. When was the last time (or first time) you took the time out of your busy facebook selfie world to read the document that tells us how we are governed?
I just re-read the Constitution, but unfortunately it did not grip me the way it should have, or at least impress me as much as the words in the Declaration of Independence or Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address do. Shame on me. But, I don’t feel ashamed. Better to attempt to live free and fight for the rights of others.
I liken it to an office copier. I’ve read how a copy machine works…the technology, that is, and to be honest, it was beyond my pay grade. However, that didn’t keep me away from copy machines. In fact, when I stand before a copy machine, I humbly submit to the power it has and appreciate the science that’s involved. And I will also admit that I can get very angry at a copy machine when it doesn’t work, when it eats my paper or flashes a signal to open door one, pull tab B, etc. And when I am completely frustrated…I kick the stupid machine.
That, I believe, is the average Americans relationship with the US Constitution. We want it to work, we expect it to work, and we don’t appreciate it when it doesn’t work.
Unfortunately we don’t need to have a real relationship with a copy machine, but we do need to embrace our Constitution because it supports and defends our rights to live free.
In all honesty I came away from my re-reading of the Constitution understanding one thing. The cherished document of 1789 is filled with a laundry list of how things are to work. They delineate the structure of how we are to be governed. But what this document does not do is instruct us how to live. That’s what we learn from the spirit of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
In order for us…as a people…to become a more perfect union, we have to place some trust in the US copy machine, aka, the US Congress, the Executive Office, and the Supreme Court.
When we go into the voting booth on Election Day and pull those levers, we are pushing the button on the copy machine that guides and governs. We can only hope and pray that the damn machine won’t jam.