From the Right: No compromise with the Constitution
George Washington famously said, "The Constitution is a guide which I will not abandon." How right he was in making such a statement, yet today we view the Constitution and its contents as nothing more than words on parchment. The Constitution is a document far greater than a historical artifact. It is the blueprint and framework for the very system of government in the United States and serves as a safeguard for the people against the government. Recently, it appears that many want to turn away from the Constitution, or complain that it is antiquated or needs drastic reform - not so.
Over the course of our short history, 27 amendments have been proposed and ratified to the Constitution. It is not a document to be changed on a whim, nor should it be so easy. The Constitution is not a working document that can be edited, cut and pasted together. The process by which to reform requires great effort, great consideration and great needs on the part of the people.
The will of the people is limitless, but the Constitution is finite. The basic principles first espoused in the Declaration of the Independence and ultimately structured in the Constitution make up the very identity of America, and on those principles there must be no compromise.
Changes to the Constitution are brought of the collective will of society and reflect the changes in society, but those changes should not alter or reshape this fundamental document to the point that it becomes a worthless piece of paper.
More recently, I hear squabbles from people who believe the Constitution should be altered, reshaped and reformed like an artist sculpting a piece of clay. These calls from the fringe of American politics, still they must be written off or ignored. These people have loud voices and they vote.
They misunderstand the Constitution. They see it as imperfect. They see it as words on parchment paper, not the framework for American government. They protest in the streets, they use blog sites as sounding boards and they occasionally support candidates who view the Constitution as flawed.
They demand freedom. They demand liberty, yet they forget, or misunderstand that the document they deride so often and vow to reshape ensure them the principles of liberty and freedom. The power of that document is not the powers given to government, but the powers taken from government. If the framers knew anything, they knew government, no matter the form, could not be trusted and should be guarded constantly - like a fire's flame.
The founding fathers did not operate in the dark. They were men of history. They were scholars. They lived under an oppressive government. In the documents known as the Federalist Paper, men like James Madison made the case for the Constitution, addressing exactly what this new document would entail. The Federalist Papers are the prologue. They setup the Constitution; they enabled it to work.
The Constitution is a safeguard against tyranny; it is the American people's sword. From the Preamble to the Bill of the Rights, the document lays out a foundation of a people and society that has inspired the world around. For it is in the preamble the very identity of American politics and American purpose is described: "We 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 our liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Despite the calls by contemporary scholars or even Time Magazine, the Constitution is not a flawed document and yes, it does matter.
It matters today. It mattered in 1787. It will matter hundreds of years from now.
Washington said it right, the Constitution is a document which must not be abandoned. I certainly won't abandon it and neither should you.
Until I see an alternative, a constitution which far surpasses this document in superiority, then maybe, maybe I'll consider, but I'm not window shopping for constitutions. I like ours and on that there is no compromise.
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