1.20.2017

We the People – Examination and Opinion

            Many persons, who will read the title of this article, will probably realize those words are from a document known as the Constitution of the United States of America, but what do those words imply, are they to be taken literally or is there something more?  In the presidential election, we the people, by majority of electorate vote, decided in a new and untouched direction, one that is leaving many trails of disbelief and wonderment as to what will ‘become’ of our USA and what should we do about it.  In this article, I hope to expand some critical thinking skills and maybe take a look at a perspective that may or may not get us talking, instead of fighting, hating, being afraid or perhaps nervously awaiting dooms day, I have plenty of extra truth glasses to go around, I ask only for a few moments of your time in your busy day, to stop and talk.
            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 Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
            The above in italics and bold, is the preamble to our Constitution; consider it like an opening statement in a court of law, it openly identifies goals and sets the stage for arguments in support of it’s worth, while allowing room for ‘proof positive’ that these things are true to the best of one’s knowledge and / or ability.  The first 7 words, address the interested parties (that’s us now as much as it was us, when it was written), the next 8 identify the goal and then followed by a how to and what we should at a minimum feel or know beyond the shadow of a doubt, what is to come from the aforementioned statements and then ratify it by establishing the document and of course, the rest is our rights, liberties, powers of branches of government, how they get to where they are, requirements and on and on.  The document known as our Constitution is very important, and it is important because of the opening words, We the People.
            As we grow up and gain our elementary knowledge’s about America, we learn about the many battles fought in the name of freedom and liberty, we know of the atrocities of global threats and what mad men (or women) can do in positions of power, we’ve seen the most corrupt ignored by a justice system and the least able criminal get decades for ignorance - and in all of it, we look to a figure head, an entity that only catches our attention when we turn on the evening news seeking out answers or proposed solutions to the problems that plague society.  Where are we the people at before these items become news or we seek out our leadership to change things, other than watching it unfold before our eyes and spewing out opinions across social media outlets, hoping it will make a change,  in fact it doesn’t. We are glued to our media outlets (like our phones, tablets, laptops and so on), glued as though we either cannot wait for the next horrifying item or hoping to make a comment against the ‘man’- so as a start, to our knowledge journey, we can safely say that “We the People” includes you, regardless of where you are in the United States of America, past, present and future.
            In the earliest of times in our country’s birth, there is little doubt there was debates about how best to grow and prosper.  Those leaders knew that the current system and the one they fought so hard to get away from were in dire need of work, which brings us to the next part of the pre-amble, “In order to form a more perfect union”.  A definitive goal, simply make it better than it was while building for a better tomorrow and yes - the signee’s of that document knew full well what was ahead and I am sure never dreamed of the future USA, which is currently suffering a few woes.  If we look around today, about half of the country thinks nope, things are worsening and the hope now lies upon the next President, Mr. Trump, to fix what is wrong.  The other half is nervously waiting to see what disasters will unfold and hurt their pocket books or their rights.  Not too much of a difference in worries from 200 plus years ago, just more modern thought, don’t forget the only wireless our colonial ancestors had was carrier pigeon.  All joking aside, the USA then: paying off war debts, set up financial system, create opportunities, protect the public, govern the people who elected you to do these things, make trades that help the land, don’t charge too much in tax to help pay for it – you get the picture.  In the time span in between then and now, much has changed; we have overcome obstacles of education, immunization, health, industry, housing, automobiles and more – women’s rights, desegregation, naturalization plus the enforcing the basics that were established 200 plus years ago.  All these things are markers of a nation that as it grows and works to form that more perfect union, includes the mistakes of judgments and guess who is ever present in this task, that’s right, “We the People”.
            Moving forward, we look at the next set of words: “Establish Justice” sounds simple enough; someone does something wrong, they get punished for it, but what exactly is the correct punishment for the particular crime committed and shouldn’t it be equally applied?  Rolling back the clock, we can all imagine the vast array of punishments available, such as: Stockade, Jail, and Hanging, Firing Squads - compared to now: Elaborate Prison systems, Electric Chairs, Gas Chambers, and Lethal Injections, Life sentences and in some parts depending on crime, Hangings and waiting on death row for several decades at the taxpayers’ expense.  What one person sees as ‘justice’ another may see as cruel and unnecessary, they are after all still human and have certain rights, even while incarcerated as is guaranteed by our Constitution, but don’t tell that to certain persons, they see criminals as criminals regardless of background, it’s like being branded “you messed up” the rest of your life and no matter how much “scar away” you apply, the blemish never goes away.  Along the way, in certain events, the accused gets to have a jury of their peers to listen to the accuser’s side and ‘their’ side, this while being presided over by a judge in a nice building…compared to perhaps waiting for weeks just to have a justice of the peace who covers a very large region, come by and decide based on what a sheriff or marshal has to say, which is based on what they saw or were told, yeah, that was fair.  To establish justice means working on making it better every chance we get so that equal levels of crime get equal punishments or at least we hope it will work that way, sounds good in theory, but doesn’t work well in practice, our present day is littered in crime and punishments that are far from equal and full of speculation that incites riots from the public, wonder what Benjamin Franklin would think of us now, compared to those persons of the past.
            Take for example a set of terms placed upon our nation at a young age, “The great American melting pot”, which symbolizes our open doors to the many nations who have people that long to live and have liberties that make their basic rights to live – while living here free...as in freedoms, though these days, the citizen think free applies to those who aren’t worthy of help, little do they understand that our country was founded upon helping and has been ingrained in our soils starting on day 1.  Since those doors were opened, we have had attackers from all sorts of backgrounds. Spanish American war, World Wars I and II just to name a couple, we have even fought against ourselves in a “Civil” war, there have been emancipations, laws passed, standards set to reach out, help out and grow, but now we reject those same people and more for fear of them either “stealing our jobs” or having a desire to kill every last one of us in the name of martyrdom and sacrificing to their God let alone the mass shootings or killings taking place in areas all over the world.  Look at the debate about who should own what gun or why, while we bicker about who is not going to take our assault line of rifles, because our military isn’t enough to defend us we got to have guns at home that were used by the military or are still in use; are we ignoring the person with other ideas about those mass killings, who may have the right also to use it, but that means background checks, but no one wants that, do they, nor laws to be written to make the punishments equal the crime level for using those same guns shooting up a movie theater or worse, a school.  Establishing Justice, it takes work, it takes thought, it takes “we the people” over a long period of time, perfecting their mistakes and working to improve the system and indeed, includes forming a more perfect union by adapting to changing technologies and generations. Our justice system isn’t the best, nor is it the worst, but it does belong to all of us.
            If we take a good look at our USA as a whole, we got issues that need addressing besides the crumbling roadways and energy woes we combat now, we have violence, racial divide, barbarianism, shootings, drug wars while trying to legalize a select few, teenagers getting pregnant, a surge in alcoholism and more – in short, goodbye moral compass. Insuring domestic tranquility should have something to say about that, or is this wishful thinking in a nation now that seems so plagued by so many items.  How does one insure our domestic tranquility, isn’t that more usefully translated to “calm in our homeland”.  By definition, tranquility means the quality or state of being tranquil or calm.  This statement in our preamble opens our minds eye to a bunch of questions and more importantly, different views on what calm means to each person. To our founding leaders, keeping the calm I am sure meant insuring that no British influence would be around shooting at them, or perhaps that homes would be built for everyone who chose to live there at the time, perhaps food or a stable economy, in reality all they had was a piece of paper, the goods they either brought or created and for the most part, relied upon each other.  In a sense, the domestic tranquility was entirely up to the very people living in those areas and had someone to turn to when stuff got out of hand or serious questions that would arise, I think they call that a police force and court system, but I could be wrong all I know is those judges then wore some pretty fancy wigs.
            Suppose we apply some modern hopes now to that insuring domestic tranquility, do we need a department of homeland security, a cabinet for families and children or court system for paternity cases? I shudder to think where our country would be if instead of arrest and conviction, we just said, “eh, it’s gonna be okay, they’re just going through a phase” and let them run the streets, or perhaps build a prison state like escape from New York (The movie) and anyone accused was sent there with a good luck charm in hand. What domestic tranquility means to each of us, I just want to live my life in peace, get married, perhaps have a child, a nice home and car, a good cell phone, nice hair, great clothes…or should it be, live and let live. We should never forget this: “I am my brother’s keeper”; the problem here, we see the dealer, we see the crime, we know the person is doing wrong but we shelter them, hide evidence, we turn our head and refuse to get involved or become enablers to their extremities all while secretly praying they stop; Once again, we the people are in full control of that scenario and not this alone as ridiculous an example as it may seem, domestic tranquility rests on our shoulders and the sooner we speak up, the better our environment will become for our children, our families, our friends and ourselves.  This applies as much to domestic tranquility as it does providing for the common defense, an army of people, assigned to defend our land against all enemies, foreign and domestic, to secure the peace is to prepare for war and without the brave lives of those who are serving, have served, will serve “we the people” would be nothing but a pipe dream and knowing our enemies when they arrive are all about killing us, so domestic tranquility and a good defense, are somewhat married, one needs the other to work and yes, you do have the right to have arms in your home, our ancestors did and they did use them on one another, a big old war as I recall, but I also know there are no “gun police” that are going to come to my door and take them, again, it’s in our Constitution, the very document written by (you guessed it) we the people and ultimately we have the final say so on a lot of things, so, no worries about what you can buy, be more worried about what is being done to stop our home grown and abroad enemies from buying them as well, provide for your common defense.
            Did our founders want the citizens and settlers to succeed in this new country?  We can be relatively certain they did, as in the opening statement, they happened to include promoting the general welfare.  I wonder how many log homes were built with just one man’s hands, or how many horse and buggy breakdowns happened where tom couldn’t ask if harry for an extra cog or pin. Then we got to work, we improved the design, figured out the wrongs and made things better, we worked as a country, making friends out of strangers and establishing building blocks for a better day. Who remembers their parents saying “Go to the neighbor’s house and see if we can borrow a cup of milk or a few eggs” and usually was given out no problems or calling the police when we saw something not quite right happening at the neighbor’s house and then following up by calling them and checking on them, I think it was called being “neighborly” I will have to check my historical references.  Isn’t that promoting the general welfare and if so, why aren’t we trying to do more of it today, like, now?  In my own eyes, promoting the general welfare means reaching out and helping someone when we can, replace a flat tire, recommend a mechanic, load a truck or just asking if they need a ride to get a can of gas for their car, or if that isn’t your flavor, how about holding the door open for someone or simply buying that homeless person a cup of coffee.  In the days we live in now, in some regions and cities, if you are wearing the wrong clothes, could get you mugged or seriously injured, giving a lift could get you killed but yet we trust in an Uber driver, and rely on an internet driven company to insure they have hired the right people. We have police officers who use lethal force for fear of their own lives, while we have officers dying who happen to be sitting in their cars, because the community thugs hate them, they are cops who take their friends to jail and hate the color of their skin, and on and on and on, it is flooding our screens, our phones and our lives, raising questions (and hands in the air) and plaguing a nation full of despair and chaos mostly created by those who turn their heads or refuse to get involved, which is causing us to marvel at the hero’s who risk their lives to save someone they don’t know, we think and say, “I’d have done the same thing if it were me” or do we…we the people are not who we think we are, or so it is becoming a possibility, if not, then why do we have armed persons in our schools and metal detectors in our movie theaters.  We are growing, not just in people, but in ideas, possibilities and over the vast number of years of existence, we have figured out that we need clean water, air and we need vaccinations against disease, we need a police force that keeps the bad guys off the streets while establishing good ties to their communities, but we expect it to be done in an instant, we expect a certain behavior from the bad guys and the good guys…is this a movie or our USA; no, it’s we the people, not accepting responsibility for ourselves, not holding ourselves accountable which in turn would hold others to the same level of reasoning, maybe we should give paying it forward a try, who knows how far it could go.
            Wouldn’t it be easy to say, well what is happening now isn’t near what our founding fathers had in mind, it was a different time, they couldn’t have a clue as to what was to come.  Who knew that the right to bear arms, freedom of the press or the shrouds hovering over an election would be in the spotlight it is now and be under such close scrutiny, who would have expected an African American would be President or that a woman would have the same chance.  Our founding leaders did indeed have us in mind; we can see it clearly by simply examining the final look at our preamble (introduction) of our Constitution: “and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity”.  Posterity, by definition: All future generations. What Liberty is, much like an earlier example, is defined by the individual, but prescribed by our Constitution and upheld by “We the People”, whether it’s: the positive enjoyment of social, political or economic rights and privileges or the freedom from arbitrary or despotic control or from restraint or just the state of being free, we the people have created it, accepted it, worked to keep it safe, changed it and used it to form a more perfect union, free from oppression, created to allow us to help each other learn and grow while defending our families and communities, in short doing our best to each live their own versions of the American dream or even perhaps the world’s dream.  Free to worship God in whatever form we see fit, Free to speak our minds about the rights and wrongs in our country, Free to have the press report on the news of what is happening and be held highly accountable in their accuracies, Free to go hunting, fishing and enjoy the fruits of our lands, Free to choose who leads us in our overall well being in the status quo of the world while trusting that in the event someone wishes to bring us harm, that we the people will defend our land and Free to secure a future for our children, which includes all the same essential items everyone should have, water, clean air, less destruction of our planet’s resources and more replenishing of what we are taking for granted daily.
            In conclusion, looking only at the preamble to our Constitution, millions of lives over a couple of hundred years helped to shape the country we call the USA.  The founding fathers choices were not so much unlike that of our own now, with many of the same hopes and fears taking part in growth.  People, naturally fear change, but not just any change, the kind of change that promotes growth and personal adaptation.  Now, we can admit, we like the idea of having our health costs covered so that we can live fuller richer lives, we can also admit that we want security from groups of persons who wish to try and kill us and many of us were elated to learn that Osama Bin Laden was finally brought to justice, we are relentless in our established justice system when it comes to the bad guys. We want to know our kids will be safe, twice in two weeks two 15 year old kids were gunned down my own communities.  We want better pay, lower taxes all of the things that we all know, will keep America the greatest nation on Earth, a nation for the people, the American Dream, written and bound in our hearts, our minds and our founding Constitution.  Looking at our world, what we should do now, to move forward is easy, we should insure our tranquility, try our best to live in peace here on our homeland with one another, we should go after our enemies with renewed courage, we should reach out to help when we can, we should be, the shining nation we have always been, one that reflects, “We the People”.  Before I ask you to reflect on the things you have read in the article above, I want to state that it is okay to disagree with my perceptions, opinions or stated reasoning, I uphold your right to do so, and encourage feedback, not just on this article but in your own communities, look around and see what good you can do; that is truly what will make America great again, investment in ourselves, perhaps President Trump is on to something, by causing us to focus on ourselves, ultimately the people are the reason America IS great, as stated in the opening of our Declaration of Independence: “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.


           

            

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